A butterfly flew right in front of me as my partner served (it landed in). Thinking it was a ball coming from the adjoining court, I immediately called a let. Is that call acceptable? What about if a chipmunk or
squirrel comes on the court?

— Paul Ahlers, Johnstown, PA

Tennis is a game that requires a certain modicum of concentration. When played outdoors there’s a
veritable menagerie of fauna that possibly could distract you. But there’s a difference between a
distraction and a hindrance. Something on the court, like a roving squirrel, would be a hindrance. Something flying around in the air, not so much. You can call the let for that pesky butterfly, but your opp-onents must agree to it. Otherwise you lose the point under Rule 26, because your let call hindered your opponents from playing the serve.


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

Got a question? Email it to: courtofappeals@tennis.com