Do Not Always Believe a Referee

We were playing a doubles tournament on a very windy day; and while the USTA referee was giving us pre-match instructions, he told us about a “rule” that all four of us knew was wrong!

One of our opponents, Mike Melnik asked (almost in jest), “And what happens if someone’s hat blows off during a point in this big wind?” The ref said authoritatively, “You continue playing and no one can call a Let.” When we challenged him, he further said it was the same rule with a ball falling out of the server’s pocket.

We all said that we disagreed; and he said we could look it up in Friend At Court rule book.

Well, Larry Albritton, a teaching pro, had a copy in his tennis bag; so we asked a friend sitting by the court to look it up for us, while we started playing.

And sure enough, WE were all correct. The rule says: when a hat blows off or a ball comes out of the server’s pocket, the OPPOSING team or player can call a let (the offender cannot). And, that the second offense would be a Hindrance and loss of point.

When the referee eventually returned to our court, we told him of our research. And he said “he didn’t understand our question”.

While most USTA referees do know their stuff, not all do. Have you had any similar problems?

1 thought on “Do Not Always Believe a Referee

  1. Learned something new…because many a time when someone’s hat or glasses came of they THEMSELVES called the let, and I never had a problem with that.Now i know they can’t. Thank you.

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