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Be a Chair Umpire

March 31, 2003


Tennis-X.com writer T.J. Thomas recently examined the ATP rulebook to find out what some of the game's best chair umpires must know as part of their daily job. See if you would know how to properly handle these unusual situations if you found yourself sitting in the chair one sunny day:

1. Can a player place a vibration dampening device anywhere on the strings of a racquet?
A. Yes, the device can be placed anywhere on the strings
B. No, the device can only be placed along the outer pattern of the strings


A player receives a time violation, but claims the ballboy's slow retrieval of his towel caused the delay? Is this a valid reason for the delay?
A. Yes, since it was not the player's fault, the violation should not be enforced
B. No, toweling off between points is not a right or a necessity


After a point has been played, the player says the point should be replayed because the ball is "soft", should there be a let if in fact the ball is soft or damaged?
A. Yes, there should be a let and the ball is removed from play
B. No, the point stands but the ball is removed from play


May a player use two different racquets during one point?
A. Yes
B. No


During a 90 second changeover, may a player use his cell phone to place a call?
A. Yes, as long as the umpire deems he is not speaking to his coach
B. No, a player may have no contact with someone outside of the court boundaries
C. No, a player may not use any electronic device during a changeover

6. Player A's serve clips the net and while in the air hits the receiver, Player B, what's the call?
A. Play a let
B. It's a service fault for Player A
C. Player A wins the point

7. A player claims he lost the point because his hat flew off which distracted him and made him miss the shot. Is there a let?
A. Yes, since a dropped hat is a hindrance
B. No, a player cannot be a hindrance to himself


In doubles, one player does not show up on time for a match, but his partner claims he can take on his opponents single-handedly, can he?
A. Yes, as long as his opponents are O.K. with it
B. No, that's not in the spirit of doubles


Can the receiver stand anywhere on his side of the court, including inside the service box and also outside the doubles alley, to return serve?
A. Yes, he is allowed to stand anywhere on his side of the court
B. No, he must stand anywhere outside of the service box

10. In doubles, can both receiving team members stand on the same side of the court?
A. Yes, they can stand anywhere
B. No, they must stay on separate sides of the court

11. Player A throws his racquet at the ball and incredibly returns it back into Player B's court for a winner, who wins the point?
A. Player A, since his racquet hit the ball and he won the point
B. Player B, since the racquet left Player A's hand and then hit the ball it is a loss of point


During a changeover, a player requests to leave the court to put in a contact lens, may he?
A. Yes, it will be used as a toilet break, however
B. No, a contact lens is not part of tennis equipment

13. A player breaks a string on his last racquet, and he says he can tie a knot with the remaining string and keep playing at a high level. Can he keep playing?
A. Yes, as long as the umpire feels the racquet is playable
B. No, the strings are broken and equipment damaged

14. During a best-of-three set match, a player used his lone toilet break but has to go again? What's the ruling?
A. The player's request for a toilet visit is allowed but it must be done within 90 seconds otherwise he will be penalized
B. The player's request is denied as he has already used his one allotted toilet break

15. May a player receive extra time during a changeover to change his shoes/socks?
A. Yes, but the player can only do this once and is allowed just one shoe/sock time extensions
B. No, the player must take care of such changes within the allotted changeover timeframe

16. May a player use his laptop during a changeover?
A. Yes, as long as he has no immediate contact with a coach
B. No, the player is not allowed to use any electrical equipment during a changeover

17. A player breaks his shoe during a point and requests to get his second pair which is in the locker room, may he go get it?
A. Yes, as long as the broken shoe is determined unplayable the player is allowed to retrieve a second pair
B. No, the player must continue with the damaged shoe until a changeover and then change

18. Player A hits the receiver, Player B, in the air with a serve. Player B is standing outside the court area. Who get's the point?
A. Player A, as the the serve hit Player B without touching the ground
B. Player B, as he was hit while standing outside of the service box thus the serve was out
C. It's a fault

19. Player A incorrectly serves at 30-15 from the deuce court and wins the point, then moves to the add court for 40-15 point and misses his first serve. He then realizes, as does the umpire, that he is currently serving on the wrong side and did serve on wrong side of the court on the prior point. Player A claims he should win the 30-15 point. What's the call?
A. Points stand, and player A continues with second serve from wrong court
B. Prior point is replayed and proper serving order restored
C. Prior point stands, but Player A must move to Deuce court for second serve

20. A player slides and his foot goes under the net without touching it. But the net should have been extended enough to touch the court. Does he therefore forfeit the point?
A. Yes, going under the net is considered a touch since the net should have been extended
B. Yes, only if his foot touched his opponent's side of the court
C. No, as long as he didn't touch the net it's not a violation


For the answers, click and highlight your cursor over the space below:
1. B, 2. B, 3. B, 4. B, 5. A, 6. A, 7. B, 8. B, 9. A, 10. A, 11. B, 12. B, 13. B, 14. A, 15. A, 16. A, 17. A, 18. A, 19. A, 20. B

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