During a doubles point, my partner’s cell phone started ringing in her bag. We continued to rally until the point ended. My team won the point, but our opponents wanted to call a hindrance and claim it. I said the ringing was equally disruptive and not intentional. Who was right, and would it have made a difference if our opponents stopped play when the phone started ringing?

— Debbie Woods, Michigan

It’s imperative that all players heed The Code, #33, which says “a player who claims a hindrance must stop play immediately.” If you don’t stop for the ringing cellphone, you can’t whine about it later. Had your opponents stopped playing, they would have been awarded the point. The Code, #36, says that “a ringing cellphone is a deliberate hindrance; if an opponent’s cell phone rings during a point, the player may immediately stop and claim the point.” 

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

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