What do you do in a competitive match?

in a competitive match you/your partner hit the opposing player on serve

  • Take the point. Will argue if needed. Rules are rules!

  • Explain technically it is your point, but play a let instead... seems more fair.

  • Apologize and then take the fault.


Results are only viewable after voting.

ichaseballs

Rookie
I learned early on that the ball must bounce to be considered out, including serves.

You or your partner end up hitting the opposing player on serve by a ball that was clearly not going in.
This can happen in both singles and doubles. More likely in doubles, as a wide serve may hit the up/net player inside the court.

If this happens. technically you win the point.
In high school I remember winning a match point like this. after my partner's 1st serve flat sailed and hit the opponent in the foot when he jumped up (at the baseline).
But now, it feels a bit like bad sportsmanship taking that point, esp if one of them got hit hard or somewhere bad.
 
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Cashman

Hall of Fame
Unless them getting hit was the direct result of them doing something to obtain a tactical advantage (like excessively crowding the service line), I’d just play it as a fault. I mean, it should have been a fault.

Most people will probably say play it by the book, but I don’t like benefiting from these kinds of plays.

This is a personal sportsmanship thing though, like walking in cricket. I would not expect an opponent to reciprocate if the situation was reversed - they are entitled to take the point.
 

socallefty

Hall of Fame
I usually play by the rules, but not in this case. I would prefer to show sportsmanship and say it is a fault. There are many times that opponents catch the ball on the fly or stop the ball with their racquet behind the baseline before it bounces when it is clear it is out - I wouldn’t take the point on that either. These are stupid rules.
 

Vox Rationis

Semi-Pro
Define competitive match?

If we're talking an official tournament or usta playoffs then I don't see why that wouldn't be my point. Some rules, like foot faults, I couldn't care less about. Unless someone is taking the most egregious giant step inside the court I would never call a foot fault on someone. But getting hit by a serve is equivalent to accidentally touching the net during the point to me. That's a rule I can't let slide. I expect the people I play against to be able to get out the way. I hold myself to that standard as well.

That being said if it's a casual or low stakes match I would never take that point. I'm taking the fault 100% of the time. Although if I get hit in a casual match I'd offer the point to the other team because rules are rules and I shouldn't get hit there.
 

ichaseballs

Rookie
Define competitive match?

If we're talking an official tournament or usta playoffs then I don't see why that wouldn't be my point. Some rules, like foot faults, I couldn't care less about. Unless someone is taking the most egregious giant step inside the court I would never call a foot fault on someone. But getting hit by a serve is equivalent to accidentally touching the net during the point to me. That's a rule I can't let slide. I expect the people I play against to be able to get out the way. I hold myself to that standard as well.

That being said if it's a casual or low stakes match I would never take that point. I'm taking the fault 100% of the time. Although if I get hit in a casual match I'd offer the point to the other team because rules are rules and I shouldn't get hit there.
foot faults are more annoying. i think... why can't you stay behind the line like me and everyone else?
i never have called (even egregious) foot faults but i have and would probably say something, esp if they are serving bombs.

in a recent match, the opponent at net got hit. I felt bad taking the point so didn't say anything. I watched my partner apologize while taking a fault, taking time to make sure he was okay... then a 2nd serve where we won the point (good karma).
most of our teammates thought we should have taken the point instead of the fault.
 
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jxs653

Semi-Pro
There are many times that opponents catch the ball on the fly or stop the ball with their racquet behind the baseline before it bounces when it is clear it is out - I wouldn’t take the point on that either. These are stupid rules.
Yeah this takes place far more often than hitting opponent on serve;) and it is indeed a stupid rule.
 
In the USTA state tournament I framed a serve and hit my opponent. I was prepared to take a fault, but my partner piped up saying “That’s our point, right?!?” A teammate from the next court over (without missing a beat) said “yeah, if you’re an a**hole”.
 

CHtennis

Rookie
So in any recreational match I would be okay with a let or fault, but any competitive match I would take point. I would take the point because if it hits me I would absolutely give them the point even if they asked to play a let. This has happened to me in a tournament where a guy had a big, but erractic serve. He hit a hard first serve that hit me in the foot, I should have been able to get out of the way but I didnt and I knew it was their point so I gave it to him. I dont pick and choose rules I like in competitive matches, just play by the rules that are given.
 

