In a doubles match, we spun a racquet after the warm-up, rather than before it, as the rules state. Our opponents chose a side. As we were getting ready to start, they suddenly said they wanted the other side. They said they could do that because we had not started playing. Were they right?

— Zuzana Seba, Delta, BC, Canada

Ignoring some parts of a rule doesn’t give you license to ignore the rest of it. Rule 9 says “the choice of ends… shall be decided by toss before the warm-up starts.” Deciding after the warm-up is OK. But it also says the choice “shall be decided,” and it was. That “shall” makes the choices irrevocable, with the exception for when a rain delay interrupts the warm-up and players leave the court.


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

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