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Ask Aunt Sally – Doubles Match Second Serve

MH Magazine

Question: In a doubles match, the server serves the first serve. The returner calls a fault and attempts to hit the ball down into the net and wait for the second serve. The ball misses the net and rolls around to the server’s side of the court as the server is walking back for a second serve. The returner holds up her hand and asks the server to remove the ball from her side of the court. The server wants a first serve because it was a let. The returner said there was no let called – the server’s second serve was not in motion as she was still walking back to the baseline. What is the ruling?

Answer: In Friend at Court it says: ‘The time it takes to clear a ball that comes onto the court between the first and second serve is not considered sufficient time to warrant the server receiving two serves unless the time is so prolonged as to constitute an interruption. The received is the judge of whether the delay is sufficiently prolonged to justify giving the server two serves.’ In this case, a first serve would only be warranted if the server were in the act of serving when the ball rolled onto the court.

If you have a question for Aunt Sally, submit it here.

3 Comments on Ask Aunt Sally – Doubles Match Second Serve

  1. Alysia Bowsher // August 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm // Reply

    Did you mean a “first serve would only be warranted if the server were in the at of serving when the ball rolled onto the court?” You said second serve. Thanks.

  2. If I understand the situation described, I disagree with Aunt Sally. The receiver caused the errant ball to be in the server’s court. Then the receiver “demanded” that the server remove the ball from the server’s court. Good sportmanship would require the receiver to give the server a let.

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