Vox Rationis

Semi-Pro
foot faults are more annoying. i think... why can't you stay behind the line like me and everyone else?
See in my experience tons of people, if not most players, step on the line a little bit sometimes. It happens so often and there is rarely ever any advantage gained. People typically don't even know they're doing it. So in my mind it's like why even nitpick that? But that's just me.
 

Chalkdust

Rookie
For me it all depends on the context of what the opponent is doing.
If an opponent deliberately catches or uses his racquet to trap a ball that is clearly heading out then his point (even though technically my point by rule).
If if hits him as he's trying to get out of the way then my point.
 

Vox Rationis

Semi-Pro
For me it all depends on the context of what the opponent is doing.
If an opponent deliberately catches or uses his racquet to trap a ball that is clearly heading out then his point (even though technically my point by rule).
If if hits him as he's trying to get out of the way then my point.
I agree with this. I actually had a guy stop a serve out of the air with his racquet recently in the deciding court of an 8.5 combo match. As soon as he did it he looked at us with guilt and said it was our point but I could tell it was on purpose (it was almost a reflex to keep us from chasing the ball) so I refused.
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
It depends on the situation and context of what's going on. I think most of the time, I'd play a fault just to keep things friendly, but I reserve the right to take the point in a close match in a critical competition if necessary.
 

SinneGOAT

Hall of Fame
I had a quite funny circumstance a few years ago. I was at a match and I was winning. My opponent, being mentally defeated pretty much, was walking slowly back to his corner after every point. So after about 4-5 times, I served while he was walking. I took the point and told him that he needs to understand it’s a tournament not a practice match pretty much, apologized and moved on.
 

kingcheetah

Hall of Fame
I agree on context being key.
If it's a tournament or team match, I would apologize, check on them, but take the point... I'd expect them to do the same.
If accidentally hit someone with a shot that was going way out, same story.

If it's casual and it's something like the opponent catching a ball that is going way out, or similar, play it as if it were out.
 

r2473

Talk Tennis Guru
It depends on the situation and context of what's going on. I think most of the time, I'd play a fault just to keep things friendly, but I reserve the right to take the point in a close match in a critical competition if necessary.
This is my line calling philosophy.
 

Jack the Hack

Hall of Fame
In a social match, play it as a fault. You are there to have fun and have a good time with friends.

In a competitive match, you are there to win. Follow the rules and take the point.

Many years ago, I was playing in a tournament and was in the semifinals against an older opponent. He had won the first set, but I had steamrolled him in the second set, and he was running out of gas. In the third set (see, many years ago, when we used to play full third sets instead of super-breakers), I was up 4-1 and had break point to go up 5-1. However, on my return, I framed it and the ball was headed 20 feet out... but my opponent reached up and caught the ball! As soon as he did it, he knew that he had messed up and that it was my point. He was tired and didn't want to go chase it down, which is why he had caught a ball that was headed so far out. However, being a "nice guy" I let him have the point, figuring that he was tired and I hadn't earned it. Big mistake! He not only ended up holding serve that game, but broke my serve in the next game. I ended up losing the match 7-5 in the third. I really don't think that would have happened if I was up 5-1 and serving for the match instead of just having the one break. Plus, my opponent was demoralized and tired at that point, and if I had taken the game, I think he was done. Giving him the charitable point gave him new life. After I lost that match, I swore I would never do something like that again in a tournament or league match.
 

kingcheetah

Hall of Fame
This is my line calling philosophy.
In social/fun matches I do give away a significant number of calls, especially if it would be "late"

In all seriousness, I got criticized by a ref once for being too generous with playing shots that were visibly out-- I've gotten better about it (I still give some away, according to people that watch, but they're not as far XD)
 

kingcheetah

Hall of Fame
In a social match, play it as a fault. You are there to have fun and have a good time with friends.

In a competitive match, you are there to win. Follow the rules and take the point.

. Giving him the charitable point gave him new life. After I lost that match, I swore I would never do something like that again in a tournament or league match.
Agree. I had a challenge match in HS, that was totally in the bag. Up 7-3, opponent serving, he hits a 2nd serve that was easily 4-5" out, I didn't call it. He was a streaky player, but he suddenly catches on FIRE, I'm feeling regret for not accepting the point and winning the match handily, and he wins 6 games in a row.
 

nyta2

Semi-Pro
Define competitive match?

