What’s The Rule?

When is a fake OK and when does it become cheating and an “intentional distraction”?

Art: Warwick.ac.uk

If you are playing singles and serving, you serve the ball and INTENTIONALLY take one (loud) step forward – like you are going to rush the net behind your serve – but then back up. Your opponent sees/hears this and misses his return of serve. Is that cheating and a hindrance?

According to Rule #26 of the code, “If a player is hindered in playing the point by a deliberate act of the opponent, the player shall win the point.”

I mixed in actually using serve/volley and this tactic the other day in a singles match … and it worked quite effectively against my opponent. He did not challenge me; but I wondered …

Is this tactic similar to faking a poach at the net in doubles, where it is acceptable for you take one step toward the center like you were crossing, but return to your spot? Or is this like the opponent you stomps his feet several times loudly to distract you when you are hitting the ball?

I think this is just like poaching – and OK to do. Anyone know a ruling on this one?

6 thoughts on “What’s The Rule?

  1. is it an “intentional distraction”, if i move up or way over to the forehand (indicating i’m really going to attack the serve) when receiving a second serve, and then move back to my original position before he serves?

  2. Grunts & screams are not disallowed. How can you disallow a foot stomp? (Most of us old guys can’t hear it anyway.)

  3. Grunts and screams are are allowed but can still be called a distraction depending upon when they occur. Foot stomping and arm waving are covered in the code as distractions.

    33. Body movement. A player may feint with the body while a ball is in play. A
    player may change position at any time, including while the server is tossing a ball.
    Any other movement or any sound that is made solely to distract an opponent,
    including, but not limited to, waving arms or racket or stamping feet, is not allowed.
    34. Let due to unintentional hindrance. A player who is hindered by an
    opponent’s unintentional act or by something else outside the player’s control is
    entitled to a let only if the player could have made the shot had the player not been
    hindered. A let is not authorized for a hindrance caused by something within a
    player’s control. For example, a request for a let because a player tripped over the
    player’s own hat should be denied.
    35. Grunting. A player should avoid grunting and making other loud noises.
    Grunting and other loud noises may bother not only opponents but also players on
    adjacent courts. In an extreme case, an opponent or a player on an adjacent court
    may seek the assistance of the Referee or a Roving Umpire. The Referee or the
    Roving Umpire may treat grunting and the making of loud noises as hindrances.
    Depending upon the circumstance, this could result in a let or loss of point

  4. I think Bill nailed it, no? Paragraph 33…..Sure seems like a gray area, though. You can fake, but can’t make a loud noise as you do so. Hmm. If I understand correctly, you can stamp your feet, but only i it doesn’t make a distracting sound?

Comments are closed.