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serving: racquet hits ground or floor

Published: 20 Jul 2007 - 11:02 by darcet

Updated: 24 Sep 2008 - 16:33

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Was playing a game with a buddy today and something came up that hasn't before:  during his service motion he smacked his racquet into the side wall before impacting the ball.  I'm more of an avid racquetball player than squash, so I stopped at this point because in the club I play this is a fault on the serve- but he moved on as if it was a fine serve.  I'd personally classify it along the lines of a balk/distraction because its not a smooth motion, but I'm wondering if anyone has ever heard an official ruling on such an incident as the rules on the website don't make mention of it explicitly.

So my question is:  is this a legal serve?

Thanks for the info guys!
-Dave

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From SamBWFC - 22 Jul 2007 - 02:01

I'm with iamspartacus on this one. I'm slightly confused, but if he does hit the wall with his racket before hitting the ball, surely that will take some momentum out of the swing and cause a poor, loose serve? I wouldn't complain about getting serves like that, then go for a straight winner because of it!

 

:D

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From rippa rit - 21 Jul 2007 - 08:05

I guess there is a first for everything and this is a strange serve (ball toss) which most servers would just let drop on the floor without attempting to hit it, apologies, and serve again.  Looking at the various rules and trying to apply them, it seems nothing is applicable( as Adz said play on and win the point and an appeal will not be necessary). Here are some rules that may be applicable, but it does not sound like it from the question of "hitting the side wall with the racket while serving", and there were no other infringements maybe?:
  • Hit correctly - the ball being hit by the racket, held in the hand, not more than once (double hit) nor with prolonged contact on the racket (carry or scoop).
  • Good serve - the server strikes the ball directly onto the front wall between the service and out lines. The server, after releasing the ball for service, strikes it correctly on the first or further attempt before the ball falls to the floor, touches a wall, or touches anything the server wears.
  • Distraction - accidental, the player may choose to play on and accept the distraction.  If the player stops and appeals for a let, the Referee allows a let provided a good return was possible; if the Referee decides that the player could have made a winning return, the Referee should award a stroke to the player.
  • Distraction - deliberate, eg shouting or stamping feet - The Referee should apply the provisions of the Conduct on Court Rule.  Logically, the Referee would award at least a conduct stroke if a winning return was prevented.
  • Appeals on Service: If the Referee is certain that the service was not good, the Referee must stop play immediately to award the stroke to the receiver.
  • If the Marker/Referee does not call, the Receiver may appeal, either immediately or at the end of the rally.  This means that if a Receiver, having lost the rally, appeals that the service was not good, the Referee has two options: (i) Rule that the service was good and allow the result of the rally to stand. (ii) Allow a let if uncertain.
So, from this, the decision is play on and hopefully win the point (even if the opponent hits the wall, falls over, loses his shoe, drops his racket, etc) and only bother about an appeal if you lose the point.  Even if you do win the appeal it will certainly be Play a Let anyway. 

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From nickhitter - 20 Jul 2007 - 21:54

I'm still trying to understand how you can possibly hit your racket on the wall during service. apart from being stood in totally the wrong poistion, it's bound to be a crap serve anyway so just make the most of it!

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From Adz - 20 Jul 2007 - 18:23

Actually I believe that it is absolutely fine. The rules simply state that the BALL cannot bounce or hit a wall before contact with the racquet, and mention nothing about the racquet hitting surfaces. As for distraction, I think the argument would fall down as it isn't really distracting....

a) He hasn't yet struck the ball

b) You know where he is

c) You know which shot he's about to play

I don't think I'd give you a let for this one if you asked as I can't really see how what he is doing could be considered "interference" of any kind. However, if I was refereeing your match and you were to complain / appeal, I would refuse you a let but give him a conduct warning for racquet abuse. Next time he does it would be a conduct stroke, then game, then match!

Of course, without having a referee present, you can't really call a conduct stroke against an opponent as they'll be likely to never play you again (and pass the wrd around to other that you're some sort of rule freak!). If you can get passed it and win the match then I suggest you do, unless you have a referee!

On a similar note...... I used to play a guy who had a large "twitch" just before he served. He'd bend his arm back at the should like his right side was having some sort of seizure and then hit a really, REALLY hard serve straight at you. Players seeing this for the first time were still watching his follow through in complete amazment (and confusion!) when the ball reached them! The more you got used to it, the more you realised that it wasn't actually a very good serve, and if you dropped quickly cross-court, or hit a cross-court drive, then it was a winner as he couldn't move into position quick enough to return it (as his momentum was in the wrong direction!).

I hope this helps

Adz

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