Court of Appeals: Tale of the Tape
My opponent’s second serve went underneath the tape and through a small hole in the net, bouncing in the service box. I didn’t attempt a return because the ball didn’t clear the net. My opponent admitted the ball went under the tape and through the net, but she wanted the point anyway. I gave her the point in order avoid an argument. Was my opponent justified?—Mary McMillan, Baton Rouge, LA
Justifiably not. Not only is a ball that passes under the net strap a fault (Rule 17, “the serve shall pass over the net”), but as the receiver it’s your call and yours alone under The Code, Item 20: “A player makes the ruling on a ball that the player’s opponent hits through the net.”
Except where noted, answers are based on the ITF Rules of Tennis and USTA's The Code.