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Why Tennis Players Apologize On Net Balls

Suppose you are an avid tennis fan and have noticed how tennis players make a slight gesture acknowledging when a ball hits the net and wonder why that is the case.

The reason for this gesture is not limited to just tennis. The same happens in sports like table tennis and even volleyball. So, why do tennis players apologize for net balls?

Tennis players apologize on net balls to give the other player recognition and consolation for not being given a fair play chance. In tennis, getting a fortunate break because of a net ball might prevent the other player from having a decent opportunity to return the ball.

Tennis is all about skill and being able to get your head straight. One wouldn’t think an aspect of luck would play a role.

Here is why tennis players apologize for net cords during matches and the various scenarios that arise once a player has apologized for a ball that has touched the net.

Why Tennis Players Apologize For Net Balls During A Match

Simply put, fair play is the key. As much as it’s pretty normal to want to celebrate and cheer after getting the point and possibly the upper hand over your opponent, that isn’t precisely good sportsmanship. This is due to tennis etiquette.

It’s recognition that you just scored a point based more on luck than attested skill. Tennis has always been said to be a gentleman’s sport, and while some conventions have been modernized, numerous others still exist, like this one.

It is polite to acknowledge that you had a lucky break and won a point. It demonstrates respect for a competitor trying their best to win points. Rather than offering an apology, it’s more of a courtesy. The fortunate player informs the opposition that they received a lucky point only through the net cord.

It is improper for any gentleman to celebrate a triumph such as a point after said lucky net cord. In the same way that players unveil the tennis ball by extending it out for the other player to view shortly before serving the first serve with new balls, apologizing has always been standard tennis etiquette.

This is mostly an expression of gratitude for the right call being placed and an acknowledgment that luck had a more significant role in what happened rather than intention or execution.

What Happens After Players Apologize For Net Balls?

If the ball strikes the net and is thrown out, it is called out. The ball is considered out, and you effectively lose that serve if it touches the net on its path over and falls outside the service box. But there are two possibilities if the ball strikes the net and remains inside the court. This is either during a rally or a service.

Gameplay resumes typically if the ball strikes the net, crosses it, and falls inside the tennis court during a rally. There isn’t a call to out or repeat. The shot must be made by the opponent.

If the ball hits the net and falls in the appropriate place for service, it is a service. Then it is known as net. And the player serving is permitted a server once more without using up any service opportunities.

Simply put, the ball must be served once more if player A’s serve hits the net and lands inside the opponent’s receive box. This is because it’s a let and not a fault. Since you’re letting the tennis ball pass rather than counting it, it’s called a let.

The serve or point technically didn’t take place. It is known as a fault if the ball strikes the net and lands outside player B’s receive box. It is player A’s point if the ball hits and crosses the net during a serve-return or a rally and lands on player B’s court.

And if player B succeeds in hitting the ball after it hits the net and lands on their court, the point belongs to them, not player A, who shot the ball. In most cases, the point has already been won. Thus, the winner has no interest in playing a let to give the rival another opportunity to win the point.

Net cord shots are a normal aspect of the tennis game. Some players receive more than others because of how they strike the ball. This means that they aren’t precisely just an accident at all times. Many players certainly won’t begrudge getting one if their playing style leads to more of them.

Should You Apologize On Net Balls?

There are mixed feelings regarding whether tennis players should apologize for net balls. Some believe that they apologize because doing so is customary. When actually, the majority of players, if not all, don’t really feel bad about a net cord. Secretly, they are pleased to have picked up a cheap point.

Theoretically, they should balance each other and bring some drama to the match. It’s acceptable to add a tiny bit of luck to tennis in the form of net cords. Although it might sometimes be annoying for players, fans may see them as practically essential to the sport.

Tennis would be a little less exciting without them. Furthermore, there is a skill component as well. Risk and reward are involved. In addition to being more difficult to return, shots that are hit extremely near the net have a higher likelihood of finding the net.

Although net balls may seem to be frowned upon, they are equally an integral part of the sport. Usually, tennis is all about the player’s mental aspect and skill level. A little luck is generally much appreciated in a sport like this.


As mentioned above, tennis players apologize more as a courtesy for net balls. It is to acknowledge that the point they receive isn’t because of skill or intention.

Still, that luck played a role, and the opponent couldn’t respond as they would have if the ball had not touched the net. Although net balls garner mixed feelings, they are an essential part of tennis.