Court of Appeals: You Can Touch This

by: Rebel Good | February 26, 2013

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Our courts have devices attached to the net posts that use old tennis balls to keep score. My doubles partner's shot was going out, but hit the scoring tower and deflected in. Was it in or out? In a different doubles match, I ran in for a drop shot and got the ball back, but my momentum caused me to hit the scoring tower. I didn’t touch the net or the net post. Should we lose the point since my hand touched the tower before the point was over?—Howard Cohen, Syosset, NY

One at a time. First, under USTA Comment 13.2, when a ball in play “hits an object that is attached to the net or post (such as a scoring device),” the “player who hit the ball loses the point because it hit a permanent fixture.” On the second, there’s no rule that prohibits you from touching a permanent fixture during play, only the net, net posts, singles sticks, net strap and your opponents’ court (Rule 24.g). So the first point you lost, but the second one, you won.

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

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