what is the call

While playing a practice match for our USTA 4.5, 50 and over team, two interesting tennis calls came up.

The first is like the old Ken Flach call: did the ball hit you? My partner was receiving serve, when the server blasted one way off target in my direction. I jumped to the side; but the serve nicked my hip on the fly. We volunteered that the ball did touch me and it was their cheap point.

The second is the one up for debate. During a point I hit a cross court backhand near the opposite sideline. Our opponent went for it, hitting his hard backhand long on our side. Then, he and his partner went to look at the mark my ball left and determined that my shot was just out.

They claimed the point, saying Play stopped when he hit his shot out and he had no other time to stop play, since the ball was so close and he was swinging. We argued – it really was more of a discussion of what the rule should be – that he played the ball; but could have still called out after he swung and before his shot landed out.

Anyone have knowledge on this fine point?

By the way our USTA 4.5, 50 and over team will be going to Daytona May 1-4 for the Florida state sectionals; and expect to meet some pretty tough and younger competition. More to come on that.

11 thoughts on “what is the call

  1. My question on such calls as you mention, or the point I usually bring up is… if your opponent’s shot had NOT landed out, but rather landed in, they -and you- surely would have played on! So, for them to question your call only because theirs went out, seems patently unfair and, in my view, bogus.
    It happens a lot and I have thrown that question out there frequently when it does…. “would you have said “out” if your return had stayed in?” …it seems to rile people when I do that so I sometimes hold back but it’s a fair question, isn’t it!

    I say it’s too late and the point is YOURS!

  2. George, there is no doubt that it was your point. If a player “goes” for playing the point the in or out question is over. It is the same with the new instant replay decisions if you swing and play the ball you can no longer question it. May I promote my website http://www.tennisboutique.com? I offer a discount for all campers, since I do this as a hobby. Good luck in your upcoming tournament!


  3. Rolf – That is a great looking website! You have some very nice looking pieces there, that would make great gifts. tks for sharing.

  4. It’s not about playing that shot but about playing the next. To assume that play would continue if the subsequent shot went in is an unsupported assumption. If your shot is out do you really feel good winning the point; I don’t.

  5. when a player plays the ball and misses his shot and then calls it out, he has given himself two chances to win the point. the player can call it out if he does it immediately after playing the ball., regardless of where his ball landed. mostly it’s a matter of timing….. ive seen guys play serves that were out and hit the ball into the net and then call the ball long….

  6. George:

    I played in a match this morning (sunday) in our 9.5 BMW mens combo league.
    The tempo of the balls are pretty quick at this level.
    Playing the Ad side, I returned a ball cross court and stayed back, the server had moved in and vollyed my return cross court very close to the line. My only chance to hit that ball, was to run wide and hit a backhand back to my opponents who volleyd the ball away into my vacant court. I came back to the out mark, that was close to the line, circled it and called the ball out. It was not an instant call, as I would not have been able to retreive and return that volly if I stayed to look at the mark. There was no argument by the other team, as the ball mark was clearly out. It would be my opinion the actual mark (if available) would trump any question as long as the point did not continue, weather missed by the returning team or put away by the opponents.

    The CODE pg55 in Friend of the Court 2008 #18 A player shall make all calls promptly after the ball has hit the court. A call shall be made either beofre the players return shot has gone out of play or before the opponent has had the opportunity to play the return shot. With that said, it also states,
    A player should take a careful second look at any point-ending placement that is close to a line on a clay court.

    Very interesting and non conclusive.

  7. I think Bob’s comments highlight the key point: sure, the player has no time to decide WHILE he is hitting the ball; but the question is, “what did you do AFTER you struck your shot?” if you got into a ready position to continue playing the point, it is too late to then go back and check the mark. But if you indicated stoppage of play by raising your hand, calling out, or walking to the mark (instead of playing), then you can challenge the call.

  8. George- Friend At Court 2007-USTA Comment 11.2: Must an out call on a player’s shot to the opponent’s court be made before the opponent’s return has either gone out of play or been hit by the first player? Yes.

  9. I think George’s comment above, following up on Bob Baker’s very relevant comments, is the most accurate analysis.

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