I have played tennis for many years and have kept a compilation of seemingly strange situations that have either happened while I was playing or other incidents that were parlayed to me by other players. If you can achieve a score of at least 6 out of 8 correct answers you may be ready to apply for a teaching pro position at one of the local tennis facilities.

Situation 1: During a match a player hit an overhead deep into his opponent’s court. His racquet flew out of his hand as he hit the overhead, took a big bounce, and hit the top of the net. His opponent didn’t return the ball and said it was his point because even though the racquet bounced, it still hit the net before the ball bounced twice.

What is the correct ruling? A. The player who hit the overhead wins the point. B. The opponent who was ready to return the overhead wins the point.

Situation 2: During a close singles match with the score tied 3-3 Joseph started serving the 7th game and was up 30-0. Suddenly, he realized that it was his opponent’s turn to serve. Should Joseph finish serving out the game or should his opponent commence serving from 0-30 and finish out the game?

A. The player who was serving should keep serving and finish out the game. B. The player who was returning serve should take over at 0-30 and finish out the game.

Situation 3: During a doubles match a player on the opposing team would stand 1-2 feet behind the baseline when he served. This was very disconcerting to my partner and myself. We complained that this was illegal. They claimed that serving in this manner was perfectly legal.

What is the correct ruling? A. A player can stand as far back as he wants when he is serving.

B. Two feet behind the baseline is the farthest you can stand behind the baseline when serving.

Situation 4: During an opponent’s second serve the returning player tried to stifle a sneeze. When he sneezed he closed his eyes and couldn’t see the oncoming serve. Naturally, he never saw the ball as it approached and called for the serve to be replayed.

Can he do this? A. Yes. B. No.

Situation 5: During a heated 3.5 USTA singles match one of the players repeatedly rubbed the tennis ball before she served each time. Her opponent questioned her about the practice. “I rub my hand before serving because that is what the towel is for. Therefore, it is perfectly all right.”

Who was right? A. The player who complained. B. The player who rubbed the tennis ball.

Situation 6: In the middle of a singles match after playing with the score tied at 4-4 I noticed that the net seemed too high. My opponent was ready to serve.

Was it my obligation to tell him that the net was too high before he served? A. Yes. B. No.

Situation 7: Years ago, one of the area’s top senor players had problems breathing in the summer, especially when it was humid. He had a small oxygen tank that he would periodically breathe from. Sad to say, he would get into many arguments about using the tank, as his opponents felt that he was being given an unfair advantage.

Was the player correct to use the oxygen? A. Yes. B. No.

Situation 8: During a doubles match a player on Team A hit an absolute setup to an opposing player who was stationed at the net. The Team B player at the net put the ball away. However, as he did this a ball rolled behind the player who had given the setup to the player on Team A. The player on Team B immediately stopped playing when the ball rolled on the court and said to play the point over. The players on Team A said the ball was a setup and was hit to the side of the court away from where the errant ball was and was not returnable.

Who was right? A. Team A. B. Team B.


1. B. If the player’s racquet touched the net before the ball bounced a second time he or she would lose the point.

2. B. If you discover that a player was serving at 30-0 and the other player should have been serving, the player who was returning serve should commence serving at 0-30 and finish out the game.

3. A. There are no limits as to how far back you have to stand when you are serving. However, you can’t run or walk forward when serving as this constitutes a foot fault.

4. A. The player who sneezed could have called a let. A better solution would have been for him to hold his hand up and show that he wasn’t ready to return the ball because he was going to sneeze and that the serve should be played over. (However, in the spirit of good sportsmanship it would have been magnanimous to let the server serve a first serve, and a second serve if needed.

5. A. According to the rules a player may not do anything that changes the condition of the ball, even if it means wiping off perspiration.

6. B. There is no rule that says you have to inform your opponent that the net is too high. However, in the spirit of good sportsmanship it would be a magnanimous thing to do.

7. B. Each player has to make do with the same air, good or bad. Using oxygen is considered medical treatment and is not legal during a match.

8. A. A let is not automatically given because of a hindrance. Due to the fact that the point was virtually over when the ball rolled on the court and was not returnable, the point is awarded to Team A.

Miller naming contest set

All local tournament tennis players are invited to participate in a contest for naming Western New York’s largest money tournament ($20,000) at the Miller Tennis Center in July.

Submit your name and suggestion to by March 15. A selection committee, which will be comprised of local players and officials, will select the winning entry by April 1. The winner will receive free entry fees for the remainder of the 2013 Buffalo Tennis Series tournament year.