During a doubles match, an opponent’s shot struck a towel that was hanging over the top of the net near the net post. The ball dribbled over and fell on our side. I returned the shot, but ran into the net. I then gave the point to my opponents because I ran into the net. But should my opponents have lost the point because their shot hit the towel?
— Douglas Redfearn, Metairie, LA
This is three issues in one. (1) While The Code, Item 46, says you shouldn’t put a towel on the net, if someone drapes one over the net, it becomes part of the net, so a ball striking it is no different from it striking the net cord. (2) Since it was a legal shot, there would have been no reason for you to stop play. (3) Good on you for conceding the point (The Code, Item 19).
Except where noted, answers are based on the ITF Rules of Tennis and USTA's The Code.
Got a question? Email it to: email@example.com