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The Final Word: Playing Doubles

January 25, 2013 11:38 AM
USTA Director of Officials Richard Kaufman answers your questions about playing doubles.
Have you ever had a dispute with a fellow player over a call on the court that you couldn’t settle? Or have you ever wondered why a certain ruling was made during a match you were watching? Maybe you’re just curious about how some scenarios, from the common to the ridiculous, are resolved.
USTA Director of Officials Richard Kaufman is here to answer your questions. He selects a few submissions at a time and supplies the definitive rulings through a Q&A.
Have a question of your own? Write to The Final Word!
Subject: Being hit by the ball 
Question from Josh: I was playing some friendly doubles a couple of days ago. I tried to lob our opponents during play and one of them went for the overhead smash. It was a wild shot that hit me in the torso, but I was clearly standing 5-6 feet behind the baseline. I am aware that a player hit by a ball in play loses the point, but I was still caught by surprise when our opponents claimed the point. Does a player still lose the point when hit by a wild mishit even while clearly positioned outside the court lines?
KAUFMAN: Yes, even though you were outside the lines of the court you must allow the ball to bounce to be "out." If the ball hits you before it bounces and you are standing anywhere on the court, even behind the baseline, you lose the point.

Subject: Calling a ball out
Question from Barry: Am I correct in saying that if (in doubles) a ball is called out by one partner and in by the other that you do not replay and the opposing team gets the point? And can a player opposite the net call a ball in or out?
KAUFMAN: Yes, if two partners disagree on a call, the opposing team wins the point. But a player across the net should not get too involved in making calls for their opponents. Sometimes an opponent will ask the opposing player(s), "Did you see it?" If the opponent(s) are asked because the player(s) making the call have no idea if the ball was in or out, then they must accept the opinion of the opponent. If they are not sure of a call, they should give them the point anyway.