First or Second Serve....?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Chelsie1, Apr 17, 2013.

  1. Chelsie1

    Chelsie1 Rookie

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    My first serve was a fault. As I prepared to start my second, a ball from
    the next court stopped behind me about 4 feet back and one yard to my left.
    I walked over to it (about 3-4 steps) and scooted it to the back of the next court. I viewed this as an interruption between my first and second serve and so asked for a first serve. It was declined. Could/should I have called a let?
     
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  2. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    It is up to the returner whether it was an unreasonable disruption. The rules specifically say that a ball rolling over to the court between the first and second serves is not so rare as to be considered a disruption.

    Its up to the returners, but from your description it doesn't sound like I would have given you a first serve. For me it just comes down to whether someone has started their service motion. If this was the second minor delay then I will go ahead and give a first.

    You can't call a let before the point starts. Unscrupulous people may start their service motion and then "see" the ball thereby guaranteeing themselves a first serve.
     
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  3. Sim

    Sim Semi-Pro

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    No let. Only if you were in the process of hitting the 2nd serve (ball already tossed) would I give you a let call. Balls rolling into your court between a first and second serve happens quite often, so just get used to it.
     
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  4. mhj202

    mhj202 Rookie

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    I would definitely have given you a first serve.
     
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  5. IA-SteveB

    IA-SteveB Professional

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    I agree with others. That is hardly even a bother at all and I wouldn't have asked for or expected a first serve.
     
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  6. JLyon

    JLyon Hall of Fame

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    2nd serve as this is a common thing in tennis. Now if you had tossed the ball and begun your motion then a 1st serve would be warranted, but not in this case, unless you have an overly gracious opponent
     
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  7. Chelsie1

    Chelsie1 Rookie

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    Thank you all for the quick response. I certainly couldn't have demanded a first serve, but I felt I had the right to ask and she had a right to decline.
     
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  8. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    I would NOT have retrieved the ball until after the point unless it was in the way (a danger).
     
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  9. Chelsie1

    Chelsie1 Rookie

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    It was a yard behind me. Too close for comfort for me.
     
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  10. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    Gotcha. I'd have likely given you 2 (first serve) unless it didn't really interrupt.
     
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  11. lobman

    lobman Rookie

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    Rule is clear as has been pointed out--it's the returner's call. In most of the pick-up matches in which I play you would have been charitably given a let; you would have been given a let about 25% of the time in league matches!
     
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  12. burosky

    burosky Professional

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    In our neck of the woods when we play at a public park and we are next to courts with people who can barely control their balls we make an agreement with our opponents before the start of the match that all balls that go on our court would be called a let regardless of the situation. This takes care of any possible disagreement about the actual rule. Sometimes it works to our advantage and sometimes it does not. In the end we don't have any arguments about stray balls.
     
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  13. jrs

    jrs Professional

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    Clearly an interruption between first & second serve - 1st serve. Unless there is some sort understanding - that seems to be the case in this crowd.
    Where I play - if I have to go retrieve someone's ball between serves - it's an interruption - therefore first serve.

    The rule doesn't say if it happens often it's not a first serve!
     
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  14. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    When that happens to my opponents, I always give them a 1st serve. Even if it technically doesn't disrupt their service motion, its a disruption that shouldn't have happened, as its a ball that they had no control over.
     
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  15. TennisDawg

    TennisDawg Semi-Pro

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    I would give a 1st serve. Then you can proceed with the match and not have any lingering thoughts on both sides. It's just a recreational match!
     
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  16. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    No first serve, although I might give you one anyway to help set a friendly tone.

    Related question. My partner's first rolls behind the receiver. I think it isn't a problem, and receivers don't clear it. It keeps rolling slowly, and I belatedly call a let when it gets too close for comfort. By that time, partner has struck her second serves. Receivers do not give her a first serve.

    I thought that was pretty lame. I would have offered two out of gratitude that they sparred me a broken ankle.
     
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  17. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    Depends on the strength of your first and second serves....
     
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  18. NTexas

    NTexas New User

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    <--- likes this answer.
     
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  19. jrs

    jrs Professional

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    Serious situation

    A family friend stepped on one of those stray balls - hit her head - 6 months fractured skull - had to give up the game double vision.

    Don't fool around with those ball behind you.

    In this situation - point is in play "let" - means first serve.
     
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  20. mucat

    mucat Hall of Fame

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    In this case, it is because of the ball from your partner's 1st serve causing the interruption, so no 1st serve...... trying to understand where you opponent came from but this is probably one of those situation the rule can be interpret one way or the other.

    Anyway, in OP's case, I will give a 1st serve sure. It is an outside interference between 1st and 2nd, so 1st serve.
     
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  21. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    I think people are to fragile with this one. If the server hasn't started their second serve and little effort is required to clear the incoming ball (such as was described in the OP), then don't expect a new first serve. You missed your first one. The rule specifically states that the time to clear a ball doesn't warrant a new first serve. Heck, it is usually a bigger disruption for a singles player to clear their own first serve than the OP described.

    That said, I usually offer one anyway since that is what people expect and it is the standard around here.
     
