What is the rule for racquet collision in tennis?

Tennis is a racquet sport that can be played in both singles and doubles discipline. The sport demands spontaneity and quick reflexes due to the exchange of fast paced rallies at a professional level.

Proponents of singles tennis utilize the full length of the court as they indulge in baseline, mid-court and net play. In the latter, a sharp exchange of volleys takes place, bringing the players close to the net. During this exchange, a player’s shot can legally finish with a follow-through where the racquets swings over the net. However, should this swing lead to the player’s racquet collide with the opponent’s racquet, it results in a let. The point is then replayed.

In doubles tennis, the communication between a professional doubles team might be compromised. This can result in both players going after the ball. The racquets of both players may collide in the process. If the ball hits both the racquets, the team loses the point. If the ball hits only one racquet and lands right, then the point continues. However, if the chair umpire feels that the point has caused substantial hindrance to the opponent, then a let is called and the point needs to be replayed.

The racquet collision rule is further elaborated as per the International Tennis Federation’s laws, Rule 21.e states that “The hinderance rule applies if a player deliberately hinders his opponent from making a fair return of the ball.”

Thus, racquet collision in tennis results in either a let or fault at the discretion of the chair umpire.

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