In this video you can see Italian player Viviani at the Australian Open. Apparently, at the end of an exchange, she hit the ball with her racket and this hit a ballboy. This was completely accidental, and you can see the Italian player immediately saying I am sorry. However, for this she was disqualified from the Australian Open and the following tournament.

What are the rules for tennis player regarding unintentionally hitting a ballboy or Judge? Wasn't this punishment harsher than usual?


1 Answer 1


The ITF Pro Circuit regulations (currently 2018 version, but effectively the same) include a code of conduct beginning on page 95.

Viviani's action violates part I, Abuse of balls in Article IV On-Site Offences as it clearly constitutes

... hitting a ball with negligent disregard of the consequences.

As it occurred during a match, it also carries a penalty from part R, Point Penalty Schedule, which progress from warning to point penalty to match penalty for third and subsequent offences. Under part S, Defaults the ITF Supervisor may also award an immediate default for any single offence under the code of conduct or after the third or a subsequent penalty under part R.

Viviani was given an immediate default under these parts of Article IV.

Given that an identical incident occurred in the men's tournament in the same year and was apparently not penalised at all, and that Viviani's offence was during the second set within previous offences in the match or the tournament at all, it is a fair statement that this penalty was unusually harsh in the circumstances.

  • Could you please name/link the identical incident in the men's tournament?
    – Arsak
    Apr 21, 2018 at 10:36

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