In a recreational league doubles match, one of our opponents had a very weak, high-arcing serve, so my partner and I agreed that I would try to come in and hit an overhead on the fly, which worked perfectly. But they objected, saying the serve needed to bounce before I could hit it. Is that true?

— Mike Bergman, Great Barrington, MA

It’s very true. No matter how satisfying it must have been to blast away that serve with an overhead, you violated Rule 24.e., which says a player loses the point if “the receiver returns the service before it bounces.”


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

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