Clinton-Laurens-Newberry Tennis Association

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They said something – can I claim the point?

March 24, 2018 06:36 PM

by Wilson Smith (The Roving Umpire)

The only time you should talk is when the ball is approaching your court. So after the ball leaves the opponents’ racket you can communicate with your partner, “yours”, “mine” “bounce it” (please don’t say “out” until the ball has bounced or they can claim you changed your call, if the ball lands in, and claim the point), etc.

So your opponent hits up a short lob and just before you hit the overhead he yells “back” or “short” to his partner. Was it a hindrance? That is up to you. If it hindered your play on the ball you may claim a hindrance. Then what? You win the point. It is not a let and replay the point. You don’t need to warn them. If their words hindered your play on the ball, then you may claim the point. But you must stop play as soon as possible or lose the right to claim hindrance.

Now you should be honest. If I just blew the overhead, I shouldn’t claim the point just because I can. But, if it influenced my shot, then yes I am entitled to claim the point (but it is not to be replayed). And you can’t wait to see if your shot lands in before you make the claim. It must be a “timely” call. From “A Friend at Court” (the rules of tennis):

If a player is hindered in playing the point by a deliberate act of the opponent(s), the player shall win the point.

From “The Code:
33. Claiming a hindrance. A player who claims a hindrance must stop play as soon as possible.
34. Talking when ball is in play.
• Singles players should not talk during points.
• Talking between doubles partners when the ball is moving toward them is allowed.
• Doubles players should not talk when the ball is moving toward their opponent’s court.
• When talking interferes with an opponent’s ability to play a ball, it is a hindrance.

For example, if a doubles player hits a weak lob and yells “get back” and the yell distracts an opponent who is about to hit the ball, then the opponent may claim the point based on a deliberate hindrance. If the opponent chooses to play the lob and misses it, the opponent loses the point because the opponent did not make a timely claim of hindrance.

For example, if a player yells after an injury or getting stung by a bee, this is an unintentional hindrance that would entitle the opponent to claim a let.

And just in case you think it was not a “deliberate act” since his intention wasn’t to hinder you:

From “USTA Officiating: Scenarios and Interpretations”:
1. What is the difference between a deliberate and an unintentional act? Deliberate means a player did what the player intended to do, even if the result was unintended. An example is a player who hits a short lob in doubles and loudly shouts “back” just before an opponent hits the overhead. (See The Code

§ 34.) Unintentional refers to an act over which a player has no control, such as a scream after a wasp sting. (Rule 26)

Play nice.