Obvious Sitter Rule?

You are playing a point in either singles or doubles and you have an obvious sitter/put-away at the net; but as you are swinging, your opponent(s) yells “Let… play two!” because a ball rolled onto the court.  Is that legal??

Obvious Sitter Rule?

This happened on a very critical point during a deciding Match TieBreaker at camp last week in a match I was watching; and they did replay the point.  I thought there was a rule that said you could not call a Let if your opponent had an “obvious sitter” at the net; so I reached out to a USTA official…

“Sorry to do this to you. Better define “a ball on the court”. Was it a ball that was left on the court or a ball that has just come onto the court? If it is ball that was left lying on the court no player may call a let. If the ball has just come onto the court, a player may call a let as soon as he observes it, regardless of the circumstances, even if someone is about put away an obvious sitter. The call must be immediate. I know that sometimes the ball may not be near any of the players but USTA felt it was in the better interest all players’ safety. Everyone has often experienced that frustration.”

What do YOU think?

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8 thoughts on “Obvious Sitter Rule?

  1. Of course if they call out “let” just as you dump that “sitter”into the net then you’re the one who is happy!. We’ve all done that. You get a ball you can’t possibly miss and then you do.

    Jim, true. george

  2. I’d give the point. I’ve even given the point when someone missed a sitter because they otherwise would have clobbered me from close quarters. Not talking about a situation where showing off yer quick hands was a possibility, but where body parts are actually in some danger. 🙂

    Kevin. I have also given the point. Thanks. George

  3. It’s legal, but “It ain’t ethical” — poor sportsmanship.

    Dag. Probably different in a “fun” match vs at Newk’s. Thanks, george

  4. George, Appreciate the insights and clarification. I can sleep better now knowing that we did not violate the rule. It is a grey area that needed explanation.

    For readers, John’s team was the one that called the LET. george

  5. George , I can just picture Homer telling Bart you can’t call a let when I’m hitting a sitter overhead with his famous. Doh!

    OhioJack, and then grabbing a beer! george

  6. George:
    As a college tennis coach for many years (just retired), I have seen this situation many times and I have experienced it in competition myself. My personal solution, as long as there is no danger involved, is to let an opposing player swing away – without asking for a let, and live with the consequences – only seems fair. If an opponent calls “let” on me in the same situation (no danger involved), my response is to swing away (again, as long as no danger involved) & then, when opponent claims “Let,” I ask “Would you still want a let if I hit that sitter into the net?” This has the effect of allowing the let-caller to evaluate his moral position. If he hesitates but then still wants the Let to stand, you may want to reconsider playing with him in the future!

    I have asked my college players to use the same approach and it has 2 positive results. #1, it keeps them from blowing their top over the perceived inequity, whatever the result, and prevents the situation from escalating into a nasty argument. #2, it gives the opponent a chance to re-evaluate the situation and possibly concede the point instead of replaying it. When both players/teams are conversant with “The Code” and/or the principles of fair play, a fair solution is usually the result.

    Of course, these options only apply when there is no danger involved from the offending ball that was the cause of the “Let” call. Safety of players must always come first!

    Sean Sloane

  7. This is a naive question. Can people call a ‘let’ after the point is won by the opponent?
    Or you must call a let before the point is finished?

    Omar. Yes, you must call a let before the point is over. Actually, before the point continues. Thanks. George

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