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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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What if my opponent hits my racquet?
by The TennisDentist

Q: Strange but true. In a doubles match my partner hit a terrific back spinning shot close to the net. My opponent reached over to stike the ball on our side, quite within the rules! I being in close proximity attempted to volley the ball immediately off his strings. I missed the ball & his follow-through struck my racquet. My partner returned the squirly shot for a winner between our opponents. Our opponent demanded the crucial tiebreaker point calling "hinder" (a racquetball term)on me for impeding his follow-through. What do you think?

A: Well in this case your opponent is right. Allow me to explaine for you. Rule 21 of the Rules of Tennis states that a player who commits any act that hinders (yes we do use that word in tennis as well) his opponent in making a stroke if deliberate shall lose the point or if involuntary the point shall be replayed. Now as you discribe, your teams shot had enough backspin on it to allow it to return to your teams side of the net after bouncing on the opponents side of the net. The opponent reached over the net to play the ball (which is allowed) than came into contact with your racquet. We now must define a deliberate or involuntary act of hindrance. USTA Comment 21.1 does this for us by stateing a Deliberate act is one that means a player did what the player intended to do even if the result (the racquets hitting each other)was unintended. Your statement that you were in close proximity to the opponent and attemped to make a volley off the opponents shot makes your attemp a deliberate act and the resulting contact was cause for your team to lose the point. Good question I hope that you gave you opponents the point and that your team still won the match. Brian
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