What Does LET Mean In Tennis? 2 Rules On Calling A Let

One of the most important rules in tennis is the ‘let’. For new players, it seems a rather strange and confusing rule. So, What Does LED Mean In Tennis? Continue reading for more details about rules on calling a “Let”!

What Is The Origin Of The Word Let In Tennis?

This cannot be said with certainty. Some assume it comes from the Saxon word “letting,” which means “hinder,” while others speculate that it might be an acronym for the French word “filet,” which means “net.”

“Let” or “Net?”

It is crucial to tell the difference between a ball that has gone into the net and is now out and a ball that has tipped or touched the net and is now in the court.

To make things simpler for everyone, LET is used for balls that tip the net and land in the proper area of the court, allowing for a second attempt, and NET is used for service balls that are faults.

Lets are only called out when a player serves a ball that tips over to the opposing side after touching the net, which only occurs when the ball is served.

Any balls that tip the net, cross it, and land inside the tennis court after the ball enters play are still in play. This is not a let.

Like any other ball in a rally, the receiver can play forehand, backhand, lobby, volley, or slam a ball that tips the net. After the ball tips the net, it may bounce once or not at all. Only one bounce is permitted, just like in every tennis rally.

What does LED mean in Tennis?

What does LED mean in Tennis
What does LED mean in Tennis

A “let” call in a tennis match implies that the players will replay the point. A let may be called during a serve (a service let) or a rally, among other times. The players resume playing the point after being called. In other sports, such as squash, there are “let” calls, which require the players to repeat a point if the ball striker unintentionally blocks the opponent’s access to the ball.

In tennis, there are just a few good reasons to call a “let.” It improves the game’s fairness. A let enables a player who suffers a disadvantage due to an unavoidable circumstance to replay the point without that disadvantage. 

Although it is only there to promote fairness and safety, the let rule can be one of the most annoying in the game of tennis, both for broadcasters and players. In essence, the rule indicates that the current moment must be paused and repeated if any of a list of events occurs.

The third form of let is when something has happened that would impair the players or endanger their safety, and the point is stopped as a result by the umpire or the players if the match is not umpired. For instance, the point will be stopped if a ball crosses from a neighboring court to ensure no player steps on it.

A situation where a point is reset from the beginning is what a let is, in essence. A let is called, and the point is replayed if a serve touches the net but lands in the intended area. A point will also be paused, and a new one started if it is interrupted by outside interference, such as the arrival of a ball from another court nearby.

*** Read more: Slicing In Tennis: 7 Steps to Perfect Tennis Slice Technique

Who Can Call A Let?

In competitive tennis, the “let” signal is given by the umpire. The players in a casual matchup can either agree that both players should agree on a call or nominate a third party. In a casual game, you can additionally provide a “no-let” rule, which prohibits the calling of any lets. This can result in a quicker match.

Rules On Calling A Let

Rules On Calling A Let
Rules On Calling A Let

#1. The Service Let

The difference between this and a fault is that, in the case of a fault, the ball either: 

– Strikes the net and stays in the server’s court rather than crossing over onto the opponent’s court.

– Land outside the serve box after hitting the net and moving into the other team’s court.

Because of this, a mistake results in the loss of the first serve or, if on the second serve, a point. Let the service result in the serve—whether it is the first or second serve—being repeated. The umpire will typically call “let, first (or second) service” after a let in a game of tennis serves.

How many serve-backs are permitted in a tennis match? The number of lets that can be called for one point is unlimited.

The nets are typically equipped with microphones in professional tennis matches so that even the most minor touches may be detected and the proper decisions can be made. You might only be able to identify a let serve in casual tennis visually. The majority of the time, you can tell when the ball hits the net because there is a discernible change in the ball’s speed and trajectory once it does.

#2. The Rally Let

Since the game’s rules are designed to prevent distractions beyond the players’ control, this kind of let is not particularly prevalent in professional tennis. A rally warning may be issued if a distraction impedes a player’s ability to continue the rally. A frequent instance of this is when you are playing in a complex with multiple courts, and balls from surrounding courts land on your court during a rally. Either player can then repeat the point by calling a let.

In particular situations, like when a spectator’s movement distracts a player, a let can be played in professional tennis. Usually, the only time fans are allowed to move is during changeovers. However, if a distraction does occur, the umpire can signal a “let,” in which case the players repeat the point.

How Many Times Can A Let Be Called In Tennis?

How Many Times Can A Let Be Called In Tennis
How Many Times Can A Let Be Called In Tennis

The number of lets that can be given out during a tennis match is unbounded. It is also conceivable to imagine a scenario where there are three service lets, a point is interrupted by an errant ball from the adjacent court, and three more service lets.

In this case, a point can take a while to begin. Due to this, the tennis governing bodies have been experimenting with the notion of doing away with the service let rule and mandating that players return any serve that lands in the correct box, regardless of whether it hit the net first.

While this might be more appealing to broadcasters, players typically despise it since a crucial point could be decided by a service that just falls over the net, leaving the recipient with no chance.

The Tie-Breaker

Let calls are intended to correct any unfair advantages that a player may experience throughout the match or for a legal serve that hits the net instead of landing on the opponent’s court.

While players determine who calls the lets or whether to call any lets at all in casual games, umpires in professional games are given the obligation of doing so. The point is constantly replayed after a let in tennis call.


Even though the let rule is explicitly intended to ensure fairness and safety, it is unpopular with spectators and can lead to arguments between players. The top players are rebuffing requests to change it, but eventually, it will probably be changed.

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