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The Final Word: Vibration Dampeners

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.  Each week, he will select a few submissions and supply the definitive rulings through a Q&A.

Have a question of your own?  Click here to submit your question to The Final Word.

* Please note, due to the volume of emails Rich receives, he is not able to answer every email.


Subject: Vibration Dampeners
How many vibration devices can be used on the racket and where should they be placed. I played a match where my opponent played with two vibrators on his racket. This gave a unique spin on the ball. Is this legal?
Thanks. Jonathan Wiggins

Dampening devices may be located on the outside of the last cross string on the sides, top and/or bottom of the racket face. Multiple devices are permitted. The device may not be placed inside the outside cross strings but the device may touch the outside cross strings.


Subject: Calling a Let
If your ball goes on another court, are you allowed to say "ball on court" so the players on the other court don't get injured?
Thanks. Ellen Smith

It is not the responsibility for other players on other courts to call lets for players not on their court. Players must call their own hindrances related to their match only. I understand that you are trying to prevent possible injury to others. However stopping play by calling lets and hindrances for other players in other matches not on your court can create problems. That is the responsibility of the players on their own court.


Subject: Ball bounces back over net before it is hit
During play, if I hit the ball over the net with so much under spin that the ball bounces right back over the net to my side before my opponent could hit the ball, do I win that point?
Thanks! John Lei

If the spin or wind brings the ball back over the net to the side of the player(s) who hit the shot, the opponent(s) may then reach over the net and play the ball. They may not touch the net or the opponent's court. This is the only situation when a player may reach over the net to play a ball. If the opponent does not play the ball and it bounces on the side of the player who hit the spin shot, that player(s) who hit that spin shot wins the point.

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