In a league doubles match, my first serve was returned for a winner. The receiver’s partner said the serve was long, but the receiver was sure that the serve was good. What should happen? Did the receiving team win the point, or is it a second serve?

—Mark Charney, Lexington, MA

How about...neither? Thanks for pointing out a conflict between Items #6 and #14 in The Code, one that rules experts are continuing to debate with no consensus. Item #6 says that when making calls, the “opponent gets the benefit of the doubt.” The receiving pair making opposite calls on the serve indicates “doubt.” The “benefit” in this case would be a second serve because of the fault call.

But Item #14 says, “if one partner calls the ball out and the other partner sees the ball good, the ball is good.” Well, in this case if the serve is “good,” then the receivers win the point because of the return winner. Logic tells us that it should be a second serve. Unfortunately, The Code doesn’t.


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

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