How would you handle this call?

fe6250

Semi-Pro
I had a situation the other night playing indoor doubles where my opponent took a swing at my missed first serve and deflected it over the back wall. I had the other ball in hand, but before I could serve he left the court and went 'looking' for the ball he had hit - returning about 30 seconds to a minute later (I can't be sure how long - but it was more than a quick retrieval). Anyway - when he returned I said 'First Serve?' - and his partner pointed out that I missed the first serve and it was a second serve. Being a social event (or at least I thought it was!) - I simply didn't argue and promptly double faulted and went on to the next point. So - 2 questions:

1.) In a match would I have a right to a first serve? I believe I read somewhere that if an opponent chase down a first served ball unnecessarily this might apply.

2.) Does anyone else think that this behavior is a little less than friendly for social tennis?
 

darkhorse

Semi-Pro
That seems like a blatant ploy to throw you off, not sure what the official rules say but I would do what you did and expect to get a first serve.
 

WBF

Hall of Fame
I don't know the specifics, but that seems wrong. He can either retrieve the ball and give you a first serve, or let it go and continue play. You couldn't run off and cause a let, but he did.

What he did was very rude and unsportsman like. I would return the favor when serving to his opponent, and might let my first serve wander dangerously close to his toes... But then, I'm still immature :)
 

fe6250

Semi-Pro
I would return the favor when serving to his opponent, and might let my first serve wander dangerously close to his toes... But then, I'm still immature :)
Interesting response. Believe me the thought crossed my mind!
 

CAM178

Hall of Fame
That seems like a blatant ploy to throw you off, not sure what the official rules say but I would do what you did and expect to get a first serve.
I don't think it's blatant, as I see this quite a bit on courts. Like you, probably, it shocks me every time. I am teaching a guy who did this the other day, and I couldn't believe he did that. But then I realized that he just doesn't know any better. Same thing on another point: the guy serves his first serves and missed it. Then the guy goes to get another racquet and my buddy says 'We can play 2.' I looked over at him and said 'No, you can't.'

It is a rude thing to do for those of us who know proper tennis etiquette, but we have to remember that a lot of people don't know what is right in this scenario.

To answer the OP's question: no question---you should have gotten a first serve. That was rude as hell what that person did in between your serves.
 

Rob_C

Hall of Fame
I had a situation the other night playing indoor doubles where my opponent took a swing at my missed first serve and deflected it over the back wall. I had the other ball in hand, but before I could serve he left the court and went 'looking' for the ball he had hit - returning about 30 seconds to a minute later (I can't be sure how long - but it was more than a quick retrieval). Anyway - when he returned I said 'First Serve?' - and his partner pointed out that I missed the first serve and it was a second serve. Being a social event (or at least I thought it was!) - I simply didn't argue and promptly double faulted and went on to the next point. So - 2 questions:

1.) In a match would I have a right to a first serve? I believe I read somewhere that if an opponent chase down a first served ball unnecessarily this might apply.

2.) Does anyone else think that this behavior is a little less than friendly for social tennis?
The rules state that you were entitled to a 1st serve. If the receiver causes any delay between 1st and 2nd serves, the server is entitled to a 1st serve. Thats why when the returner breaks a string returning an out 1st serve, the server gets two serves, because the returner caused a delay.
 

goober

Legend
If he was the cause of the delay you should get a first serve. He should have waited until the point was over (or even until the game was over if you had 3 balls) to retrieve it. What really irks me when somebody is that cause of their own delay and then they ask for a first serve.
 

fe6250

Semi-Pro
Thanks all for the clarification. I still believe I wouldn't make much of it in a social situation (ok - unless I'm in a bad mood!), but good to know for future matches.
 

JLyon

Hall of Fame
because the ball was not in the court of play to cause any sort of hinderance and your opponent receiving caused the delay then you would be entitled to 2 serves.
 

tfm1973

Semi-Pro
maybe your opponents are different but i bet these guys who WOULDN'T give you two serves . . . would EXPECT two serves if the same thing happened to them. and argued about it, too. i love tennis and all the kooky people who play it. :)
 

fe6250

Semi-Pro
maybe your opponents are different but i bet these guys who WOULDN'T give you two serves . . . would EXPECT two serves if the same thing happened to them. and argued about it, too. i love tennis and all the kooky people who play it. :)
Normally I'd say you're right, but in this case and knowing the two people, I think CAM had it right in that they 'didn't know any better' - but I do think it may have been fueled by a need to win too as I have been getting the better of these guys for awhile.
 

tfm1973

Semi-Pro
haha. nice nice. competition is good. in a weird way it's probably a compliment that they felt the need to shaft you a first serve. you obviously didn't need it. :)
 

dpfrazier

Rookie
To answer the OP's question: no question---you should have gotten a first serve. That was rude as hell what that person did in between your serves.
IMO, the act of looking for the missing ball wasn't rude, but not giving a first serve was.

Gotta keep track of your balls, especially in a presumably-busy indoor facility where "orphan" balls get "adopted" very quickly...
 
I agree with everyone that you were entitled to a first serve. Now, had you or your partner gone looking for the first serve ball, then it would have been a second serve.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Yeah, you get two serves, and you get to scold your opponent for stalling:

"39. Stalling. The following actions constitute stalling: . . .
• clearing a missed first service that doesn’t need to be cleared;"

In facilities where balls quickly become orphans, the thing to do is just ask: "Hey, should I go get that?"

If the server says it's OK and accepts the delay, then the server would only get a second serve, IMHO.

