Time Limit to Call Serve Out

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by marcl65, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. marcl65

    marcl65 Semi-Pro

    Sep 6, 2005
    Is there a rule on how soon a serve (or any other shot I suppose) must be called out before it's considered "in"? I was playing a contentious doubles match where my opponents were seemingly playing fast and loose when calling serves.

    For instance, I'd hit a serve that looked 2 feet long but the receiver's partner did not call it out and his partner blasted the return for a winner. Later, I hit another serve that was long but the receiver (same one as before) did not call it out *until* his partner had blasted the return into the net. I started noticing a pattern where the returner's partner seemed to withhold his "out" call depending on the quality of his partner's return.

    A while ago someone told me that you have to call the ball before you hit it, otherwise it's considered in. But this doesn't seem realistic when dealing with fast serves.
  2. blakesq

    blakesq Professional

    Dec 11, 2006
    You have to call it quick..but a fast serve and hard return will mean that ball has either gone over the net or into the net before a call can be made.

    As the serving team, you must always be prepared to play as if your first serve was in (until the returning side calls it out), because you cannot call it out. Just because it looks out to you does not mean you should not play the ball.

    You can always ask the other team if that serve was out, but you have to accept their answer.

    There is no rule that you have to call the serve out before you hit it. And in fact if you are playing against a fast/hard server, its nearly impossible to do so.

  3. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

    Apr 29, 2007
    If it's really all that noticeable, I think it falls under this made up category:

    The rules and especially the Code for unofficiated matches are really there with the intention that both players are playing honorably and are fair. If they are not, then there isnt much you can do about it in a lot of cases but think less of them.... (and not play them again if you have any control over that)
  4. r2473

    r2473 G.O.A.T.

    Aug 14, 2006
    Whatever the actual rule, this is what normally happens.
  5. fe6250

    fe6250 Semi-Pro

    Aug 7, 2006
    This is from "the code":

    18. Prompt calls eliminate two chance option. A player shall make all
    calls promptly after the ball has hit the court. A call shall be made either before the player’s return shot has gone out of play or before the opponent has had the opportunity to play the return shot.

    Unfortunately this is not always practical or reasonable given the OP's situation. This may not even be desirable - especially when playing honorable people. On clay courts we often allow for a little more time on calls to inspect the mark and play it as if it is 'in' - however, I haven't seen anyone ever abuse it as being described by the OP.
  6. kendall22

    kendall22 Rookie

    Jul 21, 2008
    New York
    Best thing to do is to tell them they cannot wait to see if their return is in before they call it out (if you get into a situation where you think it's fairly clear your serve was in and they seem to call it contingent on their return's outcome).

    If they deny they are doing that, imply you don't believe them with one of those skeptical "uh huh"s but you have to go on and hope they take the hint.
  7. retlod

    retlod Professional

    Oct 6, 2009
    Grab a ball and go Serena on them.
  8. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

    Jun 24, 2009
    At Large
    If you hit a serve that was obviously out and they played the return you should just stop the point and call the serve out yourself.
  9. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

    Feb 17, 2005
    Big Canoe, GA
    Yeah, you really can't do that - but it's worth a try.

    If they give you a bunch of grief over it, just call their return out.

    Really, though, I've not seem anyone abuse this to the extent the OP describes. And making a bad call yourself just to make up for their bad call is NOT the way to go, normally. I'm just pointing it out as an option in an extreme case.
  10. SlapChop

    SlapChop Semi-Pro

    Oct 12, 2009
    I had a coach give a point to my opponent because I called the shot after I had hit the ball and my shot was traveling out, I delayed my call because the ball was close. I have made some calls too soon and had shots drop in that I thought would drop out so I take a split second longer in making the calls now, I think it agitates some people but I want to be as accurate with my calls as I can. Most of the time unless I am specifically planning for the ball to go out I hit the ball before I can make the call.
  11. jc4.0

    jc4.0 Professional

    May 20, 2009
    rule 12 revisited

    You have to play the return even if you think your serve was out, if there was no call the point continues. If the returner calls it out after they hit it, and they hit a winner, the point should be replayed. If the returner calls it out after they hit it, but they hit a poor shot, then you serve again (if it was your first serve). This is the ugly, nebulous "rule 12" that we discuss continually.

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