"OUT!" Call is Out
To those who have written HUNDREDS of words defending the right of “Free Speech” and the ability to call “OUT” while talking to your doubles partner, we have (in my opinion) the final word.
“Who ya goin’ call?”
Dave Bushey, a website reader sent this issue to the Tennis Magazine’s author of “Court of Appeals,” Rebel Good, who is a member of the USTA’s Tennis Rules and Regulations committee and has taught the rules to officials for more than 20 years.
Here is the question and the simple 19-word answer …
“A ball was hit deep toward the baseline, one partner advised the other “out” while the ball was still in the air. His partner thought it was going to be close and decided to play the ball as in and returned the ball for a winner.
“The other team declared that the point is over once the “out” call was made. The team making the winning return said you can say anything while the ball is in the air coming toward your side of the court.
What is the correct ruling?” David Bushey, Bonita Springs Fl.
The answer: David— “Out” is a call. If it caused the opponents to stop play they can claim the point for hindrance. Rebel Good
To clarify, you can advise your partner, “Bounce it,” or “No,” or “Let it go,” or any similar words; but by using the word “Out,” you stop play.
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Thoughts on “OUT!”
I agree 100% with your interpretation. An out call immediately stops the point. If the ball subsequently lands in, it’s your point. If they hit it, it’s also your point since the ball never landed out! This is a problem for many veteran players who, for the last 30 years have called “out” to their partner. They are the ones that need to adjust to changing their verbiage. Great post!
Steve, yes, amazing how many vets don’t know all the rules. thanks. george
MARTY M JUDGE
George, I know we have debated this issue below — in fact, recently. But I don’t care how many refs take this position, I think your opponent was right and you were wrong — especially as I remain unaware of any published rulings or examples that are specific to using the exact word “out” in the situation that you describe. In other words, if you and those refs cannot cite to an actual rule or an official interpretation of a rule that specifically addresses use of the word “out” to support your argument, in the situation that you describe, then it is solely an issue of your and those officials’ personal INTERPRETATION of what the rules say, and on that topic I think that reasonable minds could differ.
Marty, let me stop you right here. The rule I found reads: “Any talking that interferes with an opponent’s ability to play the ball is a hindrance.”
Noble and I stopped playing when he called “Out.” End of story! Thanks, George
So I googled this topic and found this rule cited:
12. Out calls reversed. A player who calls a ball out shall reverse the call if the player becomes uncertain or realizes that the ball was good. The point goes to the opponent and is not replayed.
Wouldn’t this cover the situation also? Would this apply to balls hit out of the air? I think so!
Mike, i don’t know. george
“Any talking that interferes with an opponent’s ability to play the ball is a hindrance.” Seems to leave a fair bit of room for interpretation. For example, faking at the net destroys me.
Kevin,strange, but that is the one “hindrance” that is allowed! thanks, george
A ball that is in the air obviously cannot correctly be called out as it has not landed. My interpretation of one opponent saying “out” to his partner as the ball is in the air is 100% that the partner is advising his partner not to hit it, let it bounce. He is not making a call to you but giving advise to his partner. Whether he says “Out” or “bounce it” or “let it go” or no!”, it is the same communication to me. It is my responsibility to be ready for the opponent who is deciding whether to strike the ball or not to ignore his partner’s “advice” and hit it. He has the right to do that and it you need to be prepared to play the shot.
My opinion is just that – unless there is a specific prohibition of “out” while the ball is still in the air, your distraction was your technical error not being ready for a reasonable option, not a distraction, loss of point or even discussion of same. I can say whatever I want when it is legitimate communication with my partner once the ball is struck towards us up and until we strike it back. A verbalization that is intended to distract the opponent rather than communicate with partner is different story. Nothing in this incident tells me Jimmy Parker was doing anything other than appropriately advising his partner not to hit the ball as he (Jimmy) thought it was landing out. The substance is correct – the form of saying out versus other word(s) to me is not significant.
Winder, i spoke with the ref again and he INSISTS that is the rule. He said the old rule book used to give several example situations for each rule; and this one was clearly spelled out as stoppage of play. thanks, george
There are clearly some strong feelings on both sides of this issue. I think sometimes the idea of a hindrance is in the mind of the beholder. I have always thought that the rule about a player’s hat falling off is a strange one because I think it is more of a hindrance to that player than it is to the opponent. We are, after all, supposed to be watching the ball. In fact, I would use their hat as a target for my next shot. Either way, one of the things I like most about the Super Senior tournaments is the camaraderie. I hope this issue doesn’t fester in people’s minds and cause hard feelings.
is a tournament-level, senior tennis player who lives and plays his tennis most of the year in Naples FL and the summer months on Lake Sunapee, NH. A professional writer who owned and ran a direct marketing company for 30 years, George writes the popular tennis web site SeniorTennisAndFitness.com and authored the book "Senior Tennis."