Net vs. Let. When the serve comes over and touches the top of the net, anyone on the court can call “Net,” meaning just that … the ball has touched the top of the net coming over. But only the receiving team can label the point as a “Let,” meaning that after the ball had touched the net, it then landed in the service box and the opposing server get another first/second serve. Common Language
In professional tennis, players are not allowed to challenge a let call. Is it ‘let’ or ‘net?’ Some players mistakenly refer to a ‘let’ as ‘net.’ If you hear a player call out a ‘net,’ it’s safe to assume they mean ‘let.’ Does a let count as a fault? No. A service let suggests the ball hit the net and successfully landed in the correct service box. The server should repeat their serve.
Let’s start with the standard let call you’ll see in professional tennis, the service let. A let in tennis is called when a server strikes the net with the ball on his/her service, and the ball lands in the opponent’s service box legally (i.e., in the service zone). The distinction from a fault is that for a fault, the ball either:
The service is a let: (a) If the ball served touches the net, strap or band, and is otherwise good, or, after touching the net, strap or band, touches the Receiver or anything which he wears or carries before hitting the ground. (b) If a service or a fault is delivered when the Receiver is not ready (see Rule 12).
The served ball touches the net, strap or band, and lands in the correct court. The served ball touches the net, strap or band and then touches the receiver, the receiver’s partner or anything they wear or carry before hitting the ground. The ball is served when the receiver is not ready. When it is a let serve, that particular serve does not count and the server shall serve again.
Can your racket go over the net in tennis? Yes it can, but only if the initial contact is made on your side of the court. If you do this and the racket crosses over the net as part of the follow through on your swing, that’s fine. You just have to ensure you don’t touch the net at any point. ITF Rules Of Tennis Rule 25e
USTA Friend at Court, ITF Rules of Tennis, Section 23. This rule specifies that the entire point is to be replayed when a let is called, with the exception of the service let. Apparently that was not clear enough because at some point a case ruling was needed. Case 1: When the ball is in play, another ball rolls onto court. A let is called.
This alternative is play without the service let (Rule 22.a) whereby a serve that touches the net, strap or band is in play. ITF Rules of Tennis, Appendix V. The NCAA eliminated service lets in men’s tennis because the players make their own calls. That created an incentive for players to call a phantom let anytime their opponent hit an ace.
NET vs LET: Many people believe that since the ball is touching the net and crossing it, it should be referred to as a NET ball rather than a LET ball. This is incorrect. The term LET is used instead of NET because the term NET refers to when the ball travels into the net rather than over it, which is considered a mistake.