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Court of Appeals: Water Break
Tennis Magazine’s resident rulebook expert Rebel Good is here to resolve all your rules questions and quarrels.
Published May 20, 2023
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The tennis summer swing is in full force across all surfaces, and with the return to hard courts comes more debates over lines and serves, questionable calls, and the perennial query: What does The Code say?
Court of Appeals is here to clear the air. Rebel Good, a past editor of Friend at Court, the USTA’s handbook of rules and regulations, has taught officiating for more than 30 years and will resolve all your rules questions and quarrels.
During a USTA match my opponent said she needed to get water after the first set and was gone for about 15 minutes. According to the rules, she has two minutes. How should I have handled this?
—Lisa Allgood, Tucson, Ariz.
If this was a sanctioned USTA match (i.e., a tournament) there should have been a referee or other official on site. When it became apparent to you your opponent was taking too much time (Rule 29.a.) you should have alerted the official. Then they could start their stopwatch and subsequently penalize your opponent for lateness. You are not authorized to impose a lateness penalty on your opponent.
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