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Ask Aunt Sally – Receiver Readiness

MH Magazine

Question: I called the score 30-30. I served the ball. My opponent caught the ball and asked, ‘What is the score?’ Should she have played the ball and then questioned the score, or was it our point because she waited until the ball was in her court to ask? I did have the correct sore. My opponent said I had to serve again and we didn’t get the point.

Answer: This question is about receiver readiness. If the receiver indicated that she was “ready,” she cannot catch the ball. If she had a question as soon as you called the score, hopefully she would have raised her hand immediately. 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. A receiver who attempts to return the service shall be considered ready. If it is demonstrated that the receiver is not ready, the service cannot be called a fault.

USTA Comment 21.2: Once ready, can the receiver become unready? The receiver cannot become unready unless outsider interference occurs.

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

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