These days I mostly play competitive tennis, so my opponents usually have sufficient understandings of the rules and we do not get into disputes. However, debates and disputes sometimes occur in recreational play, which could be annoying. So in a series of posts, let me talk about some rules that could be overlooked by recreational players. The official rules can be found in the “Friend at Court” here.
If you think your opponent hit the ball after it bounced twice, can you call “Double bounce!”? This is covered in ITF Code 19:
19. Touches, hitting ball before it crosses net, invasion of opponent’s court, double hits, and double bounces. A player must concede the point when:
- A ball in play touches that player;
- That player or that player’s racket touches the net or opponent’s court while a ball is in play;
- That player hits a ball before it crosses the net;
- That player deliberately carries or double hits a ball; or
- A ball bounces more than once in that player’s court. The opponent is not entitled to make these calls. The principle of giving the opponent the benefit of any doubt applies.
This means even if you think your opponent hit the ball after two bounces, you can’t say anything until the point is over (otherwise you have talked during the point, which is a hindrance). So what to do is pretty simple: even if you think it’s a double bounce, just keep playing until the ball is out of play; then argue with your opponent. If the double bounce is not obvious, then the ball is good. If the double bounce is obvious but your opponent denies it, cross out the opponent from your tennis friends list.