During a routine rally on our court, I thought I saw a ball, or the shadow of a ball, rolling under the feet of my opponent at the baseline. I called a let. It turned out that there was no ball on our court, and my opponent thought he should be awarded the point. I disagreed and said I made the call in good faith, to prevent my opponent from stepping on the ball and possibly hurting himself. What do you think?

— Al Varner, San Rafael, CA

I think you should lose the point. You can’t just call a let because you “think” there might be a problem, particularly one all the way at the opposite end of the court. While it is certainly nice that you’re concerned for your opponents’ safety, steer clear of phantom lets.

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

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