Part 2 – The Code: Making Calls

page 46 of 2011 Friend at Court
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5. Player makes calls on own side of net. A player calls all shots landing on, or aimed at, the player’s side of the net.
6. Opponent gets benefit of doubt. When a match is played without officials, the  players are responsible for making decisions, particularly for line calls. There is a  subtle difference between player decisions and those of an on-court official. An official impartially resolves a problem involving a call, whereas a player is guided by the unwritten rule that any doubt must be resolved in favor of an opponent. A player in attempting to be scrupulously honest on line calls frequently will keep a ball in play that might have been out or that the player discovers too late was out. Even so, the game is much better played this way.
7. Ball touching any part of line is good. If any part of a ball touches a line, the ball is good. A ball 99% out is still 100% good. A player shall not call a ball out unless the player clearly sees space between where the ball hits and a line.
8. Ball that cannot be called out is good. Any ball that cannot be called out is considered to be good. A player may not claim a let on the basis of not seeing a ball. One of tennis’ most infuriating moments occurs after a long hard rally when a player makes a clean placement and an opponent says: “I’m not sure if it was good or out. Let’s play a let.” Remember, it is each player’s responsibility to call all balls landing on, or aimed at, the player’s side of the net. If a ball cannot be called out with certainty, it is good. When a player says an opponent’s shot was really out but offers to replay the point to give the opponent a break, it seems clear that the player actually doubted that the ball was out.
9. Either partner may make calls in doubles. Although either doubles partner may make a call, the call of a player looking down a line is much more likely to be accurate than that of a player looking across a line.
10. All points are treated the same regardless of their importance. All points in a match should be treated the same. There is no justification for considering a match point differently from a first point.
11. Requesting opponent’s help. When an opponent’s opinion is requested and the opponent gives a positive opinion, it must be accepted. If neither player has an opinion, the ball is considered good. Aid from an opponent is available only on a call that ends a point.
12. Out calls reversed. A player who calls a ball out shall reverse the call if the player becomes uncertain or realizes that the ball was good. The point goes to the opponent and is not replayed. However, when a receiver reverses a fault call on a serve that hit the net, the server is entitled to two serves.
13. Player calls own shots out. With the exception of the first serve, a player should call out the player’s own shots if the player clearly sees the ball out regardless of whether requested to do so by an opponent. The prime objective in making calls is accuracy. All players should cooperate to attain this objective.
14. Partners’ disagreement on calls. If one partner calls the ball out and the other partner sees the ball good, they shall call it good. It is more important to give opponents the benefit of the doubt than to avoid possibly hurting a partner’s feelings. The tactful way to achieve the desired result is to tell a partner quietly of the mistake and then let the partner concede the point. If a call is changed from out to good, the principles of Code § 12 apply.
15. Audible or visible calls. No matter how obvious it is to a player that an opponent’s ball is out, the opponent is entitled to a prompt audible or visible out call.
16. Spectators never make calls. A player shall not enlist the aid of a spectator in making a call. No spectator has a part in a match.
17. Prompt calls eliminate two chance option. A player shall make all calls promptly after a ball has hit the court. A call shall be made either before the player’s return shot has gone out of play or before an opponent has had an opportunity to play the return shot. Prompt calls will quickly eliminate the “two chances to win the point” option that some players practice. To illustrate, a player is advancing to the net for an easy put away and sees a ball from an adjoining court rolling toward the court. The player continues to advance and hits the shot, only to have the supposed easy put away fly over the baseline. The player then claims a let. The claim is not valid because the player forfeited the right to call a let by choosing instead to play the ball. The player took a chance to win or lose and is not entitled to a second chance.
18. Let called when ball rolls on court. When a ball from an adjacent court enters the playing area, any player on the court affected may call a let as soon as the player becomes aware of the ball. The player loses the right to call a let if the player unreasonably delays in making the call.
19. Touches, hitting ball before it crosses net, invasion of opponent’s court, double hits, and double bounces. A player shall promptly acknowledge when:
• A ball in play touches the player;
• The player touches the net or opponent’s court while a ball is in play;
• The player hits a ball before it crosses the net;
• The player deliberately carries or double hits a ball; or
• A ball bounces more than once in the player’s court.
The opponent is not entitled to make these calls.

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