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Good Question January/February 2017

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THE MATCH MUST GO ON … ON TIME
During our past season a team contacted our captain to request we play a couple of lines early. We accommodated the team and played lines 1 and 2 earlier in the season. The day before our regularly scheduled match, the opposing captain contacted our team to request that we begin the match at 10:30 a.m. It seems her lines 3 and 4 could not arrive by the regularly scheduled time of 9:30 a.m. These players were normally scheduled to start in the second timeslot and had made no arrangements to start earlier. Since we were only playing three lines, would it have been OK to start our match at 10:30?

Kim Davies, 2016 Thursday Women’s League Vice President
First let me say thank you for trying to accommodate a team that could not field all five lines on the regularly scheduled date. The answer to your question is no. Regardless of how many lines are playing on match day, the regularly scheduled time of your match was 9:30 a.m. Thursday. Any lines not played early are scheduled for this time.

You will find this definition in the glossary of our General Rules Adult Leagues: “SCHEDULED MATCH – Date published on the ALTA Team Season Schedule.”

Section IV.E of the same document outlines the consequences if a team does not have players courtside by the default time: E. The 20-minute default rule as defined in the glossary is in effect for all scheduled matches. A defaulted match is scored as one point for the opposing team.”

So, you can see if your opponents were to show up at 10:30 a.m. they would clearly be in default and would lose lines 3-5. It is always a good idea for captains to check with their players before making changes in their lineup just to be sure they have all the information they need from their players.

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JUST TELL ME WHERE TO GO
After a tiebreak, do you change ends from the side you started or from the side you are on when the tiebreak ends? I’ve always played that you change sides from where you ended, but in a recent match I was told that you change sides from where you started. I’ve looked in ITF Rules of Tennis, The Code and Friend at Court 2014 and couldn’t find a direct answer. Could you clarify the answer for me and provide the citation?

Joyce Vance, First Vice President
The answer to this question can be found in USTA Friend at Court 2016, No. 5b (Comment 5.3): When do the players change ends during a tiebreaker? Players change ends after six points and at the end of the tiebreak.

Therefore, the answer to your question is you change from the side of the court you are positioned on at the end of the tiebreaker.

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IT’S IN PLAY UNTIL IT’S NOT
My partner and I were playing a doubles match. Our opponents had just returned an air ball that was very clearly going out. We were playing adjacent to another match, so I moved outside the court to be able to grab the ball once it bounced and prevent it from going into the next court. As I was standing there, a ball rolled onto our court on our side. Our opponents called a let and wanted to replay the point even though everyone agreed their ball was clearly going out and, in fact, did. They stated since I was standing there to catch the ball it was possible I could have hit it before it bounced. We argued that since everyone acknowledged she had hit the ball way out before the let and was in no way hindered when she hit the shot, the point was already over before they called the let. Who is right?

Terry Godbold, Men’s League Vice President
According to ITF Rules of Tennis 11. Ball in Play: Unless a fault or a let is called, the ball is in play from the moment the server hits the ball, and remains in play until the point is decided. The answer to the second part of your question can be found in Friend at Court 2016, The Code, No. 18. The opponents were entitled to call a let due to a ball approaching from the adjacent court. Replay the point (first service) unless the opponents choose to yield the point.