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The rules and etiquette of tennis are often forgotten about when you’re in the middle of a passionate game. We’ve all been there – you’ve just had to sprint towards the net to make a shot, and your momentum has pushed your body to accidentally touch the net.
But how does this affect the game?
If you’re trying to settle an argument with your fellow tennis players or if you’re simply new to the game, you might be frantically searching for the answers on touching the net on the Internet.
So, can you touch the net in tennis? Here is the definitive rule on net-touching!
Can You Touch The Net In Tennis?
Simply put, if a player touches any part of the net during the game, they will automatically lose a point. This means that even if your clothing touches the net or net post, then you will lose a point.
And, yes, this extends to the racket too – so try not to hit the net with your racket!
The definitive rule of net-touching is to not do it at all. Unless you’re willing to lose a point, then touching any part of the net with your skin, clothing, shoes, or racket, is simply not worth it.
What If I Accidentally Touch The Net?
Sometimes, touching the net is unavoidable. If you’ve had to sprint towards the net to make a quick shot, you run the risk of either hitting the net with your racket or running into the net from the momentum of the sprint. No matter how you touch the net, you will still lose a point.
Who Determines The Point Loss When You Touch The Net?
As with all the points, the umpire of the game will determine the point loss. In some instances, if you’re really really lucky, the umpire might miss your accidental touching of the net.
However, as a net will move at even the slightest of touches, you would have to be very lucky to accidentally touch the net and go unnoticed.
In professional tennis, the umpire will take away the point from the person who touched the net, and they will then give that point to the opposition. In amateur tennis games, however, there can be a bit more leeway in the rules.
You can make up your own version of the rules if the net-touching was a justifiable accident, but the rules of tennis still stay the same – don’t touch the net!
Calling The Penalty
Not every game of tennis will have an umpire to call the penalty when you touch the net. This means that the penalties have to be called by the players.
At the end of the day, calling penalties to your opposition can be awkward, but the rules of the game simply state that touching the net while a point is in play will result in a point lost. This means that if you accidentally touch the net, it’s best to be honest and admit what happened to prevent the awkwardness.
When Can I Touch The Net?
The only time you can touch the net in tennis is when the game has stopped or the point is over. This means that if the ball bounces twice, then the point is over, and the game has paused. During this time, if you touch the net, then you shouldn’t lose a point.
For the sake of being safe, however, you should try to avoid touching the net (even by accident) even when the point is over. Just to be on the safe side!
Can I Reach Over The Net?
So, if you can’t touch the net, can you reach over it?
The most basic rule of net-reaching is that you cannot reach over the net to hit the ball. This is because it goes against the rules of tennis completely – if players can reach over the net to hit the ball, then they could easily make a point. Plus, they could become a danger to the other player by hitting the racket on them!
However, if you make contact with the ball on your side of the net, then your racket can technically reach over the net without any repercussions. This usually occurs when players sprint towards the net to make a shot, but you have to be careful to not allow yourself or the racket to touch the net itself.
Here’s where it gets confusing. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) states that if you somehow hit a shot to the other side of the net, but the ball returns back to your side due to the spin or wind, then your opponent is allowed to continue the game by reaching over the net to hit the ball.
This is a confusing rule for beginners, but the cases of this happening are so rare that a rule had to be made. The rule is in place because if the ball bounces back into your court and hits the ground once more, then you will have won the point.
Can I Hit Around The net?
Not all nets will stretch across the whole of the court, so if on the rare occasion the ball bounces on your side and your only option is to hit around the net, this is allowed! You’ve just gotta make sure that the angle you hit the ball means you won’t touch the net.
This isn’t an easy move, but it could save you from losing a point. As long as the ball lands inside your opponent’s side of the court, then you can hit around the net.
Can I Jump Over The Net?
While you can sometimes reach over the net to take a shot, you cannot jump over the net. If the point is still in play, then jumping over the net will lose you a point. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s usually from the momentum of sprinting towards the net to take a shot without touching the net itself.