Rule of the Month: December 2013

On September 1, 2013, rule changes went into effect. One change has become controversial, and warranted further explanation.

Unintentional “carries” during the rally are allowed and are no longer called.

This has brought up a question in definition between a “carry” and a “double hit” ball. The following two rules define each.

  • Rule 3.10 – Out Serves
    (e) Illegal Hit – An illegal hit includes contacting the ball twice, intentionally carrying the ball, or hitting the ball with the handle of the racquet or part of the body or uniform.
  • Rule 3.13 (Rallies)
    (b) One Touch – The player or team trying to return the ball may touch or strike the ball only once or else the rally is lost. The ball may not be intentionally carried. (A carried ball — one that rests on the racquet slightly longer than a true “hit” — is allowed if not done intentionally.)

If the ball :

  • rolls across the strings of the racquet,
  • is contacted oddly, so it is at the edge of the racquet frame,
  • gets flung as opposed to cleanly hit,
  • and none of these is done intentionally,

it is considered a “carried” ball, and no call should be made, the play should continue.

If the ball:

  • is contacted in a way that the ball comes in contact with the racquet for more than one continuous impact,
  • is contacted by one doubles team member, and then contacted by the partner,

would be a “double hit” which would be illegal, and should be called.

When an individual player is involved, going by sound and telling the difference between the two types of hit is the hard part of the call. It is generally only known by the player committing the infraction, and relies on the honesty of players. The double hit is often lumped into the category of the carry, or determined to be too hard to tell the difference, and is seldom called.