In this video, Roger Federer hits the ball with his head. I know that in tennis, it is allowed to hit the ball with the head. And AFAIK, it's also allowed in table tennis.

Can you confirm that? And are there other racket sports where hitting the ball (or shuttle) with the head is allowed?

1 Answer 1


The video is a little misleading actually because it's tough to notice exactly what happened at the end of the point. In tennis you actually are NOT allowed to hit the ball with your head - only the racquet. What happened in the video you linked to is that Federer's opponent (Juan Martin Del Potro) didn't get to Federer's backhand shot before it bounced twice - thus the point (and game) went to Federer (some people allude to this in the comments on YouTube also). The evidence backing this up is that you can hear the chair umpire announcing the game going to Federer before he even hits the ball off his head over the net. The chair umpire wouldn't announce that unless the point was already over. Since Federer had already won the game, the point was over and Federer headed the ball over the net just for fun.

Though I can't confirm it, I don't believe it is legal to hit the ball with anything other than the racquet (or paddle) in table tennis either (since I know you lose the point if the ball hits your body and not the racquet). And as far as sports that use a shuttle (like badminton), I'm not sure you could hit a shuttle with enough force using your head for it to go over the net since shuttle decelerate so rapidly once they've been hit.

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    USA Table Tennis rules: 2.5.7 A player strikes the ball if s/he touches it in play with his/her racket, held in the hand, or with his/her racket hand below the wrist. 2.5.8 A player obstructs the ball if s/he, or anything s/he wears or carries, touches it in play when it is above or traveling towards the playing surface, not having touched his/her court since last being struck by the opponent. Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 23:28
  • Thanks Michael - sounds like the ball hitting your hand is legal, but anywhere else on the body or clothing is not.
    – jamauss
    Commented Mar 2, 2012 at 23:45
  • Also with tennis, if the ball hits you, the point is the opponents unless it already bounced twice, eg. if a ball is going out and I catch it, it is the other persons point
    – user610
    Commented Jul 8, 2012 at 0:21
  • 1
    Badminton: § 13.3.5: It shall be a ‘fault’ if in play, the shuttle touches the person or dress of a player.
    – phihag
    Commented May 30, 2013 at 10:47

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