If a call comes from another court, do you get a first or second serve? Or replay the point?
© Andrew Ong/USTA
Have you ever had a dispute with a fellow player over a call on the court that you couldn’t settle? Or have you ever wondered why a certain ruling was made during a match you were watching? Maybe you’re just curious about how some scenarios, from the common to the ridiculous, are resolved.
USTA Director of Officials Richard Kaufman is here to answer your questions. He selects a few submissions at a time and supplies the definitive rulings through a Q&A.
Have a question of your own? Write to The Final Word!
Topic: Calls from outside the court
Question: My partner was serving and her serve hit right on what I thought was the line. Right as it hit, I heard someone yell, "Out!" At the same time the opponent hit the ball so I stopped play and turned around and told my partner she called it out and she stopped as well. The opponent's partner stopped as well. The returner asked what happened. I told her I heard her say, "Out!" She said she didn't say it. Her teammate on the court next to them raised her hand and said she yelled it and she was on the same side as the opponents. I then said it was a voice let. We wanted to know if my partner should get a second serve, first serve or does the opponent get the point.
KAUFMAN: Calls from other courts are not grounds for a hindrance. The receiver returned a ball that was in play and was not called out by the receiving team. If the return was put into play, then the receiving team wins the point, even if the serving team stopped. Likewise, if the serve was not returned into play, the receiving team may not claim a hindrance due to an “out” call from another court and the serving team wins the point.
EXCEPTION: If all four players thought the call came from their court, all stopped at the same time and then all four players agreed they were fooled by the call, they could agree to replay the entire point (first serve). However, if it does happens again, or if all four players do not agree when it happens the first time, then the rules should be enforced as stated above.