Is the shot legal if your opponents' racquets collide?
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: Colliding Racquets
Question: While playing doubles, our opponents both went for the ball, their racquets collided and the ball carried over the net. My partner let the ball fall, insisting it was illegally hit. They argued the collision came after the ball had been struck by one racquet.What is the ruling on this?
KAUFMAN: Racquets may collide before or after the ball is hit by one of the players. As long as one of the players did not hit the ball after the other, and as long as it was one swing of the racquet, racquets colliding is legal.
Topic: Ball Rebounding Off a Racquet
Question: In a doubles match, the ball hit the ground and the opposing player had his racquet positioned so that after the ball hit the ground, it bounced up about 1 inch, hit the racquet and bounced back off the ground, then over the net. Play was fast and furious at this point and had continued before I could say anything relevant other than, "Wait a minute." What is the proper call and can you call it after the point has concluded? No one else saw it and the opponent had no idea that it had happened.
KAUFMAN: From Friend At Court, The Code, Page 47. 19 are calls made against oneself. 20 are calls made by the opponent.
A ball hitting the ground on a player’s side of the court after hitting the shot is a call made against that player. The call must be immediate and cannot be made after the point is completed.
19. Touches, hitting ball before it crosses net, invasion of opponent’s court, double hits, and double bounces. A player shall promptly acknowledge when:
• A ball in play touches the player;
• The player touches the net or opponent’s court while a ball is in play;
• The player hits a ball before it crosses the net;
• The player deliberately carries or double hits a ball; or
• A ball bounces more than once in the player’s court.
The opponent is not entitled to make these calls.
20. 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.