In a doubles match, I requested to have all three balls while serving. The receiver had the third ball in his pocket and refused to give it to us. Were we within our rights to ask for the ball, and were they within their rights to refuse?
— Gregory Maunz, Danville, CA
I can see the standoff now. Fortunately, The Code, Item 22, is on your side: “When a server requests three balls, the receiver shall comply when the third ball is readily available.” A ball in the receiver’s pocket is “readily available.”
Except where noted, answers are based on the ITF Rules of Tennis and USTA's The Code.
Got a question? Email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org