The racket works as an extension of your arm, which can reach further and generate incomparable power.
But more and more players hit the ball aggressively and angularly, so you have to cover a bigger area.
What can you do to defend better and more successfully?
You should add some extra sessions of strength and conditioning to run faster. For example, you can exchange a standard 27-inch racket for a maximum 29-inch long one.
I have bad news if you also thought about throwing the racket at the ball in critical moments to span every inch of the court.
The rules are straightforward.
You aren’t allowed to throw a tennis racket at the ball. The racket has to be held in contact with the ball at all times. Dropping the racket on the ground unintentionally is an exemption from rules.
If you aim to drop or throw the racket to hit the ball, it’s illegal and causes immediate point loss. The point continues if the racket just falls out of your hand uncontrollably before or after you have hit.
Can Tennis Players Throw Rackets To Hit The Ball?
You can show one of your trick shots like a tweener, no-look passing shot, or hit the ball behind your back.
But, if you throw the racket and it hits the ball, you simply lose a point. It was allowed in the past, and some players took real advantage of such shots.
I browsed the most popular videos, which present tennis players were throwing the racket in the air while they couldn’t reach the ball.
The most spectacular shot belongs to Jimmy Connors.
In 1996, the American moved to the net during a senior tour match and was lobbed by the opponent.
He had no chance to catch the ball up, so he instinctively threw the racket up. But, unfortunately, the ball bounced off the racket head and returned to the opponent’s halfcourt.
Another American, one of the Bryan brothers, threw the racket at the ball on Wimbledon 2013 doubles match. He couldn’t cover the double’s tramline, so he stretched and released the racket.
The chair umpire mistakenly granted the point to the Bryans because he thought the racket had been still held in hand on the contact.
Rafael Nadal once threw his racket at the ball too. It was rather entertaining than aimed at keeping the ball in play.
It happened in Indian Wells 2017 and made the crowd cheer and applaud. Then, Rafa stood behind the baseline and threw the racket at a smashed ball, which swept the stands.
I would compare it to handball play in soccer. It might be forbidden or unwelcomed, but players do it after all.
The umpires aren’t unerring. They might call fault out 99 times, but in the hundredths, you’ll be lucky to get a point anyway.
What Are The Official Rules On A Dropped Tennis Racket?
The official rules by the International Tennis Federation don’t differentiate between a dropped or thrown tennis racket. Instead, it specifies what happens if you don’t control the racket and the racket hits the ball.
ITF Rule number 24j reads: “The point is lost if: The ball in play touches the racket when the player is not holding it.”
Basically, the point is lost any time the ball hits the racket, which is not held by the player. So, for example, the racket can be thrown in any direction or lie on the ground.
The same judge’s decision will be made if the racket is hung on clothes or even attached to a girl’s ponytail.
Some amateurs confuse a dropped racket with the 24j rule. However, a dropped racket situation doesn’t involve contact between the ball and the racket.
If you are in the middle of the point and the racket falls out of your grip, it doesn’t have to result in losing a point.
The deciding factor is whether it was an accident or you did it on purpose to distract the opponent. This is very important to know because such unsportsmanlike behavior isn’t accepted in tennis.
In general, whenever your acts look intentional they could carry specified penalties. You might be lucky though as particular rules allow for case interpretation.
What Are Other Racket Abuse Rules In Tennis?
Playing in the stadium with thousands of fans and a set of umpires puts under enormous pressure.
Given that there are millions of dollars and prestigious titles to take, some players might not handle it mentally. That’s why they go as far as cheating or fury, on occasion.
The bottom line is, throwing the racket at the ball is a misuse that doesn’t result in severe consequences if called out.
However, you can be warned, penalized, fined, or disqualified for more serious abuses. So, be careful what you do with your racket.
As stated in the ATP and WTA rulebooks, the player shall not violently, dangerously, or with anger hit, kick, or throw a racquet or other equipment within the precincts of the tournament site.
Even top players have problems with controlling their emotions. So seeing Novak Djokovic or Nick Kyrgios smashing their rackets against the court isn’t anything shocking.
They get warnings or lose points because of that and continue their battles much calmer.
But they also lose money.
Men must pay up to $500 for each violation, and women even as much as $2,500. This is so painful when adding the value of the racket you destroyed.
As you probably know, professional tennis rackets start from $200 per unit.
When you reach a certain level of tennis, you still search for something new. So you think up ridiculous shots to blow the opponents over.
You do it for show or to enrich your tactical abilities. But, unfortunately, some players just want to humiliate everyone they face on the court.
Not all the trick shots are legal or appropriate to use during tournament matches. If you just hit with your friends, or play exhibition events, feel free to enjoy your time on the court.
A great example is a former professional, Mansour Bahrami, who is the best of the best showmen.
I personally don’t fool around and like to focus on the right game. But, with commitment and bitterness, there’s nothing you wouldn’t do. Hard work needs to be done before fun time.
Did you have a court situation where you weren’t sure it was allowed by the rules?
Have you ever thrown your racket at the ball?