USTA Director of Officials Richard Kaufman answers your questions about valid let calls.
© Andrew Ong
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: Valid lets
Question from Richard: In a USTA mixed doubles match played indoors, with netting between courts, an opponent called a let when a ball on an adjacent court hit the side netting. The opponent said she saw the ball in the air flying toward her but the ball did not enter our court. Was this a valid let?
KAUFMAN: One could argue that the sight of a ball coming quickly could distract a player. However, the players in this case were aware that the netting was up and that balls could not come through. If one did come through somehow, then of course it could be called a hindrance. In almost all cases with the netting, the ball cannot come onto the court nor would it move the net abruptly. Players need to be "aware of their environment." The ball never entered or invaded the court. No let.
Topic: Getting hit by a ball and lets
Question from Linda: If any ball (during the service or a rally) 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, which player loses the point? And what about a let serve that hits either opponent?
KAUFMAN: Well Linda, here's the deal. If any ball (during the service or a rally) hits a player before it hits the ground, no matter where that opposing player is standing and no matter how far out the ball was, that player hit by the ball loses the point. If on a service let the ball hits either opponent in doubles before the ball bounces, then it is a let serve. And yes, receiving teams: be alert of the ball coming from an errant server or from an aggressive headhunter that comes right at the receiver's partner at the net. If that ball hits either opponent before the ball bounces, no matter where either are standing during the serve, the serving team wins the point.