If a let was considered a valid serve, would professional tennis players be able to accurately hit the net cord and have the ball drop into the service box, often enough to make it worth while?

Would it at least be a commonly attempted on a first serve, with players opting for the usual safer second serve if they hit the net?

Or would the risk outweigh the benefits? Would players continue to serve as they do already, with a let being nothing but a lucky bonus?

  • I think is it an opinion-based reply. Anyway in my opinion there is too much risks versus too poor advantages
    – Ale
    Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 16:12

2 Answers 2


I think that would depend on the player. If the situation you described was allowed, it would be akin to serving an ace. Current players do attempt aces by serving to the edges of the opposite player's service box, even though the chance of an ace is pretty low. However, some players (like Federer) do hit more aces than average, while some others are below average in that respect. Similarly, with practice, players could manage to hit the net and let the ball drop over on their service with increasing accuracy.

All this is completely hypothetical since the rule does not exist and it doesn't seem like it ever will as of now.


Have you ever watched Collegiate tennis or World Team Tennis? This is actually a rule - no-let serves. No player is talented enough to try and clip the net and have the ball roll over for an ace (or service winner) - that would require inch-perfect precision. Also, most players aren't particularly fond of the no-let serve rule because 1) they're not used to it and 2) shots that clip the net and roll over for a winner are considered "cheap" and most players apologize for winning points that way. Not to mention, the net cord produces unpredictable results depending on where the ball hits, what kind of spin is on the ball, and what angle it comes into the net at.

Here's an article that talks about the subject: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/20/sports/tennis/tennis-trying-a-no-let-experiment-on-serves.html?_r=0

  • +1, I fully agree that it is basically impossible to aim for the type of net cord that would always win you the point. On another note, regarding the argument for or against playing lets on serves, I just want to point out that I've also had plenty of aces taken away, because the ball barely grazed the tape; from the server's perspective that can be just as frustrating as a cheap dribbler of a let cord. Not to mention without electronics objectively calling lets, it can be controversial; this is actually why men's college tennis plays without them.
    – skc
    Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 22:13
  • If it were a rule in professional tennis, I think research would be done to find out exactly what part of the net band should be hit in order to increase one's chances of getting an ace off it. Sure, it would take years of practice to perfect, but considering that tennis players (and all other sports persons for that matter) spend a lot of their time perfecting their skills, this would just be another skill to perfect. Though it is considered a cheap way to get a point, if it were legit, that wouldn't matter to some players. Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 4:38
  • Two points: first you do not have to be as precise to hit a clean ace (so why bother trying something that requires more precision?); second you can already win points legally this way off anything other than a serve and we don't see players aiming for this type of shot off of groundstrokes or volleys. I fully understand you have more control over the serve than any other shot, but I think you overestimate the ability of even the best professional tennis players.
    – skc
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 12:55

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