You Make The Call:

Matthew ATX

Semi-Pro
Doubles final in a major zone today. My partner is serving game point. Hits serve to ad court, and on downswing, drops racquet (indoor court, did make noise). Opponent hits return into net.

As we're walking over on change, they're still standing there and call hindrance.

My reaction was "Um, how exactly is my partner not having a racquet in his hand a hindrance to you? Seems like an advantage." They pressed it to the point of calling over a USTA official. What's your call?
 
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I'd say your point! The opponent should be focusing on their own return. Sounds like the "you can't take two bites of the apple" rule from the code--if they'd won the point would they be calling for a hinder too?--nah. For one thing, it happened on your side of the court, and not their's--so it's not like a ball rolled onto their court interfering with them taking a swing. Indoors, there's a lot of amplified sounds bouncing around, outdoors too, there are lids on dumpsters slamming, glass bottles noisily being dumped into the recycling bin, fire-engines going by, etc., so a racket dropping wouldn't be that big a deal noise-wise, it could be as loud as squeaking shoes. Even at grand slams, you can here planes and helicopters flying overhead, sirens, trains, etc. At grand slams, they don't call hinders for sounds like babies crying out, or clueless fans shrieking during a service toss. Your opponents should have called the hinder before attempting their return. But, I'm not a USTA referee, I wasn't there, and I don't know the exact timing of the situation, so I'm not sure. Looking forward to what the official's opinion was.
 
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S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
My reaction was "Um, how exactly is my partner not having a racquet in his hand a hindrance to you? Seems like an advantage."
They weren't calling hindrance because your partner did not have a racquet. They called it because of the noise the racquet made.

Having said that, I would classify that as just part of the game. Unless someone was doing it deliberately [although that particular move seems risky because now your partner doesn't have a racquet], I don't see the basis for a ruling in their favor. Maybe if the racquet flew out of his hands and was heading towards the returner?
 

TagUrIt

Hall of Fame
I may be in the unpopular opinion on this, technically I think it would was a hindrance. It’s not a hindrance because your partner didn’t have a racquet in hand. It was a hindrance because it was a distraction (even though it was inadvertent) on a return of serve.

Now would I have called hindrance? Absolutely not, I would have returned it to the player without a racquet in his hand for the win.
 

esgee48

G.O.A.T.
Racquet flies out towards the opponents, they can may a let if the ball is in. If racquet hits court on serve finish/motion, no let, no hindrance just as you do not call anything if opponent slips or loses racquet returning a volley or ground stroke. HOWEVER, opponents must do this immediately if they give you a let. They should not attempt to return ball since a return means they are ready and attempting to start the point. They do not get a do over. If the ball is out, let call is not needed nor should be given.
 

Matthew ATX

Semi-Pro
Haha, yea, I know they were calling it because of the distraction. I was just making a counter point.

Fwiw, USTA official sided with us and said no hindrance, point stays live if someone drops racquet.
 

dsp9753

Semi-Pro
Can't have two chances to win a point. If the sound of the racquet dropping was a hindrance, they need to stop play IMMEDIATELY! They can not try to return the ball and then try to call a hindrance.

The fact that they attempted to return the ball means no hindrance. If they stopped play immediately and tried to call it... not sure what the call would be. I doubt the offical would give it to them. I believe a hindrance must be intentional. Accidentally dropping your racquet (putting you at a disadvantage would not be one in my opinion.)
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
Can't have two chances to win a point. If the sound of the racquet dropping was a hindrance, they need to stop play IMMEDIATELY! They can not try to return the ball and then try to call a hindrance.

The fact that they attempted to return the ball means no hindrance. If they stopped play immediately and tried to call it... not sure what the call would be. I doubt the offical would give it to them. I believe a hindrance must be intentional. Accidentally dropping your racquet (putting you at a disadvantage would not be one in my opinion.)
But people get penalized when a ball falls out of their pocket and that's not intentional. And if it happens a 2nd time, isn't that a point?
 

dsp9753

Semi-Pro
But people get penalized when a ball falls out of their pocket and that's not intentional. And if it happens a 2nd time, isn't that a point?
Yes, I believe that is correct. Sorry, I will revise my statement to just, you can only call the hindrance if you do not attempt to play the point. If you try to play the point and claim the hindrance, then you should not get 2 attempts to win the same point.

As far as a racquet dropping, I don't think its a hindrance but not sure how an official would rule. I personally think that people should mentally toughen up and just continue to play the point unless the hindrance is something outrageous. I know, subjective but I can't think of a better way to define it. Someone trips, yells watch out, drops a racquet, etc you should be able to continue on to play the point and win it. Especially if they drop the racquet, just hit it back to them softly and you automatically win the point.

