Is an opponent allowed to reach over the net?
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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!
Subject: Reaching Over the Net
Question from Thomas: During a recent tennis match I hit a shot with excessive backspin that landed on my opponent's side and then drifted back over the net and bounced on my side. My opponent claimed that under these circumstances he could jump over the net or run around the net in an attempt to hit the ball. Are either of these two scenarios permitted by the rules? Thanks for all your help!
KAUFMAN: In an effort to play a shot, the only time a player may reach over the net to retrieve a shot is if the ball spins back over the net. The player may not touch the net or any part of the opponent’s court (within the lines of singles or doubles depending on the match). A player could jump the net or run around the net to play the shot but they cannot invade the playing court of the opponent(s) while the ball is still in play or hinder the opponent from playing a shot.
Subject: Ball Hitting Your Hands
Question from Tom: When a ball hits your hand or hands below the wrist, while they are on your racquet and goes back over the net and lands fair - is it a good shot? I contend that it is a good shot and play should continue. Also, what tennis rule covers this? I read through the rules and I could not find this situation mentioned anywhere. Thank you for any and all information.
KAUFMAN: If the ball touches any part of your body including your hand that holds the racket, you lose the point. Rule 24:g