One of the main discussion points at the US Open was that there have been many examples of players being penalised in accordance with rule 8.6.5 (if the striker would have been able to make a good return but the opponent was not making every effort to avoid the interference, a stroke is awarded to the striker).
Referees are also being encouraged to look for the incoming player’s movement once rule 8.6.5 has been enforced, especially as it can encourage the incoming player to look for the back of the opponent rather than take a genuine line to the ball.
If a player does move towards the opponent rather than taking a direct line then rule 8.8.1 (if there was interference but the striker did not make every effort to get to and play the ball, no let is allowed) will be applied.
It is also worth remembering that there can be simple lets; rule 8.6.6 (if there was interference that the opponent was making every effort to avoid and the striker would have been able to make a good return, a let is allowed)
Freedom to strike the ball to any part of the entire front wall – this is an area where referees are continuing to be encouraged to get players to hit the ball when it is safe and possible to do so. Strokes will only be awarded if there is obviously no straight or crosscourt line for the opponent to hit, otherwise a let or no let comes into play.
Racket Preparation – it is important to make sure that when a player is asking for a decision, that there is always a genuine attempt to look to hit the ball at all times, this is achieved by using an appropriate racket preparation in relation to where the ball is on the court. For example, there is no need for the racket to be head height if a player is moving into the front corner for a counter drop. Referees are being encouraged to identify this kind of excessive or exaggerated swing.
We hope the above helps to provide an understanding of what is constantly being discussed at events or behind the scenes and will offer clarity in relation to what is required of each party in certain scenarios.