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The Final Word: Calling A Let

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: Making the Right Call
If a serve or shot is out but the opponent keeps playing, loses the point, and then calls the ball out, who should get the point?
Thanks. Leia

If the player did not make the call immediately and continued the point, they may not call a previous ball out.
In all cases of lets, hindrance calls and line calls, players may never have two chances to win a point. Players must stop play immediately.


Subject: Moving During a Serve
Can a player runs toward the net on your serve and yell or makes noises? Is this a legal move or a code violation?
Thanks. Mark

No it is not permitted. This is a hindrance and loss of point, not a code violation.

“Any movement or any sound that is made solely to distract an opponent, including but not limited to, waving the arms or racket or stomping the feet, is not allowed.” Friend At Court – The Code – The Players’ Guide to Unofficiated Matches - Page 49


Subject: Calling a service let
I was receiving a serve and heard the ball touch the net and called a let right as I returned the serve. The serve was weak and I thought I was doing the right thing by calling it a let. It would have been my advantage to play the point as my return was deep and put the server behind the baseline. The server's partner disagreed with me and said she was the only one to call a serve let as she was at the net. My partner said she was looking at the line and just didn't know. We let them have the point just to stop the arguing but I think it was my call. What is the rule in this situation?
Thanks. Mary

Any player on the court may call a service let, server (serving team) or receiver (receiving team).

“The call shall be made before the return of serve goes out of play or is hit by the server or server’s partner. If the serve is an apparent or near ace, it should be called promptly.” Friend At Court – The Code – The players’ Guide to Unofficiated Matches - Page 48


Subject: Calling a let
My friend and I play for fun almost every week, but we also like to follow the rules of the game in the process. On an "ad-in" shot he served, approached the net and slammed the ball in my court for a winner. We both laughed as the ball took one bounce and then went over my head. I looked more closely at him and his racket was on the net. I called a let. He says the ball had hit in for a winner before I called a let. How long after a shot do you have to make that call or was that a false call?
Thanks. Plentis

Until the ball bounces two times or hits a permanent fixture, a player may not touch the net with their body nor with anything that they wear or carry.
f they do they lose the point. So you are both incorrect. No point to the server. No let. It is loss of point to the server.

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