If there is a ball on the court from a missed first serve that eventually rolls into the play area, whose responsibility is it to call a Let … The player on that side? The opponents? A fan?
During a Florida tournament match, that question came into play at a very critical moment …
We had split the first two sets and our opponent was serving to me at 4-4, 40-30. His first serve was long and I let it go. But I heard it “bong” on a solid post on the fence behind me and wondered whether it was going to roll back into play.
The server was going into his service motion for his second serve and I could see his net partner looking beyond me and figured he would call LET if that ball was going to be a problem. He didn’t and play continued.
I returned serve and came forward toward the service line; but after a couple of shots I could see that first serve ball now sitting in the middle of our No Man’s Land and I stopped play.
There was some controversy over “Why didn’t you call the LET sooner?” But both my partner and I were facing forward and didn’t see it roll onto the court. The net man admitted that he did; but “thought it was the returner’s responsibility to call the LET.”
(As it turned out, we replayed the point … won it … and won that critical game.)
What should have happened?
I was watching my doubles partner Noble Hendrix play a singles match at the CAT II vs. the #2 seeded player. Noble was returning serve and let a missed first serve go, like I did above. And like mine, that ball eventually rolled back toward the court and was only 1-2 feet behind Noble as he was standing on the baseline hitting groundstrokes during the rally.
I was concerned he was going to step on that ball (and not be able to play doubles with me!!); but was reluctant to yell out, thinking it wasn’t my place to do so.
He eventually saw the ball, didn’t call LET; but missed his next shot. He asked his opponent, “Did you see that ball there?” Of course he did; but claimed he didn’t.
Should I have stopped play or is that improper?
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