When is it OK to say, â€œPlay a let!â€ and have it be fair and correct? We all have thought about stopping play because of â€œsomething,â€ or had that â€œsomethingâ€ stop our play during a critical point.
Here are some answers and some unanswered situations.
- Net Cord â€“ It is at a critical point in the match and you hit a service winner against your opponent; but they raise their hand and say, â€œIt hit the net cord, play a let!â€ (Actually, what most everyone calls is just â€œLet!â€) But, you didnâ€™t hear anything. Do you play a let? I believe the answer is: anytime, any player on the court (in singles or doubles) thinks they hear the ball tick the net on the serve, they are allowed to call a Let. Sure, in friendly doubles, sometimes majority rules and three players can agree there was no let.
- Rolling first serve â€“ Your opponent serves their first serve into the net and it rolls back to the middle of the service box and they arenâ€™t going to pick the ball up. You ask them to â€œPlease clear the ball.â€ Do they get to play a Let and get a first serve? I believe not. If their first serve rolls anywhere near the court, they or you can clear it (or ask for it to be cleared) and no let is deserved.
- First Serve Part II â€“ But here is a variation on the theme. Letâ€™s say their missed first serve is tight to the net, and not really in the field of play, but in your field of vision. Can you ask them to clear the ball? And if so, do they get to play a let? I do not know the answer.
- Noise â€“ You are playing a point and there is a loud bang or crash somewhere near enough for you both to hear the sound. Your opponent says the sound hindered him and he calls a let. Legit? I do not think so. I believe sounds off the court are just part of the game.
- Your Opponentâ€™s Noise â€“ Now on the other hand, your opponent hits a ball and yells at himself for making a bad shot that he thinks is going out. You donâ€™t play the ball because of that and it lands in. Play a let? I think technically it is your point, because his verbalization was a hindrance to you; but I think the best case scenario would be to play a let (but I bet you that most times we allow our opponent take that point with no objection).
- Your Opponentâ€™s Noise Part II â€“ OK, you are about to hit an overhead and your opponent yells something (in singles, just to you; or in doubles to his partner); and you miss the overhead. Play a let? I believe if it can be deemed that they were intentionally trying to distract you (I actually had a guy yell at me, â€œSee what you can do with that one!â€ as I was swinging at my overhead), that it is your point, due to a hindrance. But if it were doubles, and they were just sharing instructions to each other (â€œMove back!â€, â€œWatch your side!â€), I believe that is not a hindrance or even a let.
- Flying Object â€“ Your opponent rushes the net and their hat falls off. Can you or they call a let? You can; but your opponent cannot.
What are your thoughts on these + any other interesting situations?