If you have been following our series on serving, we hope your serve is improving. But once you have mastered your technique, don’t lose a point because you don’t know the rules! Some of the finer points of the game may make all the difference
Who stands where?
The server must stand behind the baseline and within the imaginary extension of centre line and the singles sideline. In doubles, the server cannot stand beyond the outer edge of the tramlines.
The receiver has much more latitude. The receiver (and in doubles, the server’s partner) can stand wherever they like on their side of the net and this can be inside or outside the court. There are probably few, if any, occasions when you want to stand beyond the sidelines, but you may of course want to stand well behind the baseline for a big serve. The pros are so far back, they are often almost on top of the spectators.
Conversely, do not be tempted to get too close to the net. The serve must bounce before the receiver hits it.
Beware the hindrance
While the receiver can stand anywhere they like on their side of the net, they are not allowed to cause a hindrance.
A hindrance can be:
- Deliberate eg talking, waving your arms about or standing somewhere that is purposefully designed to put off your opponent(s)
- Unintentional eg someone sneezes and puts off the server
- Something outside the players’ control eg a squirrel decides to take up residence on the court, mid-match.
- Things outside the players’control exclude permanent fixtures. This means if your serve hits the net post or the umpire's chair before it lands in, the you lose the point.
If however, your return (or any point) hits a ball that your opponent has left on their side of the court, this is not a hindrance. It's a point for the server. This is because it is everyone’s responsibility to clear the balls on their side of the net
If there is a hindrance, the point is replayed
To see our series on, serving visit http://localtennisleagues.com/roundup