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Court of Appeals: Lights Out

Sunday, December 16, 2012 /by

I was just about to put away my opponent’s weak return when the lights went out on our indoor court. The lights on the adjacent courts stayed on, so we could still easily see, and my shot was a clear winner. My opponent insisted we play a let. I didn’t think this was very sporting. What do you think?—John Nogalski, Leawood, KS

A sudden decrease in indoor lighting would be cause for a let under Rule 26 that provides “the point shall be replayed if a player is hindered in playing the point by . . . something outside the player’s own control (not including a permanent fixture).” You may not have been hindered by the power outage, but your opponent can make a valid claim. Admit it, you’d have wanted a let had you missed your shot, even though by then you wouldn’t have been entitled to one because you didn’t stop play, as required by The Code, Item 33.

Except where noted, answers are based on the ITF Rules of Tennis and USTA's The Code.

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