What is A Let in Tennis? Answering some FAQs!

What is the most common phrase you get to hear in tennis? We’ll tell you, “Let first serve….” This is something that an umpire calls out to when the server serves a ball but it touches the net before landing on the other end. This is known as a “LET ball” and it allows the server to take the ball again.

Where does the term “LET” come from?

The term Let is used because the first throw at service isn’t counted or completed. As a player, you let the ball pass therefore, the term “LET” comes into existence. The server gets the chance to serve again regardless of whichever service it may be. You can either call it a let first serve or let the second serve.

A lot of people are off the view that since the ball is touching the net and not going over it, this should be called a “NET ball” and not a “LET ball”. But the thing is, “LET” ball as opposed to the term NET. This is because in this case, the ball is going over the net, not directly into it thus, the “LET” ball.

First, learn how to play.

Net or Let?

It is imperative that you make the distinction between NET or LET ball. Netball means the ball has gone directly into the net and there was no serve. Whereas a LET ball indicates the ball went directly over the net. It did slightly tip and touch over the net but did land on the court on the other side.

To simplify this whole phenomenon, let’s just put it this way. Netball is used for a service ball that is at fault whereas a LET ball touches the net but does lend on the court. However, it gives the server another chance to attempt their serve again.

But you need to keep in mind that “LETs” are only eligible for serve. Once the players are playing and the ball is flying here and there, if the ball hits the net and goes on the other side of the court then it will not be labeled as “LET”. Thus, the server cannot attempt them again.

Some FAQs about LET!

A lot of people, mainly those who are new to learning the terminology of LET often have several questions regarding this game. We did our research and found some of the most frequently asked questions. We are answering the lot of them below,

  • Who can call a let?

In singles and doubles, both of the players can call a let.

  • What will happen if a let is called?

If you’re serving a let, you will have to repeat your serve. If this happens the first time you’re serving, then you will get two additional serves. If you’re on your second serve, then you will get one additional serve.

  • When do you have to name a let?

If a let happens, it needs to be called as soon as possible so the players are aware of exactly what happened.

  • How many “lets” do you get in a row?

There is no limit to lets. You can have as many as you want in a single row.

  • Are you allowed to question a let?

No, players who are playing professional cannot question a let.


So, this is everything we could gather on the term “let”. Hopefully, we have answered all of your queries. If you do have more questions in this regard, do let us know through your feedback below.