25 October 2010


Caution! Do only read this post if you tend to have 'let-stroke-no let' issues during your games, if you are both aware of the rules and play a fair game, just watch the video, as it's still a good rally between Gregory Gaultier and Karim Darwish. So, the below video stands here as a demonstration of a common situation in which, on club level, players, who don't know the rules completely, often tend to ask for a 'let', even though it is a classic 'no let' situation - as we can also deduct it from the fact that Gregory Gaultier wasn't even trying to contest the decision afterwards. Let's make the point: at 0:35 Gaultier plays a loose shot near the middle of the court on the forehand side, then he chooses to go around Karim Darwish on his backhand side, who, on his turn, plays - instead of the drop that Gaultier probably tried to anticipate - a deep dying drive into the back of the court, where Gaultier was initially finding himself when Darwish was starting to prepare his shot. So it's a clear 'no let' situation because as long as you hit a loose ball around the middle of the court you have to pay the price and go around your opponent regardless if you, meanwhile, have chosen to anticipate a shot in a way or in another. Or in other words, as long as your opponent is playing his shot from around the 'T' (which generally is the straight consequence of a loose ball played by you), it's you who have to go around him and not him to clear from the 'T' (admitting that he is not hitting the ball straight back to himself in which case you will get a stroke in your favour of course). This is what the rules state, but this is also what the common logics dictate: as long as you make the mess, you will be responsible to resolve the situation. If you could ask for a 'let' in these cases, it would mean that after each loose shot it would be sufficient to run quickly close to your opponent and bump into him pretending that he was in your way whilst you were trying to go for the ball. Of course he was in your way, as he was standing on the 'T' (the main position on a squash court we all are seeking for) whilst you were stuck behind him, and where ever he hits the ball he naturally will be in your way (unless he plays it straight to the side that you were anticipating, but that of course doesn't happen too often). Also, your loose ball was either a simply bad shot or more probably preceded by an efficient attack by your opponent that forced the loose shot. So a 'let' in this case would mean to punish the player who did everything well and subsidise the player who created the mess and the eventual interference.

Here is the applying official statement from the appendix of the rulebook:
At all times an opponent must allow the player unobstructed direct access to play the ball. However, sometimes the situation arises in which the opponent has caused no interference (i.e. the opponent has clearly provided the required direct access) but the player takes an indirect route to the ball which takes the player towards, or very close to, the opponent's position. The player then appeals for a let because of being "obstructed" in access to the ball. If there is no genuine reason for this indirect route, the player has created the interference where none otherwise existed and, if the player appeals, the Referee shall not allow a let. Whether the player could make a good return is not a consideration - in order to remain in the rally the player must get to and play the ball.