I'm sometimes unsure whether I should go retrieve balls between points. Some servers seem not to like this and want the ball to remain over the wall for their entire service game. Me, I'd rather take a break and go find the ball. Playing with just two balls is annoying.
 

Geezer Guy

Hall of Fame
I had a situation the other night playing indoor doubles where my opponent took a swing at my missed first serve and deflected it over the back wall. I had the other ball in hand, but before I could serve he left the court and went 'looking' for the ball he had hit - returning about 30 seconds to a minute later (I can't be sure how long - but it was more than a quick retrieval). Anyway - when he returned I said 'First Serve?' - and his partner pointed out that I missed the first serve and it was a second serve. Being a social event (or at least I thought it was!) - I simply didn't argue and promptly double faulted and went on to the next point. So - 2 questions:

1.) In a match would I have a right to a first serve? I believe I read somewhere that if an opponent chase down a first served ball unnecessarily this might apply.

2.) Does anyone else think that this behavior is a little less than friendly for social tennis?
You were entitled to a first serve. Maybe your opponent didn't know that. I don't think it was necessarily being rude, maybe just stupid. You did the right thing to not make a big deal of it.

Later, when he was serving, you could have done something similar, and then awarded him a second First Serve.
 

tbini87

Hall of Fame
i think you deserved to take two. i also think your opponent's actions were odd (maybe rude if you thought it was intentional), but he may just not know any better. for his partner to deny a 1st serve seems rude too, but he was probably trying to "play by the rules" that he didn't know.
 

fe6250

Semi-Pro
Later, when he was serving, you could have done something similar, and then awarded him a second First Serve.
That's a great suggestion and a way to set the tone for the rest of the match and to help educate them. I've often given a liberal first serve in an attempt to set the tone for a match - that we are going to be gentleman about it. Doesn't always work, but usually does. In fact, at states this year we had so many balls crossing our court that we just decided as a foursome to take a first serve if you felt you needed it! That may seem over the top - but it actually reduced the number of lets that were taken as people were less willing to take them themselves - go figure.
 

LuckyR

Legend
He never should have left to get the ball. If the ball was on the court, he should clear it and regardless of how long it takes, you should not get another serve. But leaving the court for a ball that is not on the court? That is a whole different thing.
 

JavierLW

Hall of Fame
I had a situation the other night playing indoor doubles where my opponent took a swing at my missed first serve and deflected it over the back wall. I had the other ball in hand, but before I could serve he left the court and went 'looking' for the ball he had hit - returning about 30 seconds to a minute later (I can't be sure how long - but it was more than a quick retrieval). Anyway - when he returned I said 'First Serve?' - and his partner pointed out that I missed the first serve and it was a second serve. Being a social event (or at least I thought it was!) - I simply didn't argue and promptly double faulted and went on to the next point. So - 2 questions:

1.) In a match would I have a right to a first serve? I believe I read somewhere that if an opponent chase down a first served ball unnecessarily this might apply.

2.) Does anyone else think that this behavior is a little less than friendly for social tennis?

1) It's up to the returner to determine whether the time it takes to retrieve a loose ball is sufficent enough to warrent a let. So your opponent can refuse a let if they want to claim it on that basis, but it sounds more like that they dont understand the rules and they are insistant that you take your second serve.

2) It's not friendly or prudent for any sort of tennis. If it takes 30 seconds to a minute to retrieve a ball after the first serve, in my opinion it's generally good to let the server take a first serve. If you dont, that's probally beyond the bounds of fair play, especially if it's the result of something you did (swinging away at a long serve and sending the ball off the court).

Even if it's not "for fun" tennis, I think this is just plain rotten.
 

fe6250

Semi-Pro
1) It's up to the returner to determine whether the time it takes to retrieve a loose ball is sufficent enough to warrent a let.
Is that true? I've seen a number of responses that seem to indicate that looking for a ball that isn't necessary for play is a form of stalling and warrants a let. I guess I really don't know the rule for sure - but there seems to be some strong responses here that suggest that some actions warrant a let. Maybe I'm not understanding correctly!
 

Rob_C

Hall of Fame
1) It's up to the returner to determine whether the time it takes to retrieve a loose ball is sufficent enough to warrent a let. So your opponent can refuse a let if they want to claim it on that basis, but it sounds more like that they dont understand the rules and they are insistant that you take your second serve.
Thats wrong. Plus it violates the continuous play rule. It's not up to the receiver.
 

SunDog

Rookie
The reciever gets to decide if a delay from an outside source (e.g. ball from adjacent court rolling onto your court) is sufficient to warrant a let and therefore two serves. That is different than the continuous play issue.
 

JavierLW

Hall of Fame
The reciever gets to decide if a delay from an outside source (e.g. ball from adjacent court rolling onto your court) is sufficient to warrant a let and therefore two serves. That is different than the continuous play issue.
You are right, I should of re-read that.

The returner caused the delay so it's an automatic let.

It's only a continuous play issue though if the ball didnt need to be cleared, and depending on the situation on those courts, we probally can all disagree on whether it's prudent or not.

In my indoor club, if we know the ball just is sitting on the other side of the screen, we'll let it go, but if it goes on someone else's court it's actually important to go retrieve it right away.

They could be doing a drill on that court, or whoever is playing on it might forget where the ball came from and start using our ball. The longer we wait the greater the chance is that the ball will be lost. It's just easier to find it when you do it as soon as it flew over there.

But we'd always play a let, to not grant a let would be stupid no matter what the rules are in that situation.

If the ball needs to be cleared, then it's not a continuous play issue because all of the time limits do not include the time it takes to retrieve a stray ball. (because we do not have ball person's out there like the pros)
 
Top