There are always questions about tennis balls rolling to and from one court to another. Here are two common situations …
Whose Call is it?
“George, with our opponent serving on the court next to you, after he had hit and missed his first serve, a ball from your court rolled onto our court behind him. Neither the server or his partner noticed the ball, nor was it in a position to cause injury.
As he prepared to hit his second serve numerous players from your court yelled to him, which of course stopped play. We awarded him with a first serve.
While this was totally insignificant to our match, I could see this type of thing could blow up into something bigger in a tight tournament match.
Do you think the players on one court have the right to “call a let” on another court?” George Dalphon
George, in answer to your question, NO, in my opinion, players on the next court can’t tell you to play a Let; but you were right that we did not “call a let,” but yelled out his name because one of our balls was rolling behind him.
The rule interpretation used to be an automatic “play two”; but I think it has now changed to be given ONLY if it actually interrupts the server’s motion. Your opponent was in between serves, so he could have ignored our calls and you could have chosen NOT to offer two serves.
A similar situation would be where you return a close first serve; but immediately call it OUT. Your returned ball then hits the fence behind the server and rolls a couple of feet toward him; and you ask, “Is that ball OK?” He says it is OK where it is. You then can offer a first serve or stay silent and let him serve his second.
“Hold the ball!”
The almost opposite of that situation happened in a Longboat Key tournament match I was watching. An errant first serve rolled onto the next court; and while the server had then put the second serve in and play was continuing, a player from the next court picked up the ball and blithely tossed it back onto the court from which it came, stopping play.
This is not a question of rule interpretation, but common sense. Players should THINK before tossing a ball back to the next court.
Know someone who should read this? Send them a link and if you are not on my “new posting alert email list” and want to be (I promise, no other uses of your email address!), just drop me a note at GeorgeWachtel@gmail.com
Christmas gift? If you are looking for something to give a tennis-playing friend, consider my book, “Senior Tennis.” Available at Amazon.com, through a number of tennis clubs/shops (see the list at “My Book” on my website), or just see me!