Twelve squash rules that confuse tennis players

If you picked up squash after having played tennis for a while, rules could get a bit fuzzy. Squash rules that confuse tennis players

Certain rules are specific to squash. For example, you don’t get called for a “stroke” in tennis. Similarly, you don’t lose a point on a “double fault” in squash. Surprisingly,

So here’s a post focused on twelve squash rules that confuse tennis players.

Choice on serve: Unlike tennis, squash rules give you the freedom to serve from either the left or the right service box. So, if your opponent is left-handed, you can pick the service box on the left to serve to his/her backhand.

In tennis, you don’t have that luxury. Barring some tie-break situations you always have to start serving from the deuce court.

Jump and serve: Squash rules dictate that you have at least one foot in the service box before you hit the ball.

This rule does not apply in tennis. Both your feet can leave the ground when you serve. While beginners and intermediate players are often taught to keep their feet on the ground and arch their body for power, you will see most professional players jumping, especially on their first serves.

Volleying a serve: As a tennis player, you will be happy to know that you can volley a squash serve. A good volley against a weak serve puts the server on the defensive.

If you ever volley a serve in tennis, the point will go against you. Not that you‘d ever want to volley a serve, not even a second serve.

Double hits: A ball that strikes the racquet more than once is an illegal shot in squash.

In tennis, an unintentional double-hit is not a fault as long as it is in one continuous swing.

Lets and strokes: The hardest adjustment that a tennis player, switching to squash, has to make is playing within a confined space with an opponent on the same court. Rules behind “lets” and “strokes” allow players to have a fair chance of getting to and playing the ball without obstruction. Here’s a video that shows a let situation in a professional squash match.

Unlike tennis, where “lets” are mostly called when a serve touches the net cord and falls within the correct receiving court, lets and strokes have a bigger impact in squash.

Hitting your opponent with the ball: If you hit your opponent with the ball during a squash rally, the point can go in your favour or against you, depending on the situation.

In tennis, if you hit your opponent with the ball before it hits the ground, the point always goes in your favour.

Time allowed between points/games/sets: In squash, there is no set time limit between points. The play is expected to be continuous. Also, squash is more restrictive when it comes to intervals between games. The maximum time allowed between games in squash is 90 seconds.

In tennis, you are allowed 20 seconds between points. The maximum time allowed between sets in tennis is 120 seconds. In other words, if you hear about a tennis match that lasted five hours, the real playing time may be less than four hours.

Court lines and markings: In squash the floor markings are relevant only during the serve. A ball that touches any of the lines on the floor or the walls is “out”.

In tennis, a ball that touches any of the lines on the court is considered “in”.

Foot fault: The foot fault rule applies to both squash and tennis. If your feet touches the squash service box lines while you serve, it is considered a foot fault.

The foot fault rule in tennis states that you cannot touch the baseline or the centre mark with either foot during a serve. But, did you know that the foot fault rule extends to the imaginary extension of the sideline and the imaginary extension of the centre mark?

Fair View: The fair view rule requires you to provide your opponent enough time to view the ball and prepare to strike it as it returns from the front wall. This rule is rarely invoked and can be misinterpreted resulting in potential arguments on the court. For a clear explanation of this rule, check out “What is fair view?”

There is no equivalent of the fair view rule in tennis.

Further attempt: A further attempt is defined as a subsequent attempt by a player to return a ball that is still in play, after having already made one or more attempts to play it. You can never get a stroke on a further attempt even if your opponent is directly between you and the front wall. A let is allowed.

There is no equivalent of the further attempt rule in tennis.

Broken ball: If the ball breaks during a rally, a let is allowed for that rally. Additionally, if the receiver successfully appeals that a ball is broken before a serve is played, the previous rally has to be replayed.

You don’t have to worry about this rule in tennis. You discard balls way before they break.

So there you have it. Let me know if I have missed any squash rules that are distinctly dissimilar from tennis rules.

4 comments for “Twelve squash rules that confuse tennis players

  1. Andy Hind
    June 20, 2016 at 10:04 AM

    Dax, great article – thanks.It started me thinking …

    I was wondering. Having recently made the transition the other way around, i.e. from squash to tennis, a few recommendations for new rules to the latter came to mind which might benefit the game and tennis-playing community at large. For example;

    1. Leaving the club after winning your match and not offering to buy your opponent a drink ….. Definitely “bad form” in squash, but seemingly “de rigeur’ in tennis. Grounds for a penalty game at the next match?

    2. Always turning up for matches with tennis balls that could have been used by Fred Perry, or Rod Laver, in the expectation that your opponent will conscientiously have brought along a fresh tube. Another penalty game .. imposed immediately after the “pop-hiss” of the new tube being opened?

    3. Failing to run for drop shots. We squash players like playing drop shots – and even running for them. In fact, when we start playing tennis the drop may be one of the only good things we have in our limited repertoire of shots. So, come on tennis players, we want to see our opponents make an effort! Maybe an extra point deducted for not making a game of it?

    Best regards

    Andy

    • June 21, 2016 at 10:32 PM

      Totally support your rule No. 1…

  2. June 18, 2016 at 11:26 AM

    Great article – thanks.

    However, I have to make a couple of comments, in the hope of not confusing squash beginners:

    ‘Jump and serve: Squash rules dictate that you have at least one foot in the service box before you hit the ball.’
    Actually, this should read “……WHEN you hit the ball”, and not “BEFORE you hit the ball”.

    ‘Court lines and markings: In squash the floor markings are relevant only during the serve. A ball that touches any of the lines on the floor or the walls is “out”.’
    This is a bit of a generalisaton – for example a ball hitting the service line (the line in the middle of the front wall) is NOT considered out except during the serve.

    ‘Foot fault: The foot fault rule applies to both squash and tennis. If your feet touches the squash service box lines while you serve, it is considered a foot fault.’
    In squash, your foot IS allowed to touch the lines of the service box – provided that the other foot is NOT touching any of the lines and is within the service box.

    Sorry for being picky, but I think it’s important to be crystal clear where the rules are concerned – it avoids unnecessary discussions/arguments on court!

    Once again, great article – I’m sure the tennis players and squash players alike will read it with interest!

    • June 18, 2016 at 5:26 PM

      Barry,
      Thanks for keeping me honest.
      It’s a fine balance between the length of the post and the level of detail…

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