If we're talking an official tournament or usta playoffs then I don't see why that wouldn't be my point. Some rules, like foot faults, I couldn't care less about. Unless someone is taking the most egregious giant step inside the court I would never call a foot fault on someone. But getting hit by a serve is equivalent to accidentally touching the net during the point to me. That's a rule I can't let slide. I expect the people I play against to be able to get out the way. I hold myself to that standard as well.

That being said if it's a casual or low stakes match I would never take that point. I'm taking the fault 100% of the time. Although if I get hit in a casual match I'd offer the point to the other team because rules are rules and I shouldn't get hit there.
hehe similar thing happened to me this weekend in a tourney...
ball hit the foot of opponnent as it was sailing long, and he couldn't get out of the way...
he claimed it bounced (it didn't)... ultimately just let it go only because there was no danger of losing, but if it were a competitive match i definitely would have taken the point, as anyone 4.0+ should know the rules
 

ichaseballs

Rookie
See in my experience tons of people, if not most players, step on the line a little bit sometimes. It happens so often and there is rarely ever any advantage gained. People typically don't even know they're doing it. So in my mind it's like why even nitpick that? But that's just me.
(getting off topic i know...)
I always line up for serve an inch or two behind the line, cause i don't think it makes a big difference by stepping that 1" closer to the baseline.
if i see a foot fault as an opposing player, it was probably egregious. sometimes you can tell by their form that they are foot faulting.
 
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jered

Rookie
Part of sportsmanship is playing by the agreed upon rules. I take the point 100% of the time regardless of competition level. They get the point 100% of the time. If you tried to say let after it hit me I'm insisting you get the point. Play by the agreed upon rules or what's the point?

One caveat, I can get out of the way of 100% of all rec player serves if I'm paying attention to what's going on. Nobody is serving 130mph and I feel I could dodge most of those as well. If I get hit, that's on me. However, if I can see my opponent is not so mobile, I apologize profusely... and then take the point. I'll buy him a beer and an ice pack after the match.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
When a ball hits the player on the fly, I would take the point. I prefer to enforce the rules when it is to my advantage and also when it is to my disadvantage. Because I am consistent about it, I do not feel guilty.

I might cut someone a break when they were clearly trying to stop a ball from flying to the next court or the parking lot and easily could have dodged it. In that case, they were trying to help our match or another match go more efficiently, and when you play timed matches, efficiency matters.

But if they just couldn't get out of the way? Nope.
 

winchestervatennis

Hall of Fame
Define competitive match?

If we're talking an official tournament or usta playoffs then I don't see why that wouldn't be my point. Some rules, like foot faults, I couldn't care less about. Unless someone is taking the most egregious giant step inside the court I would never call a foot fault on someone. But getting hit by a serve is equivalent to accidentally touching the net during the point to me. That's a rule I can't let slide. I expect the people I play against to be able to get out the way. I hold myself to that standard as well.

That being said if it's a casual or low stakes match I would never take that point. I'm taking the fault 100% of the time. Although if I get hit in a casual match I'd offer the point to the other team because rules are rules and I shouldn't get hit there.
2017 southern sectionals mens 18+ 4.5 - i got hit in the foot by a serve and i was the returner. It was a second serve which he had been kicking and i had been moving in to take on the rise. He tried to surprise me with a slice that he hit long. Maybe wildly long because i was probably about halfway between the baseline and service line. I was surprised alright first that it wasnt a kick and second that he missed so badly. But I couldn’t react quickly enough and got hit on the foot. I conceded the point immediately.

Pretty sure the code says its my call the same as i call out balls and double bounces on my side. As such, my view of sportsmanship is to say its their point before they have to ask and maybe feel like a jerk for asking.
 

Vox Rationis

Semi-Pro
2017 southern sectionals mens 18+ 4.5 - i got hit in the foot by a serve and i was the returner. It was a second serve which he had been kicking and i had been moving in to take on the rise. He tried to surprise me with a slice that he hit long. Maybe wildly long because i was probably about halfway between the baseline and service line. I was surprised alright first that it wasnt a kick and second that he missed so badly. But I couldn’t react quickly enough and got hit on the foot. I conceded the point immediately.

