Which tennis rule has precedence… you play at the pace of the server or you can’t serve until the returner is ready? That question came into play this weekend as Bob Wilkie and I are attempting to defend our Pelican Bay Open Doubles title against three other very solid teams.
Here’s The Situation
We are in the sixth game of one of the three round-robin sets being played and I am serving into the deuce court. I go back to the service line, see the returner is in position and put my head down (a side-bar factor in this conversation: once I get my partner’s signal, put my head down and bounce the ball my regular three times, I go into my service motion without ever looking back up). I serve the ball and come to the net only to see my serve hitting the returner’s partner in the back – because they are having a strategy talk.
I apologize and go back and serve again. The next time when we are back in the deuce court, I go to the line to serve and the returner holds up his hand and his partner comes over for another chat!
After the match, we had a brief discussion that went something like this:
ME: “Sorry about serving into you guys, but the rule is you play at the server’s pace; so you can’t have regular strategy chats.”
THEM: “Yes we can. You can’t serve until we are ready.”
ME: “No you can’t.”
THEM: “Yes we can.”
Well, here is the relevant wording according to The Code:
21. WHEN TO SERVE & RECEIVE
The server shall not serve until the receiver is ready. However, the receiver
shall play to the reasonable pace of the server and shall be ready to receive
within a reasonable time of the server being ready.
USTA Comment 21.2: Once ready, can the receiver become unready? The receiver cannot become unready unless outside interference occurs.
Well, it would seem to me that a “reasonable pace of the server” would preclude the opponents having regular strategy chats.
What do you think?
P.S. Bob and I won that set and the two others we played; to move into the finals a week from Sunday. Stay tuned.
US Davis Cup
I think I am going to stop watching our team until we can come up with some men who can actually play this game. Very frustrating.
If you are not on my “new posting alert email list” and want to be (I promise, no other uses of your email address!), just drop me a note at George@seniortennisandfitness.com
My Book: and if you’d like to get a copy of “Senior Tennis”, just click on the link on the upper right of this web page.