Hitting Around the Net or Post in Tennis

Can You Hit Around the Net in Tennis?

Tennis rallies can get wild sometimes. Players love to test the limits of court geometry by slicing and lobbing balls into every area on the court. They can even go far enough off the court that you might wonder if hitting around the net is legal. So, can you hit around the net in tennis?

Key Takeaway:

Yes, you can hit the ball around the net or post as long as the ball lands “in.” There are no rules preventing this, even if the ball is moving at a height lower than the net cord.

These shots are uncommon because players don’t often get into such wide positions on the court.

In this article, I’ll go into more detail about one of the most misunderstood tennis rules.   Hitting the ball around the net in tennis can confuse newer players, but after reading this – you’ll be good to go. 

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What the Official Rules of Tennis State About Hitting Around the Net Post

There are different tennis organizations for different countries and multiple international ones. However, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) establishes the rules that all other leagues follow for the most part.

Rule 25 C of the ITF rulebook states it is a good return if “the ball is returned outside the net posts, either above or below the level of the top of the net, even though it touches the net posts, provided that it hits the ground in the correct court.”

Further down, rule 25 D even states the return is good if “the ball passes under the net cord between the singles stick and the adjacent net post without touching either net, net cord or net post and hits the ground in the correct court.”

In other words, you can hit around the net and even make contact with the net posts as long as the ball lands in the correct court. If you can hit the ball between the net and the post, that’s also legal as long as it doesn’t make contact with anything.

Tennis Balls Hitting the Net or Post and Going In

The rules are clear on hitting around the net. It’s perfectly legal. But as with anything in sports, there are other factors to consider.

If the ball hits the net cord in the middle of the court during a more typical rally and lands in bounds, this is a fair shot.

The same logic applies to shots sent wide around net posts.

If the ball grazes a net post while going around, it’s a fair shot as long as it ends up in the opponent’s court.

Hitting a shot like that is even more unlikely than hitting the net cord and having the ball land in-bounds, so good luck seeing that happen.


Why Hit the Ball Around the Net in Tennis

Hitting the ball around the net is pretty rare. But as with any sport, tough shots can often become a normal part of the game. The problem with this type of shot is that you usually have to be far out of position to hit it.

In a singles tennis match, players normally like to stay within the singles lines, near the baseline. This is the safest place to return from because it gives you time to react to your opponent’s shots.

But rallies can sometimes take you to unexpected places. 

A good opponent will move you to the outside to open you up for winning shots. This is really the only time when hitting around the net is possible – when you’re in a really bad position on the court.

Remember, you can’t touch the net in tennis.  This includes your hand, clothing, and equipment; including your racket.  So, hitting around the net is always better than a fault for touching the net. 

Spinning the Ball Around the Net in Tennis

There are cases where players hit around the net from more central locations. This involves putting spin on the ball.

Because of the angles on the court, hitting a flat shot around the net is only possible when standing out wide. But if you put enough spin on the ball, you can curve it around the edges of the net.

This requires incredible strength and control that most people simply don’t have.

But when shots like those happen, they immediately make the highlight reel as shown in this video:

Pro Tip: Rafael Nadal is one player known for being able to manipulate the ball that way with his spin technique.

When Is a Ball “Out” in Tennis?

Knowing that you can hit the ball around the net in tennis might make you wonder exactly when a ball is considered out of bounds.

A ball is out in tennis when it lands outside the lines of the opponent’s court or bounces twice on the returning player’s side of the court. This includes bouncing off the net. As long as the ball only bounces once within the court’s boundary lines, it will remain in play.

If you violate any of those conditions while trying to hit the ball around the net, your ball is out.

Net Rules in Tennis

While I’m on the subject of nets, I’ll dive into how it impacts the game.

People often say that the first opponent in tennis is the net, and there are several ways that players can interact with it.

Players Touching the Net

Tennis players are not allowed to touch the net in any way while a play is ongoing. This includes making contact with a body part or anything connected to the player, like their racquet. Touching the net would mean forfeiting the point.

Ball Hitting the Net on a Serve

The tennis ball should not hit the net on a serve either. However, If the ball lands in the service box after clipping the net, it’s a let ball, meaning that the server gets to serve again. If it lands anywhere else, it’s out of bounds and the server loses their first or second serve.

Ball Hitting the Net During a Rally

Alternatively, balls may hit the net during gameplay, and if the ball lands in bounds, it’s considered a fair shot, and the game goes on. Opponents must then try to return the ball or lose the point. It’s common courtesy to apologize for winning a point after hitting the ball off the net.


Hitting Around the Net Post – Final Thoughts

If you’re in a position to hit the ball around the net, chances are you’re losing the rally. However, smacking a good, hard shot from there is not only legal, but it can also be difficult for your opponent to return.

It’s best to avoid being in that part of the court to begin with, but if you see an opening to hit around the net in tennis, go for it!

Other Related FAQs:

Q: What is the significance of hitting around the net or post in tennis?

A: Hitting around the net or post in tennis is a common technique used to outmaneuver you opponent. By hitting the ball at an angle around the post, it makes it difficult for your opponent to return the shot.

Q: How do top professional tennis players utilize hitting around the net or post in their game?

A: Top professional tennis players often use hitting around the net or post to execute strategic shots. These shots surprise their opponents and allow them to gain a competitive advantage in the match.

Q: Can amateur and recreational players benefit from practicing hitting around the net or post?

A: Yes, amateur and recreational players can improve their game by practicing hitting around the net or post. This helps in developing precision, control, and creativity in shot-making.

Q: What are some key considerations when attempting to hit the ball around the net in tennis?

A: When hitting around the net in tennis, players need to ensure they are not reaching over the net. This is a violation of the rules.

Q: In professional tennis matches, are players allowed to hit the ball around the net during a rally?

A: Yes, professional tennis players are allowed to hit the ball around the net during a rally. It is a legal shot as long as the ball lands within the opponent’s side of the court.

Q: What should a player do if the ball touches the net while attempting to hit around it?

A: If the ball touches the net while hitting around it in tennis, the player has another opportunity to make a clean shot. As long as the ball lands “in” on the opponent’s side of the court, its in play.

Q: Are there specific rules or regulations regarding hitting around the net in tennis tournaments?

A: In professional tournaments sanctioned by the ATP or ITF, there are rules enforced around hitting around the net. This is to make sure that hitting around the net is done within the boundaries of fair play. Sportsmanship, such as not hindering the opponent’s ability to make a return shot is also considered.



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