Can your teammate lending a helping hand?

In doubles, if my teammate calls the ball out and I cannot tell if it was in or out, must I then call the ball in because I am not sure? I would normally not say anything, but if our opponents asked me what my call was, I would have to say, “I’m not sure.” Does that mean I must say the ball was in?

— Karen Bernthal, Saint Paul, MN

The interplay of several items in The Code often leads to confusion, particularly when it comes to doubles. Item 6 says you give your opponents the benefit of the doubt; Item 8 says if you can’t call it out, it’s good; and Item 14 says that when doubles partners disagree on a call, the ball is good. Presumably your partner followed the strictures of the first two when she called the shot out, so that’s the call for your team. Now, did you disagree with your partner’s call? Not as you described it. You were simply unsure. Your partner may have had a better look at it. That being the case, keep your mouth shut. If your opponents ask how you saw it, don’t say, “I’m not sure.” Just say, “I don’t disagree with my partner.”


Except where noted, answers are based on the ITF Rules of Tennis and USTA's The Code.

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