Can you call "out" to prevent your doubles partner from hitting the ball?
© Juan Ocampo
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: Calling a Shot Out
Question from Chuck: On occasion, I play with or against a player who calls a ball out before it actually touches out. Is that legal?
KAUFMAN: No. The call should not be made until the ball come in contact with the court. If calls are being made prior to the ball landing on the court, it could be considered a hindrance and a loss of point. Warn the player to stop doing it, and if it continues, you may call a hindrance.
Question from Marlene: Is it a hindrance to call the ball "out" to keep your partner from hitting an out ball? If your partner continues to hit the ball, is there a penalty?
KAUFMAN: Saying "out" at the moment the ball lands could be mistaken for a line call by your opponent, thus creating a hindrance. If you say "out" well before the ball lands, it should not be confused for a line call and thus does not result in a penalty if your partner plays the ball. Still, it is better to say "leave it" or "no" in case the ball is still in play because your partner ignored your communication.