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The Final Word: Tosses and lets

Can you catch your toss with your racquet?

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.
Our USTA officials are here to answer your questions. They select a few submissions at a time and supply the definitive rulings through a Q&A.
Have a question of your own? Write to The Final Word!

Question: My opponent tossed the ball to serve but decided he did not like his toss, tapped the ball with his racquet and then caught it. I thought this was a fault since the ball came in contact with his racquet, but he claimed it was not a service motion and was entitled to a first serve. Who is correct?

FINAL WORD from official Joseph Buys: Rule 19 states that "a player, who tosses the ball and then decides not to hit it, is allowed to catch the ball with the hand or the racquet, or to let the ball bounce. As long as there was not a swing at the ball, it is not a fault."

For the "Friend at Court" handbook and more information on the rules of tennis, visit the Officiating homepage.



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