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Good Question March/April 2024


Choice Of Ends & Service
When are players supposed to spin/toss for choice of ends and service?

Seth Appelbaum, Senior Leagues Vice President
What most of us do and what we are supposed to be doing are two different things when it comes to this question. According to USTA Friend at Court 2023, “ITF Rules of Tennis” Page 8 Choice of Ends & Service: “The choice of ends and the choice to be server or receiver in the first game shall be decided by the toss or spin before the warm-up starts. The player/team who wins the toss or spin may choose:

  1. To be server or receiver in the first game of the match, in which case the opponents shall choose the end of the court for the first game of the match; or
  2. The end of the court for the first game of the match, in which case the opponents shall choose to be server or receiver for the first game of the match; or
  3. To require the opponents to make one of the above choices.”

Friend At Court
Everyone keeps referring to rules in USTA “Friend at Court.” I’ve got my ALTA rules and I don’t play USTA. Why do I need to know anything about “Friend at Court”?

Rita Maloof, First Vice President
ALTA rules govern our match play. When situations arise that are not specifically covered by these rules, USTA rules govern play. USTA “Friend at Court” is the book of rules and regulations under which tennis is played in the United States. “Friend at Court,” which contains “ITF Rules of Tennis” and “The Code,” as a handbook of ethics and fair play should be understood and followed by every ALTA player. “Friend at Court,” should also be available for consultation along with league rules at all dual meets. You can download a copy of the most recent publication of “Friend at Court” on the ALTA website by logging into Member Portal > My Resources> ALTA Documents> USTA Publications.

Let’s Play A Let?
During a recent doubles match, we were having a long rally and my partner made a great placement shot. Our opponent says: “I’m not sure if it was good or out. Let’s play a let.” Are they allowed to make that call?

Wendy Fee, Junior Leagues Vice President
A player may not claim a let because they did not see the ball clearly.  Based on USTA Friend at Court 2023, “The Code” pages 38 and 39, 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.

Non-Player Designee
Can I have a “designee” that is not on my roster?

Loretta Phillips, Sunday Women’s League Vice President
Yes, as noted in the ALTA Adult Tennis Member Handbook, page 13, 5: a designee can be any ALTA member. The designee does not have to be on your roster and can be removed as a designee at which time they are no longer needed. In many instances, you will see team coaches assigned as a designee so they can assist with lineup planning and review match results.



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