How are “unclean hits” judged in tennis? I mean situations like a ball slipping on a racket, or unintentionally hitting the racket twice (e.g. when the player does not hold the racket firmly enough).

In the official rules, I have found rule 24 (f), stating the point is lost if “The player deliberately carries or catches the ball in play on the racket or deliberately touches it with the racket more than once” (emphasis mine). Does this mean unintentional double touches or prolonged contact are fine?

Also, my friends debated whether hits by the rim are allowed or not. As I have found no mention about that in the rules, I suppose hits by any part of the racket (not only the strings) are allowed. Is that correct?

  • I paid a few hundred dollars for the frame so when I use it to make a winner I am happy I am getting my moneys worth. :)
    – aqwert
    Apr 6, 2016 at 1:41

1 Answer 1


Under the official rules, it's often (like you emphasized) the intent behind the action that is judged, rather than the action itself - in terms of carrying the ball or a double-hit. Tennis rules follow a sort of "good faith" motto - that a carry or double-hit won't count against you as long as you didn't do it deliberately.

Having said that, if you feel you gained an unfair advantage from one of these actions, you can always (and should) concede the point to your opponent.

Hits by the frame are definitely allowed - so you are correct. In fact, the ball can hit any part of the racquet, including the throat or the handle as long as it hits only the racquet and not your hand or any part of your body. See Rule 24i where it says "except the racquet". Notice the wording there doesn't say "the strings of the racquet" - that wording is on purpose.

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