Tennis is a game if rules. Some are written and approved; but others are just â€œthe code of how you play the game.â€ For example, we all know you donâ€™t walk on someone elseâ€™s court when a point is going on. But here is a more subtle question that I have debated with my Naples friend Jack Lease: what is the proper tennis etiquette for the receiver to do with an obvious missed first serve?
Sure, if a serve is close, you will naturally play the return and then call it out; but what if it is obviously OUT, what do you do?
- Do you NOT hit it, and let it go to the back fence (and possibly rattle around back there)?
- Do you knock it into the net in front of you (and have it in the serverâ€™s line of sight)?
- Or do you hit it back across the net towards the serverâ€™s back fence (and possibly rattle around back there)?
I do not know the official code; but am a believer that the least offensive is to bunt it back into the net.
And then the parallel question: if you do any one of those three and the ball comes back on the court, forcing the server to stop play, when is â€œLet, play a first serve!â€ appropriate to call?
My personal code is: if I took options #2 or #3 and the ball I hit, caused the delay; then I offer the server a first serve. But if I do not play the missed serve and HIS ball rolls back on the court and stops play I do not.
How about you?