I play with a racquet sensor, which is pinched in place at the end of my handle. In one match the sensor came loose and bounced onto the court, on our side of the net. Our opponents called a hindrance, and we agreed to replay the point. Should we have forfeited the point since this was an equipment failure from my racquet? What if this happened again in the match?
—Will Schreiber, Scottsdale, AZ
Rule 31, Player Analysis Technology, is the newest rule in tennis and allows for the use of sensors on racquets, so long as they are approved by the ITF. When yours fell off, your opponents were within their rights to stop play for a hindrance (Rule 26). Replaying the point was correct as the hindrance was caused by “an unintentional act of the opponent.” In an unofficiated match, it would be a let each time—but it must be called by your opponents; you can’t hinder yourself. In an officiated match, an official would caution you that if it happened again, you would lose the point, as it would then be considered a “deliberate act.”
Except where noted, answers are based on the ITF Rules of Tennis and USTA's The Code.
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