Where can the returner’s partner stand and what can he do while the serve is coming? That was the topic after tennis today and the answers are not clear (to me at least).
One player said that he normally stands “right next to the service line tee” when his add-court partner is returning serve. He justified it by saying that he “wanted to see the line call better”; but I am sure it is done to intimidate the server on his second serve.
This player also says that he bounces around and twirls his racquet while standing there.
When challenged at a recent tournament, he said the local USTA official said:
• He can stand “anywhere he wants” – even on his partner’s side of the court (as long as he doesn’t touch the serve)
• And that he can do all those motions – as long as he does them “all the time” when his partner is returning serve, and not just at critical times to distract the server.
Both of those rule interpretations sound “wrong” to me … if not technically, then at least sportsmanship wise.
I looked through the tennis rules I have and couldn’t find any direct reference. Who knows the real answer?