Rules, Rules, Rules

What happens if you swing and MISS your serve? That is one of several interesting Rule interpretations that have come up during matches and discussion over the last week. Here they are with some answers.

Missed Serve:
Gordon Hammes reported that at the Senior World’s in Turkey, a player tossed and MISSED hitting the ball; then served a fault. His opponents claimed “double fault.” They called the referee, who agreed.

Dick Valentine researched and found: Rule No. 19B on Service Faults states: The service is a fault if the server misses the ball when trying to hit it.

Hitting Your Partner:
Dick also found another rule… The serve is a fault (not a let) if your serve ticks your partner at the net and lands in the service box. Rule #19d: The service is a fault if the ball touches the server or server’s partner.

Hit The Hat:
How about this one… your opponent’s hat comes off during the point, you do not call LET, and then your ball hits his hat on the court?

Another interesting rule: USTA comment No. 24.2 states that if a ball hits a player’s hat on the court, the ball is still in play. The hat becomes part of the court.

Playing an Out Serve:
And this last one did happen to me … you are playing doubles, with your team serving into the deuce court. Your partner serves wide and “clearly” misses the line wide; but your opponent doesn’t see it and plays the ball for a winner past you (because you are just standing there pointing wide). What happens?

I believe it is the returner’s point; because it is their call and they played the ball. Others on the court felt that “everyone on the court has a right/obligation to make the correct line call” and the serve should have been OUT.

I do not know the correct answer.

7 thoughts on “Rules, Rules, Rules

  1. Geroge—The situation that happened to you: has to be, as you say, returners point. They called and played the ball; that’s it. The point regarding whiffing has a cousin in golf: to wit, if you swing with intent (the difference between practicing and actually trying to make contact) it’s a stroke.

  2. According to rule ru469-
    “If you swing and miss a serve you should exit the court and look for the nearest bar, have 2 beers and then start looking for a croquet club to join.”

    Bill – pour me a cold one! geo

  3. I agree with you. Only the receiving team can call the ball out and if they did not call it out the ball is in play.

  4. From the USTA, “The Code”: “13. Player calls own shots out. With the exception of the first serve, a player should call against himself or herself any ball the player clearly sees out regardless of whether requested to do so by the opponent. The prime objective in making calls is accuracy. All players should cooperate to attain this objective.” Further, “26. Service calls by serving team. Neither the Server nor Server’s partner shall make a fault call on the first service even if they think it is out because the Receiver may be giving the Server the benefit of the doubt. There is one exception. If the Receiver plays a first service that is a fault and does not put the return in play, the Server or Server’s partner may make the fault call. The Server and the Server’s partner shall call out any second serve that either clearly sees out.” SO, was it a first serve or a second? This seems to conflict with the basic idea that it is the receiver who makes the call and seems to open up a bit of a quagmire given the return for a winner. I would give them the point.

    Geoff – It was a first serve; so i am STILL confused! geo

  5. Thanks for summarizing the tips from the pros.

    Ron – it’s like taking notes in class… helps me remember better too! geo

  6. Miss the ball while attempting to serve is and should be a fault…here is a situation I could use some help with…serving at the New England Sectionals, while serving, soon as the ball left my hand the USTA official called me for a foot fault because my foot touched the outside of the baseline

    USTA Comment 18:3 tells you that once your feet are at rest but before the player strikes the ball either foot touches the court it is a foot fault….I am ok with the officials call until I read USTA Comment 18:4 which says it is not a foot fault if the servers foot touches the court as long as he makes no attempt to strike the ball…how did the USTA official know I was not going to catch the ball instead of hitting it

    B – i agree with you… i do not think it is a serve (therefore a foot fault) until you attempt to serve the ball. geo

  7. I like Stan’s solution, that is right down my alley! George I am very happy you write these blogs. It keeps this ex camper to now seriously consider being there next year. I believe I know all the guys you are talking about who have physical and other problems. Rolf

    Rolf – I look forward to seeing you put those words into action and hoisting a brew with you next year! geo

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