What is outrageous that deserves a hindrance? You have an easy ball at the net and the opponent comes running up to you yelling/screaming and waving their racquet. (If they came charging up without the yelling and waving, i think its fair game.) Haha I am sure there are others but cant really think of one.
 

mmk

Hall of Fame
Dropping a racquet is far less of a possible hindrance than when I've ended up on my keister after slipping on the baseline tape. I'm 1 and 1 on those occasions, and my opponents never even mentioned a possible hindrance, just asked if I was okay.
 

Matthew ATX

Semi-Pro
So they didn't even mention to the official that they tried to return the ball. All he heard was that my partner dropped his racquet mid-point. No hindrance was his call.
 

Matthew ATX

Semi-Pro
Weenie protest besides you guys spanked them 6-3 6-0 so not like it was a close match...
They also threw a fit over a line call at 30-30 when they were down 5-0 in the second. If they hadn't already been super annoying I would have probably conceded the call, as it was certainly close, but at this point I was annoyed so I backed my partner up who made the call on the serve to my side (where he obviously had the best view).
Next point, match point, guy hit a good serve, partner returned to him and he went head hunting at me. I saw it coming ten miles away, stepped to the side and watched it hit the back wall to end the match, lol.
 

CosmosMpower

Hall of Fame
They also threw a fit over a line call at 30-30 when they were down 5-0 in the second. If they hadn't already been super annoying I would have probably conceded the call, as it was certainly close, but at this point I was annoyed so I backed my partner up who made the call on the serve to my side (where he obviously had the best view).
Next point, match point, guy hit a good serve, partner returned to him and he went head hunting at me. I saw it coming ten miles away, stepped to the side and watched it hit the back wall to end the match, lol.
Nice win in a tough 4.0 draw! They sound like sore losers. Me and my partner won the 3.5 doubles. Thought I’d sneak in one last sandbagger 3.5 tournament before the bump up next year.
 

CosmosMpower

Hall of Fame
Nice! What site were y'all playing out of? Was your scheduling as awful as ours?
We played the first two rounds at Tbar. Scheduling was bad, second round they put our dubs match at the same time as an opponents singles final. After we pointed it out to the director they moved it back (not far enough) we still had to wait an extra 40 minutes.

They moved the final last minute from Brookhaven to Bent tree, there was no Usta official or representative at all and only two kids were running the Check in desk. We had to drive over to Brookhaven to pick up our trophy afterwards. Not sure what would have happened if we needed a referee.
 
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S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
Yes, I believe that is correct. Sorry, I will revise my statement to just, you can only call the hindrance if you do not attempt to play the point. If you try to play the point and claim the hindrance, then you should not get 2 attempts to win the same point.
Playing Devil's Advocate, perhaps the serve moved quickly enough that the returner couldn't simultaneously try to return and divert enough attention to bother calling a hindrance even though it may have disturbed him. On the other extreme, if you had lobbed, he would have had plenty of time to disengage from tracking the ball.

For example, let's say you're driving and have to swerve to avoid a pothole. At the same time, your friend in the passenger seat is trying to change the radio station, which violates the addendum to the Constitution that says "He who drives gets to control the radio". You're going to swerve first and then argue about the radio, not do them simultaneously [hopefully].

This is only relevant if the ruling would be a hindrance which, IMO, I do not think it should be.
 

WhiteOut

Semi-Pro
I may be in the unpopular opinion on this, technically I think it would was a hindrance. It’s not a hindrance because your partner didn’t have a racquet in hand. It was a hindrance because it was a distraction (even though it was inadvertent) on a return of serve.

Now would I have called hindrance? Absolutely not, I would have returned it to the player without a racquet in his hand for the win.
This is correct. It's no different than a ball falling out of your pocket or your hat falling off mid-point. Those are also hindrances. HOWEVER -- i'd have to look it up, but pretty sure the first hindrance is merely a warning. The second hindrance is loss-of-point.
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
This is correct. It's no different than a ball falling out of your pocket or your hat falling off mid-point. Those are also hindrances. HOWEVER -- i'd have to look it up, but pretty sure the first hindrance is merely a warning. The second hindrance is loss-of-point.
It is different, @Rusbus got the right link and it specifically states a racquet drop is not the same.
 

r2473

Talk Tennis Guru
https://www.usta.com/en/home/improve/what---the-call/national/dropping-your-racquet.html

Play continues....There is nothing to debate and no let can be called.
It is different, @Rusbus got the right link and it specifically states a racquet drop is not the same.
The rule that matters is what both sides agree to. Since they netted the ball, it makes perfect sense to argue for a hindrance. Most people don't know the rules, so it might work.

