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View Full Version : Do you have the right to call your own serve out?


NE14Tennis?
05-23-2009, 06:24 AM
I was playing a match with a guy I've played before whom I always considered fair, sometimes even generous, with his calls. At 4-4, 30-all in the 2nd set, I hit a hard serve which I saw about three inches long. I was preparing for a second serve when the ball came back at my feet. I let it go as I thought we both understood it to be long, although I probably didn't have a play on it anyway. He then called 30-40 and I was stunned. In all fairness, he may have been focused on the return and not seen that the ball was long or that I was preparing for a second offering, but nonetheless...
What exactly is the rule in this case. Does the returner have the right to play an out serve? Does the server have the right to call his own serve out, even if the returner has smacked it for a winner? Hmmmmm.

NE14Tennis?
05-23-2009, 06:26 AM
BTW, we ended playing a let, at which point I served a double-fault (which brought it to 30-40 anyway) and lost a dogfight of a service game (six deuces)!

kylebarendrick
05-23-2009, 06:29 AM
No, you cannot call your own first serve out (unless your opponent did not return it). Your opponent may be giving you the benefit of the doubt and played it in good faith.

split-step
05-23-2009, 06:35 AM
I played a match about 2 weeks ago where my opponent hit a first serve that was on the line and I hit an up the line return winner.
He then told me it was out and was going to hit a second serve.

I told him it was in and went to receive on the ad court.

It is the receiver's call.

KerryJ
05-23-2009, 06:39 AM
I have a friend who does this all the time. Like, all the time. Sometimes I'll just catch his return and say "You're an idiot, there's no way we're playing that"

But he always agrees to our calls because he knows how bad he is about it

NE14Tennis?
05-23-2009, 06:43 AM
What if your serve doesn't even land in the court and the receiver hits it back - he still has the right to play it?

Steady Eddy
05-23-2009, 08:21 AM
What if your serve doesn't even land in the court and the receiver hits it back - he still has the right to play it?You mean like the serve goes over the baseline? Then the receiver plays it like it is a good serve? Technically, that's the receiver's call, but that's a pretty far out scenario you've got there. Yours was more realistic, where you thought the serve was only out by two inches. It's believable that your opponent couldn't tell so he played it. This means you should have been ready, go by if it's been called, not by what you see. BTW, if he had missed on his return, then he would have lost the point. None of this "two chance" stuff. This means that when he returned it, he should call "out" before being able to see what his return is.

Players don't know this at my club. I'll hit 6 inches deep and be ready to play because there's no "out" call. I hit their return and then they say, "The serve was out." I could tell it was out, but it's up to them to call it out. So finally, I'll figure, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. I'll hit a first serve 6 inches out, and get ready for the second serve, even though there's no "out" call. This time, though, they PLAY the serve. I'll say, "Wasn't the serve out?", and they reply, "No, no. Serve was good." Arrgh. :mad:

I wish pros would teach people this stuff. They'll accept it from their pro. But if I say, "On that point you should have blah blah blah..." They'll just think I'm a bad sport. Tennis is more pleasant when everyone is on the same page.

Cindysphinx
05-23-2009, 08:43 AM
This happened to my partner about an hour ago. She hit a serve, it looked about 6 inches long to me. Returner ripped it. My partner stood there and made no move for the ball because she thought the return was deep.

Score it love-15.

We knew better than to ask for a let.

kylebarendrick
05-23-2009, 12:16 PM
Tennis is more pleasant when everyone is on the same page.

Which is why we have a rule book!

tonyg11
05-23-2009, 01:06 PM
Bad calls on serves happen to me all the time. My friend serves 120mph + and if he hits close to the line there is NO WAY i can tell if it's in or out without a line judge especially if i'm focusing on the return.

But to answer your question, yes it's the reciever's call. If it happens rarely don't sweat it. Always be ready to play the point. If it happens often, call for a line judge.

Cindysphinx
05-23-2009, 01:29 PM
And make sure they give you an audible or visible line call on serves. That say you will instinctively know that silence means the point is on. It's hard when silence means both "in" and "out."

Cruzer
05-23-2009, 06:21 PM
Does the returner have the right to play an out serve? Does the server have the right to call his own serve out, even if the returner has smacked it for a winner? Hmmmmm.

Of course the server can't call his own serve out just like you can't make any other line calls on your opponents side of the net or double bounces.

