Is it a hindrance if your opponent's racquet strikes you across the net?
© Garrett Ellwood
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: Can your racquet crossing the net be a hindrance?
Question from Lucy: I was playing very close to the net during a doubles match. One of our opponents was also very close to the net, directly across from me. During a point, the opponent who was very close to the net hit a ball that had crossed to her side of the net. During her follow through, she touched/impeded me with her racquet, on my side of the net, enough so that I was not able to make a play on the ball. Although I know she is allowed to follow through with her swing onto our side of the net (without touching the net,which she did not), is it a hindrance if she inadvertently interferes with my opportunity to play the ball she hit?
KAUFMAN: If a player's racquet strikes the opponent across the net with a legal follow through, and in making that contact hinders the opponent from playing the next shot, then that is a hindrance and a loss of point.
Topic: Can you go around the net post?
Question from Isabel: During a high school varsity doubles match, one of the boys hit with so much spin that the ball bounced back over the net before the second bounce. Not only that, it bounced high and in the alley, but didn’t bounce twice before the opponent came around the post and onto the court and hit the ball. Is that legal? I know you can reach over the net to hit ball (without touching the net), but can you go around the post onto the opponents' side to get the ball?
KAUFMAN: The player may run around the post (or jump over the net) to play the shot into the opponent's court or into the net after one bounce and win the point. However, that player running around the post or jumping the net may not touch the opponent's court that is in play with his/her body or racquet (doubles alley for doubles and single lines for singles) when attempting to play this shot. That would be an invasion and a loss of point.