|Proposed Rule Change
4.O Service Lets. There is no limit to the number of lets a server may serve. The serve is a let and will be replayed if:
4.O.1. The serve touches the net, strap, or band and is otherwise good and lands in the service court.
4.O.2. The referee calls a service let.
4.O.3. Any player calls a service let. If the referee determines that a service let called by a player did not occur, a fault will be declared against the offending player.
|Reasoning Behind Suggested Change
I am a Certified Referee and active player. I have refereed over 500 matches since January 2020 with many of those matches being pro matches at PPA events where the 2020 “service let” rule is still used. As a player, I play 3-5 times per week in recreational play.
My observations with the removal of the 2020 “service let” rule as a player has resulted in 3 failures on my part to return a let serve. As a referee, I have also noted a handful of service lets which resulted in the receiver failing to return the serve. Also, as a note, since the pros at PPA events still use the service let rule from 2020, those lets are replayed.
What’s common across all of the “service lets” that I’ve experienced and observed, that were not returned, is that they were on courts with temporary nets. Temporary nets, because the net cords are not tight, tend to absorb the energy from the serve thereby resulting in a shorter serve if it clears the NVZ. In a tournament the assignment of courts is fairly random which results in different players being assign different courts. Some with permanent nets and some with temporary nets. This could result in the inequity of play over the course of a tournament for a given bracket. I contend that the outcome for the bracket should be based on the ability and skill of the players and not the luck of the court draw.
In 2021 the service let rule was removed which now allows for points to be gained based on court assignment and equipment used on that court. In 2020 a service let would result in a replay which would get the game back to an equal pairing regardless of the court assignment and back to the outcome being determined by rally play. The rationale for removing the service let was to eliminate the “phantom service let”. I believe a replay is far less detrimental to the integrity of the game than a point being awarded for inferior court equipment.
I contend that the 2020 Service Let rule should be reimplemented.