Even if it doesn't, sometimes just being an a-hole and arguing for "stuff" will get your opponents mad. That bit of gamesmanship could result in a few free points later on.

Of course all this assumes that you don't actually believe a word you are saying, so "arguing' doesn't really make you mad or affect you in any way (I fully believe that this was what McEnroe was doing most of the time; I don't think he always believed what he was saying, but was just doing it for pure gamesmanship purposes.....because he's an a-hole).
 

JLyon

Hall of Fame
can not call a hindrance on a racket coming out of the hand, unless deliberate, also of note if your racket were to hit the net or go onto opponents courts while ball still in play, it would be their point.
Easy case: Point to Servers
 

JLyon

Hall of Fame
This is correct. It's no different than a ball falling out of your pocket or your hat falling off mid-point. Those are also hindrances. HOWEVER -- i'd have to look it up, but pretty sure the first hindrance is merely a warning. The second hindrance is loss-of-point.
it is totally different, than a ball falling out of a pocket. Who in their right mind is going to release their racket on purpose to distract.
 

JLyon

Hall of Fame
Haha, yea, I know they were calling it because of the distraction. I was just making a counter point.

Fwiw, USTA official sided with us and said no hindrance, point stays live if someone drops racquet.
stays live because it actually hinders you and your partner, not the opponents, just like the ruling on a shoe falling off mid point, was a let, not it is similar to racket slipping, hinders you not your opponent.
 

mfpeden

Rookie
Hit an ace yesterday because my first serve was decent, but my racket slipped out of my hand and smashed into the ground, eventually ending up near the service line. Opponent knew the rule and gave me the point. We were both quite surprised.

Racket was cracked/broken...


Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
 
My partner is serving game point. Hits serve to ad court, and on downswing, drops racquet (indoor court, did make noise).
OK, just heard another "spin" on this "hindrance/no hindrance" call by Todd Woodbridge, doing commentary on Tennis Channel, on a singles match between Fed and Tiafoe at the Perth Hoppman, after taking a full swing at a ROS, Roger asks for a challenge on the serve. Tiafoe asks chair if the challenge didn't come too late? Woodbridge comments that on a ROS of serve the ball is coming so fast returner is just trying to reflexively get it back and there's not enough time to challenge and try to get it back. Woodbridge commented that on a rally challenge players sometimes play the ball and then challenge, "wanting their cake cake and eat it too."

In your case though, your opponents were just being a-holes, since they were down so far in the match, and the serve was probably not coming at 180kph.
 
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Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
Dropping the racquet is a hindrance and the point should at minimum be replayed. There is a long list of cheap ways to distract your opponent while maintaining plausible deniability. Intentionally dropping your racquet is one of the most common of these.
 

Vox Rationis

Semi-Pro
Dropping the racquet is a hindrance and the point should at minimum be replayed. There is a long list of cheap ways to distract your opponent while maintaining plausible deniability. Intentionally dropping your racquet is one of the most common of these.
But that's not what the rules say. Also I feel like it's extremely rare for someone to drop a racket on purpose. It provides a bigger disadvantage than advantage.

https://www.usta.com/en/home/improve/what---the-call/national/dropping-your-racquet.html

Play continues....There is nothing to debate and no let can be called.
It is different, @Rusbus got the right link and it specifically states a racquet drop is not the same.
 
Dropping the racquet is a hindrance and the point should at minimum be replayed. There is a long list of cheap ways to distract your opponent while maintaining plausible deniability. Intentionally dropping your racquet is one of the most common of these.
Late to the party with a contrarian view from the Lunar Explorer--be advised that the earth always looks round from space--everyone knows it's as flat as a tennis court--except around the edges, where you have a steep drop-off--beware!
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
OK, just heard another "spin" on this "hindrance/no hindrance" call by Todd Woodbridge, doing commentary on Tennis Channel, on a singles match between Fed and Tiafoe at the Perth Hoppman, after taking a full swing at a ROS, Roger asks for a challenge on the serve. Tiafoe asks chair if the challenge didn't come too late? Woodbridge comments that on a ROS of serve the ball is coming so fast returner is just trying to reflexively get it back and there's not enough time to challenge and try to get it back. Woodbridge commented that on a rally challenge players sometimes play the ball and then challenge, "wanting their cake cake and eat it too."

In your case though, your opponents were just being a-holes, since they were down so far in the match, and the serve was probably not coming at 180kph.
What Woodbridge said was the idea I was trying to get across.

And while the serve might not be going 180kph, that's not relevant: what's relevant is how fast of a reaction does the returner have relative to the incoming serve. The opponent doesn't have to receive a pro-level serve but neither does he have pro-level reaction time.
 
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