Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most common questions we get from players regarding unique situations and how to handle them.
Is coaching allowed during a match?
In professional and competitive tennis outside of high school and collegiate sports, coaching is not allowed.
However, during team events, the on-court captain may coach during changeovers except after the first or during a tiebreak.
In high school and collegiate tennis in the US, coaching is allowed as long as it doesn’t interfere with play.
Update: during the remainder of the 2020 season, the WTA Tour will allow coaching from the stands as a pilot test.
Can you touch the net?
A player loses the point if anything they’re wearing or holding touches the net during a point.
Can players take a bathroom or toilet break during a match?
Although the rules do not permit bathroom breaks in their own right, players are allowed to use the bathroom during the two-minute break at the end of a set.
What happens if a player’s strings break during a point?
If a player’s strings break during a point, then play continues until the conclusion of the point at which time they are allowed to replace their racquet.
What happens if a player’s hat falls off during a point?
If a player’s hat falls off during a point, it’s an unintentional hindrance, and the opponents can call a let, at which time players should replay the point. It’s important to note that if it’s your hat, then you can’t call a let.
If your opponent doesn’t call a let for hindrance, then play continues, but the hat now becomes fair play, so if the hat falls out of bounds and your opponent hits your hat, they win the point.
Can I hit my opponent with a shot?
Ideally, both players will avoid hitting their opponent at all costs – it’s good etiquette. However, there are no rules in place saying that one player can’t hit another, and it’s perfectly valid to hit toward the body of your opponent, who then must adjust their positioning to defend.
If your shot hits your opponent, you win the point whether they are standing in bounds or out of bounds. However, speaking of proper etiquette, if you hit your opponent at proximity, you should issue an apology.
How do medical timeouts work?
In professional tennis, one medical timeout is allowed per distinct treatable condition and is limited to three minutes or 90 seconds during changeovers or at the end of a set. For example, heat illness is one condition, while blister treatment on a hand would be considered another.
In lower levels of competition, medical timeouts may be granted immediately after a request.
What happens if I drop my racquet during a point?
If you drop your tennis racquet during a point, then play would continue unless your opponent calls a let as an unintentional hindrance. If your opponent does call a let, you should replay the point.
It’s important to note that if you drop your racquet, you may not call a let. As a side note, if the ball touches the racquet while you’re not holding it, then you would lose the point.
Is the net post considered fair play?
Most courts feature net posts that are positioned three feet outside oft he doubles sideline.
When playing singles in this scenario, the net posts and any area of the net outside the singles sidelines is a permanent fixture and, therefore, not fair play if the ball bounces off these and then subsequently lands in the court. However, in doubles, both are fair play.
If singles sticks are in use and the ball hits the singles stick and lands in play, then it is considered fair play.
When are new balls allowed in a match?
In professional tennis, new balls are issued after the first seven games and then subsequently after every nine games. They are switched initially after the first seven games because of their use during warmup.
In most other competitive tennis matches, new balls are issued during the third set if the tournament organizer provides them.
Does the ball have to bounce before hitting it?
The only time the ball needs to bounce before hitting it is when the receiver returns their opponent’s serve. After the return, players do not need to let the ball bounce before hitting it.
What happens if a ball falls out of my pocket?
If a ball falls out of a player’s pocket during a point, their opponent can call a let as an unintentional hindrance, which requires players to replay the point. It’s important to note if it’s your pocket, you may not call a let.
What happens if I hit a ball on the court during a point?
If a player does not clear a ball from the court that is inbounds, and their opponent hits that ball during the point, then they win the point.
What happens if the ball hits the scorecards?
Scorecards are considered permanent fixtures. Therefore, if your ball hits the scorecards, you automatically lose the point even if the ball lands in the correct court afterward.
Scorecards that sit on top of the net should lie outside the singles sideline during singles play. In doubles, they should not sit on the net.
What are the rules for vibration dampeners?
Players can install vibration dampeners outside the cross-section of strings on a tennis racquet.
If a vibration dampener falls off during a point and hinders play, a player can call a let as an unintentional, and replay the point.