As I have just stated in the introduction. A carry is when the ball stays on the strings for longer than a normal shot takes. In fact, here is the exact wording under the definitions section:
CORRECTLY: When the ball is struck with the racket, held in the hand, not more than once, and without prolonged contact on the racket.
The rule says “racket” but it means strings, because it defines racket as the frame, strings and grip.
I’ve seen this shot/action called a scoop, as the movement of the racket almost certainly describes a curved trajectory. It occurs most often with beginners trying to get the ball out of the back corners. I can actually be dangerous and I have seen a few near-injuries because of it.
I’ve also seen it happen at the very front of the court with low, soft shots, where the player has got their racket underneath the ball and somehow managed to scoop it across the front wall.
Many times beginners don’t even know they are doing it as they haven’t yet developed the awareness through their hands about different types of contact with the ball. Over time and practice, players get better at hitting the ball more cleanly, with straight frame trajectories.
Let’s Look at Some Other Similar Contact Issues.
If the frame makes contact with the ball and it is clean, i.e. hits only one place once, then the shot is legal. However, if it hits the frame and strings on two separate occasions, although very quickly, it is illegal. Honestly, that happens even less often than the carry.
The ball is NOT allowed to hit the hand, or any other part of your body, but if can hit any part of the racket and still be legal. However, the racket must be in your hand when it contacts the ball.
I have actually seen somebody throw a racket that hit the ball, which then hit the front wall and argue that is was allowed. At first we all laughed, but then realised he was serious. part of me wants the rules changed to allow this as I feel it would make some great rallies. Of course, it would eventually become dangerous and somebody would get hurt, but sometimes it’s nice to let you imagination run wild.
I don’t think there is anything else to say about ball/string contact, but if you have any funny stories or questions, just email me and I’ll respond and if appropriate update this article.