Pretty sure the code says its my call the same as i call out balls and double bounces on my side. As such, my view of sportsmanship is to say its their point before they have to ask and maybe feel like a jerk for asking.
Great sportsmanship from you, imo. Exactly what I would have done too, without hesitation. I've never had to do it in a high stakes match but I've been hit on the foot by a long forehand during a flex league ladder match. Was recovering quickly to get back in the point and the guy had a fairly easy forehand to attack. But he sailed it long up the middle which surprised me and I ran right into it a la Halep (Honestly I saw the point was over and forgot to dodge). He didn't even know it hit my foot but I told him it was his point regardless.
 
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mmk

Hall of Fame
I haven't hit anyone with a serve, or been hit by a serve, but I have been hit a couple of times by a ball that had already gone past the baseline when I couldn't get out of the way. Opponents point, no question.
A few years ago my club had a social/tournament with teams of 4 people playing other teams of 4 people at doubles, rotating as we pleased. My team had another adult, and two high school kids and one of the teams we played also had two adults and two high school kids. The kids were all friends, and when all four were on the court together one of the kids deliberately served at the up man, hit him and won the point. They all laughed. Talking to them afterwards, it was a tactic they've used during high school matches.
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
2017 southern sectionals mens 18+ 4.5 - i got hit in the foot by a serve and i was the returner. It was a second serve which he had been kicking and i had been moving in to take on the rise. He tried to surprise me with a slice that he hit long. Maybe wildly long because i was probably about halfway between the baseline and service line. I was surprised alright first that it wasnt a kick and second that he missed so badly. But I couldn’t react quickly enough and got hit on the foot. I conceded the point immediately.

Pretty sure the code says its my call the same as i call out balls and double bounces on my side. As such, my view of sportsmanship is to say its their point before they have to ask and maybe feel like a jerk for asking.
In sectionals, I'd expect to concede the point as well (and expect to win the point if I hit someone). The question for me is about social matches or even regular league matches, especially against teams where my team is a heavy favorite or underdog and the match has little or no bearing on the final standings. In most of those situations, I'd offer to play a fault if I am the hitter.
 

BenC

Rookie
I've played a doubles match where the net man on the receiving side was practically on top of the center service line, possibly trying to serve as a distraction. If you're doing that, your body is fair game. Sorry (not sorry)?
 

jered

Rookie
In sectionals, I'd expect to concede the point as well (and expect to win the point if I hit someone). The question for me is about social matches or even regular league matches, especially against teams where my team is a heavy favorite or underdog and the match has little or no bearing on the final standings. In most of those situations, I'd offer to play a fault if I am the hitter.
I suppose in a social match you can agree to play with whatever ruleset you like. In a league match you shouldn't be arbitrarily enforcing some rules and ignoring others. If you want to concede a point for any reason, I suppose that is your business but I'd never reciprocate with that nonsense. No offense, you seem like a nice person. I'm just a stickler for rules.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I've found that absolutely no one knows this rule. So I generally have to convince them I deserve at least a let. They are shocked when they find out it's my point. I've had a few "You were right" texts about this very issue.
 

ichaseballs

Rookie
I've played a doubles match where the net man on the receiving side was practically on top of the center service line, possibly trying to serve as a distraction. If you're doing that, your body is fair game. Sorry (not sorry)?
Yea most of us agree this is not the type of situation we feel bad about taking the point.
But taking a point off an erratic serve seems a bit like bad sportsmanship.

I think there may be a guilt correlation to how badly you hit them.
Say a 100 mph to the head/face. Frame shots can create some unpredictable spin.
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
I've played a doubles match where the net man on the receiving side was practically on top of the center service line, possibly trying to serve as a distraction. If you're doing that, your body is fair game. Sorry (not sorry)?
This is a little different as well. If someone is engaging in gamesmanship like that, then, yeah, I'm not being generous about it, either. In fact, I have tried to hit people standing on the center line. In most cases, it's the male partner in a mixed match standing on the center line to intimidate me from serving down the T to the woman's BH on the deuce side. That's an invitation for me to serve as hard and flat as I can down the T and maybe "miss" by a little. They usually back off.
 

