Who calls if a ball goes over or through the net?
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: Did the ball go through or over the net?
Question from Nicole: Recently I played an away match where the court had holes in the net. The net had both ripped portions and spots where the holes had stretched large enough for a ball to pass through. My partner struck a ball that bounced on the opponents' side, but none of us could agree on whether it had gone over the net or through the net. It didn't appear to touch anything but it was low enough that it might not have cleared. We thought it was probably the receiver's call and gave them the point. Is this correct?
KAUFMAN: It was your opponents' call to make on whether your partner's shot went through the net. As stated in The Code: A Player's Guide to Unofficiated Matches (Friend At Court):
Balls hit through net or into ground. A player makes the ruling on a ball that the player’s opponent hits:
• Through the net; or
• Into the ground before it goes over the net.
Topic: Do you lose the point if you touch the net pole?
Question from Mary Ann: I returned a ball that was hit short over the net and after making a good angle return I touched the net support pole (not the net) with my hand. Is it my point or the opponents'?
KAUFMAN: In doubles, if you touch the net or the net post during play, you lose the point. When playing singles, with no singles sticks, if you touch the net post or net during play you lose the point. If you are playing with singles sticks and you touch the net post or net outside the singles sticks, it is NOT loss of point and play continues. If you touch the singles stick or any part of the net inside the singles sticks while the ball is still in play, you lose the point.