Tee For Two?

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?

6 thoughts on “Tee For Two?

  1. This certainly falls under the A-WHOLE Rule in Tennis. I have seen this along with verbal grunts and annoying sounds. Unfortunely, this was allowed to continue after complaints at Districts a few years ago. The officials did speak to the team captain about the sportmanship issue, but the captain said that this is normal and usual for this player and did not attempt to confront his own player. Ignoring this person is propably best.

  2. Hi George,
    Regardless of what any rule might state, in my view it’s bush league for anyone to do anything or stand anywhere (e.g., right on the edge of the tee) when he or his partner is receiving serve that would purposely distract their opponent. Has anyone ever seen legitimate doubles champions (e.g., the Bryan Brothers or Jim Whiting and Joel Drucker) do such a thing?!
    Phil

    Phil – that is how i feel! george

  3. I have found that when I play close to the T, if the serve comes down the T, I have to move to my left so not to obstruct my own partner. I find that I change my position to correspond to the position of the opposing net player, not so much to balk the server. If the net player is hitting to the middle a lot, I will move to cover the middle. I agree with the posters, people that would crowd the middle to annoy the server, would be in the bush league category and I would make a point of not playing with that person, if I could avoid it.

  4. I concur with all these comments. This is one of those sad situations where some folks just have terrible manners. These are the people that probably need signs posted in restaurants that say, “Don’t spit at the adjacent diners.”

    That said, Mike’s mostly right: play the ball, that’s the game.

    There are times — but not many — when I take what I call the Columbo approach: kindly, dim-witted confusion, asking something like, “Excuse me?”

    Another approach that I’ve never quite had the nerve or, more likely, the skill to pull off is to nail the netman on the fly with the serve and take the point. Something tells me that might empty both benches.

    Joel – you got a “laugh out loud” (is that LOL in today’s language??) on your spitting comment! On aiming for the guy… that is what he says some people try to do! george

  5. It’s my understanding that the returner’s partner can stand in the return box, but cannot move from it once the toss goes up. Interestingly enough, the server takes the point if manages to hit the returner’s partner no matter where he is standing. Enter the service box at your own risk. 🙂

    Charles – you sure about that first point??? Doesn’t sound logical. geo

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