Division I college tennis and pro team tennis both have been playing let serves; so we have tried it in some of our friendly matches and find some interesting results.
No Big Deal
We were all amazed how infrequently a serve would touch the net and drop over for a more difficult shot. In most cases when the ball actually did touch the net, the serve remained totally (if not easier) easy to hit.
So one could argue: why should balls that tick the net on the serve be replayed, while the same action during a point is not?
What Are the Rules?
If you do play let serves, can your doubles partner come across and take the net dribbler? And what happens if, by reflex, you or your partner call out “Let” and still return the serve? I asked USTA official, Allan Thompson…
“The USTA does have a Rule 15 Order of receiving in doubles whereby the team which is due to receive in the first game of a set shall decide which player shall receive the first point of the game. So, if the serve is a ‘let’ then the player designated to receive must be the one to play the ball. This is how it works in Div 1 College tennis.
“What happens if someone forgets and calls a ‘let’…. I would see this as a clear case of the ‘let’ not being allowed and if otherwise the serve was good and winning the point, the point would go to the serving pair. Otherwise, a receiving pair could use this as a ploy to replay an otherwise winning point. A little like finding some way to call a ‘let’ before the opposition blast an easy overhead!
“The removal of the let serve in College Div 1 causes no problems and players accept it as part of the game. In fact, there are few instances of served balls touching the net before landing in the service box and becoming a winning shot.
“The reason for introducing it, was to avoid the situation where a receiver would call a ‘let’ on a serve which had otherwise been an ‘ace’.
“A change of rule would certainly help some of us older folk who have trouble hearing!”
So, what do YOU think: stick with the Let serves or play them?
P.S. I will give a copy of my book to the first person who can correctly answer (without doing a Google search): exactly who was Fingers Fortescue?
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