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Body Shots

Q. My friends and I are in disagreement about this. Some of us say that if the ball strikes any part of your body during the rally, you lose the point. And further, you should call that on yourself. Some others say that if the ball hits your hand or wrist (the one holding the racquet) while you are attempting to return the ball during the point and the ball goes over the net to the opposing team, the ball is still in play and you don't lose the point. What's the ruling?

A. Any touch is called on oneself. The hand is considered a part of the body and not the racket. If the ball touches your hand that holds the racket you lose the point.

Q. While playing doubles our opponents hit the ball right at my partner who was at net. My partner avoiding the ball ducked quickly to avoid being hit. While ducking his glasses flew off which the ball struck while in the air. The ball went wildly out of bounds. What is the correct call in this situation? We were playing a friendly match so we replayed the point. Should it have been our opponents point because the glasses are considered part of my partner’s body or should it have been an obstruction call and the point played over.

A. If the ball touches anything that you wear or carry (other than the racket) or any part of your body, you lose the point.

Q. In a recent doubles match our opponents served to my partner. the ball was clearly long and hit my partner on the foot before hitting the ground. although we called the ball long our opponents took the point. we have asked several people and are getting mixed opinions on this. please help. also does the same rule apply if the ball is clearly "out" but hits the opposing player before the ground.

A. If any ball (during the service or a ralley) hits a player before it hits the ground, no matter where that opposing player(s) is standing and no matter how far out the ball was heading, that player/team loses the point.

Exception: If a service let hits an opponent before the ball bounces, then it is a "let" serve.

Q. In play a ball is volleyed and hits the opponent and then comes back over the net. Is the ball still in play?

A. You cannot hit the ball with any part of your body, only with the racket itself. If the ball touches any part of you (including your hand), you lose the point, even if it came off your racket before or after it touched your body.

Q. I looked through the rules but couldn’t find where this was addressed. What is the rule on intentionally hitting a player. I understand that its hard to prove but how many hard shots at your head/body constitutes a foul? I recently played a match that every time I approached the net my opponent would just hit as hard as he could right at me without any attempt to lob or hit a passing shot.

What can be done about this and is this specifically addressed in the rules?

A: There is not a lot one can do. If the player says I am going to hit you the next time I get an opportunity and does so, that could be deemed unsportsmanlike conduct. Just saying it could be a conduct penalty if there are officials. Other than that, stay alert. There is no rule to prohibit a player from hitting the ball at their opponent at any pace.

Q. A player is standing outside the court and the ball inadvertently hits the player or his racket before it bounces; who wins the point?

A: When standing outside the lines of the court, if a player is hit by a ball before it bounces or a ball hits their racket before the ball bounces, that player loses the point.

Q. What is the rule if the player hits a shot at a player at the net and it strikes the player in the body and careens back over the net. Is the ball considered to still be in play, or does the point end when it strikes a player somewhere besides the racket?

A. If the ball touches any part of the player’s body, including the hand, they lose the point immediately.

Q. If a player is standing outside the service box receiving serve and the player is hit by the ball, who wins the point? Also, if a player attempts a serve but misses the ball, does that count as a loss of either 1st or 2nd serve?

A: If a player is hit by the ball that is served before the ball lands on the court, that player (team) loses the point. An attempt by the server to swing at a serve and miss completely is considered a fault.

Q. Yesterday I was playing doubles with my regular partners when a ball flew very close to my face. The women facing me on the opposite side of the net wanted to know if the ball touched me.

Would we have lost a point if I got hit with the ball?

A. Yes a player would lose the point if they are hit by the ball. Any ball that hits a player before it bounces is loss of point for that player, no matter where that player is standing, even outside the lines. If a ball hits you should admit it to your opponents.

Q: If a ball hits the hand that is holding the racquet and the balls goes over the net, is that a good return or not? Why?

A: If the ball hits the hand holding the racket or any other part of the body, it is loss of point. The Rules of Tennis do not consider the hand as a part of the racket.

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