I frequently see long serves and out balls played in singles matches and I know I have done it. The receiver is typically focused on the ball and when the ball is close to the line on a serve or any other shot it is easy to play it when it is not clearly out. I never assume one of my shots is out until the opponent calls it out.

plasma
05-23-2009, 06:46 PM
server can never call his own serve....I had to stop a point last week. An opponent played an obviously out first serve. Afterward he acted like he was being generous by not calling my serve long and "just playing it, he he.".
We played a let, and I asked him to be more honest and stop trying to distract me with such a bs tactic next time....doubt it would have gone down this way in tournaments.
If you are playing college or other tournaments and someone tries shady crap like this, get the tournament director and a ref out there quick.

raiden031
05-24-2009, 04:54 AM
In any given match, I would say there are at least half a dozen first serves that I hit out and the returner still plays it. I know that it is the same when I'm returning so it evens out. I think its a good rule to follow, that way the server can't decide whether it should be called in or out based on how well the return is hit.

hrstrat57
05-24-2009, 07:27 AM
Being generous calling the service line is a tactic we sometimes have to use to keep the match moving - let's all be honest about it. Calling ever single serve out when your playing partner is having a bad day in a recreational match is no fun for either player. We are out there to hit the ball......

Ripping a winner off your "generous" call is not generous.

It's gamesmanship.

....and weak.

Hit a nice neutral return and let's play....

Cindysphinx
05-24-2009, 09:48 AM
Being generous calling the service line is a tactic we sometimes have to use to keep the match moving - let's all be honest about it. Calling ever single serve out when your playing partner is having a bad day in a recreational match is no fun for either player. We are out there to hit the ball......

Ripping a winner off your "generous" call is not generous.

It's gamesmanship.

....and weak.

Hit a nice neutral return and let's play....

Really?

I don't call a serve in if I know it is out for the purpose of moving along a social match.

I figure if the server can't hit the box, then calling the line correctly means she will lose her serve quickly and then we can have someone else serve who *can* hit the box.

David_Is_Right
05-24-2009, 11:17 AM
+10 for this thread... I really didn't know this. My hitting partner whacks the ball back on pretty much any serve and usually doesn't call.

raiden031
05-24-2009, 02:02 PM
Ripping a winner off your "generous" call is not generous.

It's gamesmanship.

....and weak.

Hit a nice neutral return and let's play....

You have no obligation to go easy the next shot after giving your opponent the benefit of the doubt. That is rediculous.

Kick_It
05-24-2009, 04:14 PM
"The Code" says (to the effect of) the receiver can call the first serve.

Years ago I was playing a match in age 35 singles in our state championships with an umpire (in training) on our court only.

I was serving @ 3-2 and hit a 1st serve that was nearly three feet out, (no call), opponent does a feeble return that I deliberately volley into the net to proceed to 2nd serve. I was told it was his point (and was rather *displeased*). I asked the umpire if she saw the ball and she said it was my opponent's call. I then asked her why she was there and was told to handle questioned/disputed calls. I proceeded to question the call but she did nothing.

About the only thing that happened was I lost my cool and the set 4-6.

Weeks later I did look it up in the code and see that the receiver (not the server) calls the 1st serve.

Crummy time for me to learn that lesson. At least now I know better.

Steady Eddy
05-24-2009, 05:01 PM
Weeks later I did look it up in the code and see that the receiver (not the server) calls the 1st serve.

Crummy time for me to learn that lesson. At least now I know better.
There's two parts to this. One part you know, yes-you should have known the rule that the first serve is the receiver's call. The second part is that there's no way the receiver should have played a serve that was out by 3 feet like it was good. The Code really does help prevent conflicts with honest players. If somebody's going to cheat, well, it says that it's not an antidote to willful cheating. Maybe she deliberately played an out serve in an attempt to catch you off-guard? I think it says in The Code not to do that, but there's nothing you can do about that.

beernutz
05-24-2009, 06:05 PM
"The Code" says (to the effect of) the receiver can call the first serve.

Years ago I was playing a match in age 35 singles in our state championships with an umpire (in training) on our court only.

I was serving @ 3-2 and hit a 1st serve that was nearly three feet out, (no call), opponent does a feeble return that I deliberately volley into the net to proceed to 2nd serve. I was told it was his point (and was rather *displeased*). I asked the umpire if she saw the ball and she said it was my opponent's call. I then asked her why she was there and was told to handle questioned/disputed calls. I proceeded to question the call but she did nothing.

About the only thing that happened was I lost my cool and the set 4-6.

Weeks later I did look it up in the code and see that the receiver (not the server) calls the 1st serve.

Crummy time for me to learn that lesson. At least now I know better.

The only exception to a server calling their own first serve a fault is if the receiver doesn't put the ball in play. See the italicized section below. A server can of course call all the second serves out they want since this concedes the point to the receiving team.