WhiteOut

Semi-Pro
I've found that absolutely no one knows this rule. So I generally have to convince them I deserve at least a let. They are shocked when they find out it's my point. I've had a few "You were right" texts about this very issue.
Reading this thread, the following crossed my mind: these are rules that don't happen all the time, but frequently enough that they are not a rarity (double bounce, racquet touches net, striking the ball on the other side of the net, etc. etc.). If those of us who really do know them, call them properly, especially during friendlies/practice matches...then perhaps we can all help decrease the likelihood of conflict during league/tourneys, matches that 'count'.

during friendlies with the teams i cap, i give away points and lets all over the place when these 'uncommon' things happen...but also use it as a chance to make sure everyone knows not only the rule, but also whose call it is to make, so when it comes up during a 'real' match, my team doesn't get hosed by lack of knowledge (yes i've seen that happen too many times also). The bigger issue i see is, people have a basic idea of the rule, but they don't know that it is *not* their call to make...so for example, i can't just stop play when my opponent does *not* call the double-bounce on himself...if he pops it over and wins the point, shame on me for not knowing it's his call to make, and i need to stay in the point and play what comes.
 

ichaseballs

Rookie
so for example, i can't just stop play when my opponent does *not* call the double-bounce on himself...if he pops it over and wins the point, shame on me for not knowing it's his call to make, and i need to stay in the point and play what comes.
if its a clear double bounce, i will call it and stop play. but if its too close to call (like a line call) you gotta play it out
 

jered

Rookie
if its a clear double bounce, i will call it and stop play. but if its too close to call (like a line call) you gotta play it out
Yeah, I've been burned on this in league. No matter how clear you thought it was you have to keep playing because it's your opponents call not yours. You can question them after the play is over. If they're adamant they got it, there's nothing you can do. I keep playing unless I hear or see a clear call now. I don't think most people are making bad calls on purpose, they really believe they got it, or your long serve was good, etc.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I learned early on that the ball must bounce to be considered out, including serves.

You or your partner end up hitting the opposing player on serve by a ball that was clearly not going in.
This can happen in both singles and doubles. More likely in doubles, as a wide serve may hit the up/net player inside the court.

If this happens. technically you win the point.
In high school I remember winning a match point like this. after my partner's 1st serve flat sailed and hit the opponent in the foot when he jumped up (at the baseline).
But now, it feels a bit like bad sportsmanship taking that point, esp if one of them got hit hard or somewhere bad.
You forgot the best option:
Apologize, but take the point!
 

ichaseballs

Rookie
Yeah, I've been burned on this in league. No matter how clear you thought it was you have to keep playing because it's your opponents call not yours. You can question them after the play is over. If they're adamant they got it, there's nothing you can do. I keep playing unless I hear or see a clear call now. I don't think most people are making bad calls on purpose, they really believe they got it, or your long serve was good, etc.
if a double bounce is in question it probably means it was not a clear call.
easier in doubles to make a call if someone else is agreeing.

i take pride in my calls, and i do not like playing with people who often have questionable/bad calls.
 

Curtennis

New User
I usually play by the rules, but not in this case. I would prefer to show sportsmanship and say it is a fault. There are many times that opponents catch the ball on the fly or stop the ball with their racquet behind the baseline before it bounces when it is clear it is out - I wouldn’t take the point on that either. These are stupid rules.
I often am the one catching it. Until my opponent pays for a ball boy I’m not going to run around chasing the balls that go sailing when I could easily just catch them.
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
Well, even “competitive” matches for me are just recreation, so I keep that in mind personally when making calls.I probably wouldn’t take a point like that. One-off things like that usually are not the difference in a loss or win.

But one of my pet peeves that I do call, even for rec level, is people who consistently foot fault. I will be that guy if I see it and always mention it. I see soooo many players, even up to 4.0 now, that constantly foot fault like it is their job. That is ridiculous.
 

zaskar1

Semi-Pro
its a competitive match so take the point. in usta the guy hit a long serve and hit my partner who wasnt crowding the service box, but was on her side
of the court halfway about six feet from the middle service line. his errant service hit her in the leg, i dont think it was a really hard service but
she was surprised he was that inaccurate. the opponents just apologized and took the point.

if it was a social match, i would have played a fault or replay the serve

z
 

TennisManiac

Hall of Fame
If this happens. You should drop your head and immediately leave the court in shame as you are a total fool who shouldn't be out there playing tennis in a competitive manner.
 
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