Air Foot Fault?

foot fault3During the Naples Bath tournament, Hank Irvine was warned he “would get a code violation” for foot faulting, for having his rear foot come forward over the service line (in the air) before striking the ball. How many ways is this wrong??

Wrong Two Ways

First, the referee was wrong in his definition of a foot fault. A foot fault only occurs when a foot TOUCHES the surface before the serve is struck. That could occur with either the front or the rear foot on the service line, the imaginary center line or the imaginary sideline. Here is the rule:

During the service motion, the server shall not:
a. Change position by walking or running, although slight movements of the feet
are permitted; or
b. Touch the baseline or the court with either foot; or
c. Touch the area outside the imaginary extension of the sideline with either
foot; or
d. Touch the imaginary extension of the centre mark with either foot.
If the server breaks this rule it is a “Foot Fault”

Code Violation?

Even if was a valid foot fault, the referee could either give the player a polite warning (as I have seen many do in these tournaments) or he could call him for a “foot fault,” which would be one bad serve.

But a code violation? Foot faults are not covered under this category, which would have automatically resulted in loss of point (not one serve).

What does all this tell you about always listening to the referee’s ruling?

For the almost-final results from this week’s CAT II in St. Pete, click HERE. Have you ever seen so many defaults? And what is with the two for being “late”?

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4 thoughts on “Air Foot Fault?

  1. I agree. I suggest that rather than merely posting about this doubly erroneous ruling here, somebody should also complain about the official to the USTA and make sure he or she gets proper training or is prohibited from working sanctioned tournies in the future. If not for the benefit of the players, then certainly for the official’s own safety because some player is going to clobber the person sooner or later if he/ she commits such blatant errors and lack of knowledge of the rules.

    Marty, and this is the same ref who told me in another tournament that you couldn’t call a hindrance if your opponent’s hat blew off in the wind! george

  2. This ref was all kinds of wrong. The noise coming from some of our Northern friends is much more disconcerting and should be taken to task. The code is badly abused by the screamers and grunters, especially when they do it just to get your attention.
    Sorry George a little off subject but I believe more important than an air foot fault that does not exist.

    Bill, off subject is ok. I grunt too (but hopefully not too loudly); but i agree, for some, it is a true hindrance. thanks, george

  3. This is a picking of nits, but could someday win you a bar bet. As the rule states above, the extension of the sideline is treated slightly differently than the extension of the center mark. You *can* touch one of them. . . kb

    Kevin, excellent “nit”! george

  4. I observed the same player in St. Pete. He strikes the ball before his foot makes contact with the court. It is not even a close call. Unfortunately, the poor officiating in Naples is a reflection on all officials. No member of South West Florida Tennis Officials Association would have called a foot fault. The mention of a “Code Violation” was ludicrous and mind boggling. Those officials are not part of our organization and as long as I have a breath in my body, never will be. To the Naples Tournament Directors, I only have one comment. You got what you paid for.

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