In doubles, the server faulted, went through his normal second serve ritual and then, without looking up at the receiver, served. His second serve landed in the service box, bounced and narrowly missed the receiver’s partner, who had crossed to the receiver’s half of the court to deliver tactical advice to his partner. The receiver made no attempt to return the serve. A spirited discussion ensued. What’s the correct call in this situation?

— Meeks Vaughan, Hillsborough, CA

Under Rule 21 the partner should not have traipsed over to chat with returner (see the previous question), your case presents an exception because the server did not look up. Rule 21 also says “the server shall not serve until the receiver is ready.” The server has to check on the receiver before going into his service motion. Second serve.


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

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