In doubles, the server faulted, went through his normal second serve ritual and then, without looking up at the receiver, hit his serve. His second serve landed in the service box 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. What’s the correct call in this situation?

— Meeks Vaughan, Hillsborough, CA

The partner should not have gone over to chat with the returner, but your case presents an exception because the server did not look up. Rule 21  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. It’s a second serve.


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

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