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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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Broken string
by Mary Amen-Nehrlich

Q: If a player breaks a string while returning the serve...do you play a let? I ask this because it happened in our match yesterday and sometime in 2001, Patrick Rafter broke a string while returning a Sampras serve and they replayed the point. What does the USTA say about this? Thanks

A: Mary The Rules of tennis allow for a "Let" to be played if the server is delayed during the serve by an outside distraction. A broken string in the receiver's racket would cause a delay in the serve (receiver getting a new racket) so a first serve would be awarded to the server. This would only happen during the first serve and the ball was not but into play as the point would continue with the player playing the point out with a broken string. If the return was not good and the receiver's string broke than the delay caused by the receiver getting a new racket would cause a first serve to be awarded to the server. What most people don't know is that at the Pro level a player cannot start a point with a racket with a broken string so Rafter had to delay the server to get a new racket so the "Let" was awarded to the server. If this happened during the second serve the ball would have to have been a net cord that was in the correct service box with the receiver hitting the ball and the string breaking than causing the delay getting a new racket and the server being awarded a first serve. Hope that clears up what you saw. This is not the same case if the server breaks a string. Brian
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