26. Service calls by serving team. Neither the server nor server’s partner shall
make a fault call on the first service even if they think it is out because the receiver
may be giving the server the benefit of the doubt. There is one exception. If the
receiver plays a first service that is a fault and does not put the return in play, the
server or server’s partner may make the fault call. The server and the server’s
partner shall call out any second serve that either clearly sees out.

hrstrat57
05-24-2009, 07:40 PM
Really?

I don't call a serve in if I know it is out for the purpose of moving along a social match.

I figure if the server can't hit the box, then calling the line correctly means she will lose her serve quickly and then we can have someone else serve who *can* hit the box.

Agree, I was thinking singles play vs doubles....

hrstrat57
05-24-2009, 07:43 PM
You have no obligation to go easy the next shot after giving your opponent the benefit of the doubt. That is rediculous.

Guess I wasn't clear here. Calling a serve in that you know is out for the purpose of ripping a clean winner is gamesmanship......

Hate to admit it, didn't know the server could call a 2nd serve out thus conceding the point.....tho I guess it makes sense. I'll have to look that one up.

LuckyR
05-24-2009, 08:47 PM
Guess I wasn't clear here. Calling a serve in that you know is out for the purpose of ripping a clean winner is gamesmanship......

Hate to admit it, didn't know the server could call a 2nd serve out thus conceding the point.....tho I guess it makes sense. I'll have to look that one up.

No it is right there in the rules, anyone including the server, can call the second serve out.

As to calling an out serve in, it isn't gamesmanship it is either stupid or cheating. If the first serve is out, it would only make sense to call it in if you fear the second serve more and when is that going to happen? Never, unless there is a crazy mi55hit that is a sitter, in that case calling it in is cheating, not gamesmanship.

Steady Eddy
05-24-2009, 09:47 PM
in that case calling it in is cheating, not gamesmanship.
?? :confused: I thought gamesmanship was cheating?

LuckyR
05-24-2009, 10:09 PM
?? :confused: I thought gamesmanship was cheating?

Most define gamesmanship as trying techniques to win that, though technically legal, go against the spirit of the game. For example, mentioning out loud to the 4th server in a doubles match (in the 4th game), "say, I noticed there have been no break points in any of the first three games", right before he starts serving the game. There is no specific rule against it but there is no doubt it's sole intention is to make the guy think about his serve so he can be broken.

Kick_It
05-24-2009, 10:27 PM
"Originally posted by Steady Eddy

There's two parts to this. One part you know, yes-you should have known the rule that the first serve is the receiver's call. The second part is that there's no way the receiver should have played a serve that was out by 3 feet like it was good." (oops forgot to do the quote previous message the right way)


Arguably there is a 3rd part to this - at least in my case:

Don't assume that even if there is an umpire present that they'll be able to recognize the 2nd part in favor of the honest person and penalize the dishonest/gamesmanship player. That's the part that caused me to lose my composure.

An older and wiser, K_I

Steady Eddy
05-25-2009, 09:21 AM
"Originally posted by Steady Eddy

There's two parts to this. One part you know, yes-you should have known the rule that the first serve is the receiver's call. The second part is that there's no way the receiver should have played a serve that was out by 3 feet like it was good." (oops forgot to do the quote previous message the right way)


Arguably there is a 3rd part to this - at least in my case:

Don't assume that even if there is an umpire present that they'll be able to recognize the 2nd part in favor of the honest person and penalize the dishonest/gamesmanship player. That's the part that caused me to lose my composure.

An older and wiser, K_I
So you mean they missed that a serve was out by 3 feet? I bet that's because they weren't even paying attention. I think they space out there alot. Otherwise no one could miss a call by that much.

Kick_It
05-25-2009, 09:55 AM
Yep. She must have been looking at another court or elsewhere.

slick
05-25-2009, 04:51 PM
I question your ability to tell a serve was "3 inches" out after hitting a serve and in the act of moving into position across the net on the other side of the court. When I am serving on any close call I can't tell wether it's in or out from the other side of the court.

There is a guy I play doubles with frequently. He has a very hard serve which is always or or near the line. Frequently I just can't tell for sure if it's in or out so I give the server the benefit of the doubt as anybody should. Whenever a winner gets ripped off a close serve he thinks might have been out he gets all huffy, not considering all the free points he has received earlier in the match from him getting the benefit of close calls.

I personally love it when an opponent is playing my out serves. It will be to my benefit over the course of the match.

calamansi
05-26-2009, 02:36 AM
The only exception to a server calling their own first serve a fault is if the receiver doesn't put the ball in play. See the italicized section below. A server can of course call all the second serves out they want since this concedes the point to the receiving team.

