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Ask Aunt Sally – Line Judges, Forfeiting and Touching the Net

Allegheny Mountain District President Hank Hughes and Caroline

Aunt SallyQuestion: In your answer to the question about reaching over the net, you said they have to call it on themselves. Have you ever known anyone to realize that they actually reached over the net? If they knew they were doing that and knew the rules, they wouldn’t have done it in the 1st place. The same goes for touching the net. When I called someone on that, they said they didn’t touch the net until after they hit the ball. That’s the whole point, if you run into the net, even after you hit the ball, you still lose the point since the ball is still in play. I told them only if it has bounced 2x meaning the ball is dead but that they had to call it themselves. What is our recourse if they don’t know the rules and won’t call things on themselves?

Answer: I think people often know that they touched the net and it doesn’t matter if it is on the follow through.  They still lost the point.  I have known people who don’t admit that they reached over the net and some that don’t think they did.  It is true that they do not always know that they did.  The principle is that the player calls it on himself or herself.  It is their call and therefore I do not think you have recourse.  If players don’t know the rule, you could carry the rulebook and show it to them.

Question: What is the difference between a team retiring or forfeiting? How are either of these scored?

Answer: A “forfeit” means that the players do not come to play the match.  A “retirement” means that a match is underway and a player is unable to continue the match for whatever reason (time, injury, etc.)  These days we usually call a “forfeit” a default.  In the scorecard, you do not enter a score.  You choose “default” as the match status and 6-0, 6-0 is automatically entered.  In a retirement you enter the scores exactly as they occurred (for example, 6-3, 2-4) and choose “retired” as the match status.  In both cases you choose the correct radio button for who won the match.

Question: When a line judge is called into a USTA match, where exactly are they suppose to stand and what happens if both line judges disagree on the call?

Answer: The job of a “line judge” in an unofficiated match is to try to calm the on-court situation.  One person from each team can go on court in situations such as this and they should stand together near the net post.  They cannot really call lines from this position. If you think of a line judge in a professional match there are about nine of them on court and their job is call a specific line.  It would be impossible for two people to call all of the lines.

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