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At 0:48, Djokovic intentionally waits for the ball to bounce twice and returns it to score a point. Can a tennis ball bounce multiple times and still be returned like this?

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    The ball hits the net and bounces once, not twice, before he strikes it.
    – Nij
    Commented Mar 6, 2023 at 0:00
  • @Nij It seems to hit the net, but after that it looks a clear enough double bounce to me.
    – WS2
    Commented Mar 7, 2023 at 21:41
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    There are exactly two changes to the ball's otherwise smooth path. If one is the net, the other must be a single bounce. Without any evidence to suggest the judges perfectly and entirely ignored one of the two fundamental rules for tennis play, I'm not sure what else can be expected here, except for "it didn't bounce twice, your depth perception is broken by the camera".
    – Nij
    Commented Mar 8, 2023 at 3:33
  • Note how the commentator says "Nicely dealt with by Djokovic", implying he's had to deal with something - namely, the flight of the ball being altered by contact with the net...
    – AakashM
    Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 14:41

1 Answer 1

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This is an optical illusion. At 0:50 in the video, the ball makes first contact with the net, not the ground. However, the ball hits the net very close to the center of the net, where there is a reinforcing post. As a result, the net doesn't vibrate at all. This lack of vibration makes it look like the ball hits the ground beyond the net. In reality, it hit the net.

One way to tell that the ball actually hit the net first is to notice that the ball has lost most of its speed after that contact. If the ball had actually hit the ground, it would have bounced much more energetically. Because it hit the net first, it bounced off very slowly.

After the ball hit the net, Djokovic correctly let it hit the ground once, before hitting the ball himself.

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