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What's the Call: Too much communication

June 1, 2015 03:43 PM

Have you ever had a dispute with a fellow player over a call on the court that you couldn’t settle? Or have you ever wondered why a certain ruling was made during a match you were watching? Maybe you’re just curious about how some scenarios, from the common to the ridiculous, are resolved.

Andrew Walker, Community Pathway Manager of the USTA Officiating Department, is here to answer your questions. Have a question of your own? Write to What's the Call!

Question: In a doubles match, my opponent kept saying good shot every time his partner hit the ball. I asked him to stop because it was distracting. He responded that he could talk as much as he wanted as long as the ball was on his side of the court. I think he is wrong and that it is a hindrance. Who is correct?

Final Call from Andrew Walker: Sections 34&34 address hindrances and outline how to handle this scenario. The Code #34 says, “Talking between doubles partners when the ball is moving toward them is allowed. Doubles players should not talk when the ball is moving toward their opponent’s court.”  In the scenario you described, the comments were being made after the partner hit the ball which would mean the ball was traveling away from them and toward you and your partner. This would be grounds to call a hindrance, but remember, it must be done as soon as possible.


Andrew Walker is the Community Pathway Manager of the USTA Officiating Department. He has been an official for more than 13 years. He is a Bronze Badge Chair Umpire and Silver Badge Chief Umpire under the ITF, ATP, WTA Joint Certification Program. He has officiated at every level from numerous local community events to Professional Tour and Circuit events to each of the four Grand Slams.

For the "Friend at Court" handbook and more information on the rules of tennis, visit the Officiating homepage.