3.13 - Rallies
All of the play that occurs after the
successful return of serve is called the rally. Play shall be conducted
according to the following rules:
(a) Legal Hits. Only the head of the
racquet may be used at any time to return the ball. The racquet may be
held in one or both hands. Switching hands to hit a ball, touching the
ball with any part of the body or uniform, or removing the wrist safety
cord during a rally results in a loss of the rally.
(b) One Touch. The player or team trying
to return the ball may touch or strike the ball only once or else the
rally is lost. The ball may not be carried. (A carried ball is one that
rests on the racquet long enough that the effect is more of a sling or
throw than a hit.)
(c) Failure to Return. Any of the following constitutes a failure to make a legal return during a rally:
- The ball bounces on the floor more than once before being hit.
- The ball does not reach the front wall on the fly.
- The ball is hit such that it goes into
the gallery or wall opening or else hits a surface above the normal
playing area of the court that has been declared as out-of-play [See
- A ball that obviously does not have the velocity or direction to hit the front wall strikes another player.
- A ball struck by a player hits that player or that player's partner.
- Committing a penalty hinder. See Rule 3.15.
- Switching hands during a rally.
- Failure to use a racquet wrist safety cord.
- Touching the ball with the body or uniform.
- Carrying or slinging the ball with the racquet.
(d) Effect of Failure to Return.
Violations of Rules 3.13 (a) through (c) result in a loss of rally. If
the serving player or team loses the rally, it is an out. If the
receiver loses the rally, it results in a point for the server.
(e) Return Attempts. The ball remains in
play until it touches the floor a second time, regardless of how many
walls it makes contact with -- including the front wall. If a player
swings at the ball and misses it, the player may continue to attempt to
return the ball until it touches the floor for the second time.
(f) Broken Ball. If there is any suspicion
that a ball has broken during a rally, play shall continue until the
end of the rally. The referee or any player may request the ball be
examined. If the referee decides the ball is broken, the ball will be
replaced and the rally replayed. The server resumes play at first
serve. The only proper way to check for a broken ball is to squeeze it
by hand. (Checking the ball by striking it with a racquet will not be
considered a valid check and shall work to the disadvantage of the
player or team that struck the ball after the rally.)
(g) Play Stoppage
- If a foreign object enters the court,
or any other outside interference occurs, the referee shall stop the
play immediately and declare a replay hinder.
- If a player loses any apparel,
equipment, or other article, the referee shall stop play immediately
and declare a penalty hinder or replay hinder as described in Rule 3.15
(h) Replays. Whenever a rally is replayed for
any reason, the server resumes play at first serve. A previous fault
serve is not considered.