Can you catch the ball in tennis?

Doing my own Googling, so I won’t get yelled at, I find this from www.wimbleondontennis.co.uk :

The point is lost if:

e. The player deliberately carries or catches the ball in play on the racket or deliberately touches it with the racket more than once; or

f. The player or the racket, whether in the player’s hand or not, or anything which the player is wearing or carrying touches the net, net posts/singles sticks, cord or metal cable, strap or band, or the opponent’s court at any time while the ball is in play

Case 8: A player standing outside the court hits the ball or catches it before it bounces and claims the point because the ball was definitely going out of the correct court.
Decision: The player loses the point, unless it is a good return, in which case the point continues.
My point is that I found a “feed” of Federer vs Lopez in the US Open, and Federer clearly catches a return of serve with his bare hand, thigh high, to win Game 8. He was standing on the baseline, and the ball was clearly going to land 6 or 7 feet out. Was this a technical violation of the rules played at the US Open, but which were ignored as a gentlemanly bit of play? Federer had already tried to be friendly and point out to Lopez that he was now serving with new balls.

Is this like the coach’s box in baseball, which everyone stand outside of, and for which the rules are universally ignored, unless someone wants to complain, but no one does?

The Condensed USTA Rules don’t make any mention of catching the ball with the body. Everything else I find after a little searching seems to be a reprint of the Wimbledon rules.

I may very well be wrong, I haven’t followed tennis for years. I think that the catch is ok since the ball would have clearly been out of bounds. It was dead whan it crossed the base line.

That sounds sensible but clearly contradicts Case 8 cited above.

Incorrect. The player cannot touch the ball before it bounces, even if it is clearly going to land a long way out of the court. If he does so, he will lose the point, as the rules quoted in the OP state. I remember quite recently watching a WTA game on TV where the server mishit the serve horribly and it landed out beyond the baseline. The receiver only just managed to dodge out of the way of it, and the commentator noted that had the ball struck her before it bounced, she would have lost the point.

I find it hard to believe that Federer would catch a return in the manner the OP stated. Tennis rules are followed pretty stringently, and doing something like this would be asking for trouble. I have never seen a pro player do anything like that, and I watch quite a bit of tennis. Are you sure there wasn’t some other violation that meant the point was already over by the time he caught it?

I had a look on YouTube for footage of the match but get this: “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by United States Tennis Association”. :frowning:

Watching again. Set 1, Game 8.

Federer leads 30-0. Aces Lopez wide in the deuce court.

WHOOPS! Frame by frame forensic analysis reveals that allthough F makes a very “catch it” motion, he is instead actually dodging toward his left (bare hand side), and the ball just misses him on the right.

You may all resume your lives now.

I think a better question would be: can you catch the ball in tennis?

I mean, those things are going pretty damned fast. I’d expect that if you tried you’d end up with a couple of numb fingers. Also, if you catch the ball, then the ball boy doesn’t have anything to do. Won’t somebody think of the ball boys?

Lives? :dubious:

Well I don’t know in pro tennis, but when I was younger and played we’d all catch shots going long when standing behind the base line. We all knew technically it was wrong, but no one ever called anyone on it. We didn’t have ball boys and it was easier than going to pick up the ball at the fence. Also I suspect our long shots were quite a bit longer than typical long shots in pro tennis.

But in any case in never hurt that I recall. Again the shots were much slower I suppose.

It’s only a tennis ball, with quite a bit of flexibility. I bet I could catch one at 70 mph without too much pain, really. It would sting, I bet, but it’s made of hollow felt and rubber. It’s not a baseball, I don’t care how many times Wilson puts “Titanium” on them.

Could a bad, slice return even from Nadal reach over 65 mph?