My partner had tossed the ball and was hitting her first serve when one opponent called for a time-out, and didn’t return the good serve because her partner was watching the match on the next court. Can she call a let because her partner wasn’t paying attention, or should that have been our point?
— Gordon Paulus, Gulf Breeze, FL
It was your point. Rule 21 says the server “shall not serve until the receiver is ready.” That means the server must look at the receiver and determine that they are in a ready position. Presumably that was the case here. From that moment on, the receiver “cannot become unready unless outside interference occurs,” (USTA Comment 21.2). The status of the receiver’s partner is irrelevant.