Stump The Ump

//Stump The Ump
Stump The Ump2019-10-25T15:57:22+00:00

Can you call a let for a sneeze? Can you ask your opponent to remove their bright neon yellow jacket because it’s distracting?

Now is your chance to ask all those burning league questions.  We’ll get you the answers, or will your question be the one to Stump The Ump?

You’ve read his Court of Appeals column in Tennis magazine, and now Rebel Good is coming to WWTA! Rebel Good has officiated tennis for close to 30 years. and has worked at more than 20 US Open events, two Olympics and numerous Davis Cup and Fed Cup events.  Can you stump Rebel with your question?  

Submit Your Question

Who Can Make The Call

Our opponents hit a ball that appeared to be out but we both couldn’t call it with certainty. We asked our opponents if they saw the ball in or out since it was on the sideline where one of their player had a direct sightline to the ball. She said it was out so we claimed the point. She said that since we weren’t sure, we had to call it good. We didn’t argue and agreed to call it good, but felt that we should be able to go with her call. Who was right?

Under The Code, #11, you can ask your opponent for their opinion, and then their call stands. Also, under The Code, #13, a player is obligated to call their own shot out (except a first serve) if they clearly see it out.

Doubles Service Order Error

If doubles pairing accidentally switch receiving sides, they do not correct until next game receiving per a recent Stump the Ump question (must complete current receive game as is and can correct next receive game).   So what about accidentally messing up service order? Does the server complete serving current game and partner now serves next service game?  Or do they correct right when they realize the mistake?  If they complete the game serving out of order, do they serve twice to correct or just once?

An error in the service order is corrected immediately, provided the game has not been completed “out of turn.” If the game has been completed, the order of service continues “as altered” (Rule 27.c.).

Serve Ready

During a singles match, I called the score and proceeded to serve.  My opponent returned the ball into the net, then claimed that she hadn’t been ready for the serve. I honestly didn’t pay attention to what she was doing when I began my service motion, but shouldn’t she have called out that she wasn’t ready when I called the score and bounced the ball?

When your opponent returned the ball into the net she gave up the right to claim she was unready. However, before you start your service motion you should look at the receiver and make sure they are ready.  

Falling Objects

During play, one my opponents had a ball fall out of his pocket onto the court.  Does he immediately lose the point, or do you just play on as normal?

How about neither? If there is no official watching the court when this happens, you can call a let and replay the point if a ball falls out of your opponent’s pocket. Or you can choose to play on. Your opponent cannot call a let because you can’t “hinder yourself.”  Note:  If the offender drops a ball a second time, it is loss of point.

Bounce Away

Not long ago I was playing a doubles match where one of our opponents bounced her ball at minimum 30 times before she served every serve. It took a great deal of time. Is there a time limit to serve?

The time between points is 25 seconds. A second serve is supposed to be delivered “without delay.” That said, without an official present this is next to impossible to enforce. Try speaking with your opponent about her delay of play. Ask her if she could limit her bounces to, say, 15.

Look But Don’t Touch?

During a doubles’ match, the player scrambled forward to get to a drop shot. She was able to hit a hard crosscourt forehand winner well out of either players’ reach. However, she ran into the net. She claimed that the point was over before she touched the net. While I agree that the opposing team could not have gotten to the ball, I contend that the point isn’t officially over until the ball bounces a second time. What’s the rule?

The point isn’t over until it bounces the second time (Rule 24.b), but the player who touched the net makes the call on whether that happened before or after the second bounce (The Code, #19).

Let Me Bee

If, during a point, an insect interferes (bee/wasp is buzzing near me or a mosquito bites me or an insect lands upon me), may I stop play by calling “let,” claiming a hindrance?
Sure, you can try that. But if I were the opponent I wouldn’t grant you a replay without evidence. Frankly, an insect buzzing nearby or a mosquito landing/biting shouldn’t rise to the level of a hindrance. Play on.

Finish What You Started

If you start a match on a particular surface, say hard court and the match is delayed for rain to another day, does it matter if it is finished  on a different  surface?

If at all possible, it should be finished on the same surface.

Keep Your Ears Open

I was playing a doubles match and serving to a player who grunted a lot when they returned the serve. There were several serves that looked like they may be out, and receiver grunted and returned. Both my partner and I thought he was saying “no” or “out” so we stopped play. The receiver stated it was a grunt, not an out call, and the serve was good. But we had stopped play so we gave them the point. This kept happening on every close serve throughout the match and was very distracting and we gave away a lot of points. Is there a rule concerning a player who sounds like they’re calling things out when they grunt?

This is going to take some diplomacy. You should probably play a let the first time this happens and have a discussion with the opponent. Ask them to give an example of their out call and how it differs from their grunt. Then you’ll know which is which.

Instant Replay?

In doubles during a long rally a player is running back to their baseline to get to a lob. A stray ball from another court rolls onto the court near the feet of the player. The player’s partner calls “let” just before the lobbed shot drops a foot long. Since a “let” was called, would play be stopped immediately and the point replayed? Or, should the team that lobbed long concede the point, since the point was certain to have been lost by them?

The opponents could concede the point, but are under no obligation to do so.The “let” call stopped play. Note that had the opponents called the let they would have lost the point because their shot eventually landed out.

Practice Makes Perfect?

Between sets are you allowed to practice? For example, can you work on your serve? We were playing a match and during a changeover our opponent began practicing her serve. This was a doubles match and one player went to use the restroom and the other practiced her serve.

Players may practice while their opponents go to the restroom, but they may not use the match balls.

Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right? (Part 2)

In the 4th game of a set, my partner and inadvertently switched receiving sides and we realized this after the first point of the game. Do we make the correction for the next serve (meaning one player will receive two in a row) or do we finish the game that way. We know that the point stands but when and how do we correct?

Wait until the start of the next game you are receiving before correcting (Rule 27.e.)

Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right?

In a Combo match after six points had been played in a set tiebreak my partner realized we weren’t on the correct sides — she was receiving in the ad court and me the deuce. We identified our error and switched back, but the opposing team said we couldn’t, that we had to play the rest of the tiebreak in our “wrong” positions. Otherwise, they said, we would have an unfair advantage because the ‘stronger player’ would now be returning serve twice in a row. We know “all points played in good faith stand,” but should we have switched back or stayed put?

Under Rule 27.3., once you played a point when you were lined up wrong, your team must continue receiving in the “wrong” court until the end of the tiebreak. When you start the next set you can receive in any order.