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Tennis Rules: When To Call A Let, Or Simply Let It Go

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Tennis Rules: When To Call A Let, Or Simply Let It Go

This past weekend, I hung out with some of my tennis pals, and we got into a discussion about something that happened to one of them during a doubles league match last week.

One of their opponents mis-hit an overhead off her racquet frame, resulting in a loopy floater that was obviously headed out. She knew it, too, and cussed out loud, but that wasn’t the issue. Since they were playing on a court adjacent to another line’s match, my friend moved out wide so she could stop the ball from going into the next court. Before the ball even bounced, a ball from the neighboring court rolled into their net on my friend’s side. The opponents immediately called a let and demanded to replay the point, however, my friends felt that no let should be given. After all, the ball was hit before the ball came onto the court, and it landed nearly 3 feet out!

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So… who is right?

This one is covered in the 2019 Friend At Court Handbook of Rules and Regulations:

Rule #18: Let called when ball rolls on court.

When a ball from another court enters the playing area, any player on the court affected may call a let as soon as the player becomes aware of the ball. The player loses the right to call a let if the player unreasonably delays in making the call.

Sooooooooo… Even though the opponent who hit the ball verbally recognized her error before before the other ball rolled into the net, she and her partner were still entitled to a let and to replay the point (two serves), which they did.

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I know the rules apply to everyone, even those in the “Friend At Court” handbook, but that one applies to all or nothing. It was clearly a crappy shot, and the ball that rolled into the net didn’t hinder anyone. Had I been the opponent, I would have just let it go and move on to the next point.

But that’s just me… what do you think? Does that rule need to be more specific, or removed, or is it fine the way it is? Inquiring minds wanna know, so tell us in the comments below :-)

4.5 USTA rated/open champion level tennis player, vegan, fitness freak, animal lover, and smart ass who firmly believes that champagne is anathema for all ills. Right now I'm either up to my eyeballs in paint swatches and fabric samples, or kicking some butt on a tennis court (hopefully the latter).



  1. Elaine Kenzie

    September 23, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    The key word in the rule is ‘may’ . The sporting thing to do here is for the player who mishit the blooper to give up the point. Goodsportswomanship , plain & simple.

    • Jen Campbell

      September 23, 2019 at 3:57 pm

      YAAAAASSS! My thoughts exactly! Thanks, Elaine! ?

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