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  22. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    There is a difference here between what many players do (receivers in this case) and what the rules state.

    Many receivers, maybe even most, will always give a first serve in this situation. I know I always do this if it is the server, as opposed to his partner, who must retrieve the ball even in league matches. I can't think of a 3.5 or 4.0 match I've played where someone didn't offer a first serve in this situation.

    However, the rules are clear that if the server was not in the motion of serving, then a second serve is to be made.
     
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  23. jrs

    jrs Professional

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    I didn't understand the rule. So if the ball arrives between serves 1 & 2 - no first serve.

    But I thought - you cannot have an interruption between 1st and 2nd serve?

    Also, Can I start the second serve and say let - ball on the court?
     
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  24. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    You can do that but it is on the thin line between gamesmanship and cheating.
     
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  25. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    In the exact situation of the OP (which is less common than having to walk over to the ball which happens not to be anywhere near where you are standing), I would not ask for a first serve, but I would grant one if requested. In the more typical situation as I described, I would ask for and 100% of the time, get a first serve.
     
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  26. jrs

    jrs Professional

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    Don't want to do that

    Definitely don't want to cheat or use gamesmanship - but the rule doesn't make sense to me. I was always under the impression you get 1st and 2nd serves without interruption.

    So most people are just being polite and giving first serves.

    PS: I would add this to the misunderstood rules - right beside the around the net post shot!
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2013
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  27. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    I would not have asked for, nor expected, another first serve but I usually offer opponents a first serve under those circumstances (the nice ones anyway). Most accept the opportunity, some decline. I've also been offered another first serve and only accept if retrieving and sending the errant ball to the owners took a while.
     
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  28. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    I guess the idea is that a ball rolling onto the court isn't an interruption any more than it would be to have to clear a ball that hit the fence and rolled back into the playing area. Why slow down the game for something that isn't causing any issue?
     
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  29. Will Wilson

    Will Wilson Rookie

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    My experience is in club play a first serve would likely be granted. Tournaments - no way. It would have to occur when the second serve motion had started.
     
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  30. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Had a situation like this occur just yesterday, a ball came over the fence and safely sheltered itself right next to the back fence, couldn't have asked for a more polite visiting ball. The opponent, (a pro vying for the title of world's worst dinosaur "teaching pro") immediately called for "two--, what a joke. I've seen club players who would call for "two" if there was a ball anywhere within a football field of them, including balls tossed to dogs in the poochie park. It was deeply embedded in his DNA, something to do with his engineering background. Some people are not clear on the concept that the point of tennis is to hit balls and not picking them up.
     
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  31. rufus_smith

    rufus_smith Professional

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    I like the idea of "when in doubt, don't slow the game down". This a sport, not a tea party. Play on.
     
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  32. tennis4josh

    tennis4josh Rookie

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    Extend the courtesy that you expect others to show you.
    If there is an interruption after the server lines up for 2nd serve behind the baseline then I offer him/her a first serve. It doesn't matter if they had started their service motion or not.

    -Josh
     
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  33. woodrow1029

    woodrow1029 Hall of Fame

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    Really? I would never expect a receiver to offer me a first serve just because a ball rolled into the court in between first and second serves. Nor would I offer a first serve unless it was in the service motion or after a ridiculously long delay.
     
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  34. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    I think it makes people look incredibly noobish when they ask for a first serve when a ball rolled over in between points.
     
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  35. Orange

    Orange Rookie

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    My partner missed her first serve. The receiver went after it, going along the fence behind the adjacent court to pick it up. My partner said, "you don't need to go after the ball when I miss my first serve, unless you want to give me two serves." The receiver laughed and said no--but then she didn't go chasing after missed first balls any more.
     
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  36. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    I'm surprised so many seem so persnickety about this. Sure, "rules are rules," but in general I think the server expects to maintain momentum and concentration throughout both serves--missed the first, more pressure on the second, don't need distractions.

    I don't see much difference whether a server has started their second serve motion or not when a ball rolls onto the court, either way play is interrupted. I'm not questioning y'alls citing of the rule, just some rules are kind of dumb.

    Is it that big of a delay for a server to "take two?" Hopefully not.

    I also think it's polite to go ahead and return that ball to the neighboring court rather than embark on a point while it's laying against your back fence.

    I don't think it's that big a deal either way. If a server hardly had to move to clear an errant ball I might not offer a first serve, but if he looked up questioningly I would. If he had to walk a few steps or more to clear it, I'd say "take two."
     
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  37. dcdoorknob

    dcdoorknob Hall of Fame

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    I don't expect others to offer me a 2nd if I have to clear a ball out that rolled right next to me or someone else between serves.

    If I could have executed a proper 2nd serve originally, but then can't after a 5-10 second delay, well how lame is that?
     
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  38. kylebarendrick

    kylebarendrick Professional

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    Singles players get delays all the time between serves - they don't have partners to clear the ball they just served into the net.
     
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  39. 2ndServe

    2ndServe Professional

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    I wish the standard is just to play a 2nd serve every time. I prefer it being on both ends as it's consistent this way. Getting 3 serves if a ball rolls over can change a lot of things.
     
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