So here's the set-up:
- My partner serves.
- Our opponent returns.
- My partner hits the ball back.
- Our opponent, running in to the net, again hits the ball to my partner.
- She again returns but says, at the same time, “That was a double bounce. The ball double bounced.”
- The opponent again hits the ball, this time hitting it out. Now she says, “It wasn't a double bounce and that's my call to make anyway. I make that call. But we lost the point anyway.”
- My partner then says, “No, no. You're right. It's your call. Let's play the point over.”
So now we're all standing around trying to figure out what just happened. Or maybe it was just me that was trying to figure out what just happened.
Well, as I always say, let's look at the rules! Official Rule of Tennis 24b states that a player loses the point if “The player does not return the ball in play before it bounces twice consecutively . . . .” So, in our match, if the ball bounced twice before my opponent returned it, we won that point.
But who makes the call? The Code says, in Paragraph 5, that “A player calls all shots landing on, or aimed at, the player's side of the net.” And in this double bounce situtation, The Code makes very clear, in Paragraph 20, that, “A player shall promptly acknowledge if . . . The ball bounces more than once in the player's court.” So it was, in fact, our opponent's call and, when she said it didn't double bounce, we had to accept that.
Got it? You lose the point if it double bounces before you return it. But the double bounce call is yours to make.
Now here's the little twist where I think we actually could have claimed that point as our own. The Code says, in Paragraph 33, that “A player shall not talk while the ball is moving toward the opponent's side of the court. If the player's talking interferes with an opponent's ability to play the ball, the player loses the point.” So our opponent might have claimed that my partner's talking during the point (“That was a double bounce. The ball double bounced.”) hindered her ability to play the point and therefore we would have lost the point. In fact, that's what I thought was going to happen. But she didn't. She continued playing and hit the ball out, making the whole double bounce thing moot! She was actually right when she said, “But we lost the point anyway.”
However, my partner is very, very nice and I know she felt bad for talking during the point so I don't blame her for offering to replay the point. I wasn't going to argue about that with my partner. And we ended up winning the point anyway. I love playing with my partner!
© Kim Selzman 2009
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