26. Service calls by serving team. Neither the server nor serverís partner shall
make a fault call on the first service even if they think it is out because the receiver
may be giving the server the benefit of the doubt. There is one exception. If the
receiver plays a first service that is a fault and does not put the return in play, the
server or serverís partner may make the fault call. The server and the serverís
partner shall call out any second serve that either clearly sees out.

I recently served one (first serve) a good 3 inches to the (out) side of the service line, which my opponent thought was in and tried but failed to reach. He was walking back to the ad side for the next point when I stopped him and informed him that my serve was wide. Is that what this rule is referring to?

rasajadad
05-26-2009, 05:21 AM
No. You can only call your 2nd serve out.

zebano
05-26-2009, 07:18 AM
I recently served one (first serve) a good 3 inches to the (out) side of the service line, which my opponent thought was in and tried but failed to reach. He was walking back to the ad side for the next point when I stopped him and informed him that my serve was wide. Is that what this rule is referring to?

I believe that is precisely what this refers to

If the receiver plays a first service that is a fault and does not put the return in play, the server or serverís partner may make the fault call

pennc94
05-26-2009, 07:23 AM
May the server (or server's partner in the case of doubles) call his own service let?

beernutz
05-26-2009, 08:36 AM
I recently served one (first serve) a good 3 inches to the (out) side of the service line, which my opponent thought was in and tried but failed to reach. He was walking back to the ad side for the next point when I stopped him and informed him that my serve was wide. Is that what this rule is referring to?

Your situation is exactly what that part of the rule refers to imo.

beernutz
05-26-2009, 08:37 AM
No. You can only call your 2nd serve out.

No, you can also call your first serve out if the receiver doesn't return it in play.

woodrow1029
05-26-2009, 08:39 AM
May the server (or server's partner in the case of doubles) call his own service let?
Anybody can call a service let.

Cindysphinx
05-26-2009, 09:11 AM
Anybody can call a service let.

In my circle, service lets are called like this:

"Oh, hey, did anyone else hear that? I thought I heard a let. No? Really? I could have sworn I heard a let. Um, maybe I was imagining things. Take two!!"

Ugh. If you heard a let, say "Let." No need to take a poll. That's all that needs to happen.

Cindy -- who doesn't like it when people argue about lets because if one person heard it, then it was a proper let

drakulie
05-26-2009, 09:33 AM
http://i166.photobucket.com/albums/u96/MohamedHusain/emos/EarWax.gif

sureshs
05-26-2009, 09:40 AM
In my circle, service lets are called like this:

"Oh, hey, did anyone else hear that? I thought I heard a let. No? Really? I could have sworn I heard a let. Um, maybe I was imagining things. Take two!!"

Ugh. If you heard a let, say "Let." No need to take a poll. That's all that needs to happen.

Cindy -- who doesn't like it when people argue about lets because if one person heard it, then it was a proper let

Yes, hearing does go with age, specially the finer frequencies. Some of my older partners don't hear the let that I do hear. Sometimes only the net people can hear it. A server who got in a good serve (finally) can get upset if a let is called. A returner with a good return can get upset. They end up challenging your calls.

Cindysphinx
05-26-2009, 09:43 AM
So long as they call it immediately, I trust them (and their failing hearing) and believe them.

I mean, my hearing is nothing to brag about, so the fact that I didn't hear a let doesn't mean there wasn't a let (triple negative sentence construction score!).

It's the delayed call that is most bothersome. Where they kind of wait to see if it was an ace. Arg!

drakulie
05-26-2009, 09:45 AM
^^maybe they were just waiting to hear the echo???

Kick_It
05-26-2009, 11:18 AM
Lets are interesting.

People who call lets when they aren't (how is a serve that clears the net by more than an inch a let?!?!) is something I encounter way more than anyone should. I've had it happen at Category II age division tournaments too.

I bet this is why college switched to playing lets (and frankly wish the tournaments I play in did the same).

I am particularly interested in Woodrow's input/feedback on how to handle those situations both when there is an umpire present and there is not.

thanks, K_I

cak
05-26-2009, 11:42 AM
I occasionally hit a spin serve that sounds like a let, despite clearing the net by 5 or 6 inches. And yes, it's pretty much always called a let. It is frustrating, and I quit working on that serve, as it's not effective if it seldom counts.

brianbrothers009
06-04-2009, 05:28 PM
I have a friend who does this all the time. Like, all the time. Sometimes I'll just catch his return and say "You're an idiot, there's no way we're playing that"

But he always agrees to our calls because he knows how bad he is about it

Hey Screw You Bro