Last week we looked at what happens if your racket touches the ball twice and found out how losing grip of your racket could cost you points. But what if, you asked, your racket touches or crosses the net? Part two of our strings-attached guide looks for the answers!
Look, don't touch
Generally speaking the racket can make contact with only two things, the ball and you. Hit the net or the net post before the ball has hit the court and you lose the point. Typically, this is a problem when you are rushing to the net and find it hard to stop, but any volley can land you trouble if your racket clips the net, so it is definitely worth practising that tip-toe balancing act while you wait for the ball to land safely.
All that said, there are exceptions. Your racket (and you) can come into contact with structures you might consider part of the court but which lie outside the playing area. This includes the umpire's chair or perhaps more likely in a league match, the tennis fencing.
Crossing the net
Can your racket cross the net? The perhaps suprising answer is yes, so long as the ball is hit on your side of the net and your racket doesn't touch the net. So, you can allow your racket swing to continue over the net. There is even one scenario where your racket may hit the ball on the other side of the net...
If the ball bounces on your side of the net first but then bounces back over the net (possible because of heavy slice) your racket can cross the net and make contact with the ball on the other side. Indeed, if you didn't in this circumstances, it would be your opponent's point!
Nothing will come of nothing
As we have seen, you can't just touch anything with your racket, but hitting nothing can land you in trouble too. If you air-hit your serve, that is you complete your service motion but don't make contact with the ball, it is a fault. If it is your second serve you lose the point. However, a server may catch a ball before making her swing or let it fall to the ground and not incur a penalty.
Racket on racket action
If, in doubles, you and your partner both go for the ball and your rackets clash you need worry only for the paint job. So long as only one racket touches the ball, and makes the shot, there is no penalty
See here the first part of "You've been framed"
Put what you have learned into practice by playing matches! To find your nearest league, click here.