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Brian Dimsho
Brian Dimsho is a USTA certified official and the resident official of the Orange County Grand Prix.

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Re-Warm-Ups & Distractions
by Pat

Q: A couple of odd things happened during our 2nd round, 3.5 women's doubles match last weekend at the Masters in Palm Springs. At the end of the first set which my partner and I had won 6-1, my partner left the court to refill her water bottle. Immediately, our opponents rose from their seats and began volleying balls back and forth. My partner wasn't gone for more than 2 minutes. Also, at a point in the 3rd set we were receiving serve, and our opponent at the net began making fake hitting gestures as her partner served the ball and my partner was about the return it. Are both of these actions in violation of the rules? I know they are and I'm sure our opponents know they are; but they were obviously attempting to gain an advantage at crucial times during our match. They won in three sets through undoubtedly violating the rules and poor sportsmanship, both known and unknown.

A: Pat I'll answer the questions in the order that you asked. First players can practice during an extended break in play that you discribed but not with the match balls. The way you discribe the "fake hitting gestures" during serve could be deemed as a "Deliberate Hindrance" causing a loss of point to the receiving team if this action was involuntary (trying to brush a bee or wasp away a "Let" could be issued. See Rule 21 of the Rules of Teenis in a copy of USTA Friend At Court. Brian
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