After faulting on my first serve and getting ready for my second serve in a doubles match, the receiver walked over to his partner to discuss strategy. I waited for about 15 seconds. I finally said that he can’t delay my second serve and demanded a first serve. Was I correct?

— Barry Wank, Plantation, FL

Absolutely. A first-serve fault is not an excuse for doubles receivers to reboot their defensive strategy. While the receivers can become “unready” because they need to clear the ball (per USTA Comment 21.2), Rule 21 requires that they still “be ready to receive within a reasonable time of the server being ready.” Taking 15 seconds to mull things over is unreasonable. They should have granted you a first serve and refrained from doing this again.


Except where noted, answers are based on the ITF Rules of Tennis and USTA's The Code.

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