Court of Appeals: Boxed In
My partner, who’s prone to double-faulting, was preparing to serve to the deuce court. The receiver’s partner stood with both feet in the service box. I complained that standing there was done solely to distract the server. He replied that he could stand wherever he wants. Who was right?—Eric Lee, Albany, CA
Not you. Rule 26, Case 5, says the receiver’s partner “may take any position on their own side of the net inside the net or outside the court.” That includes inside the service box. However, it further says that if the player “is creating a hindrance to the opponent(s), the hindrance rule should be used.” As you described it, the receiver’s partner was doing nothing other than standing there; no stomping of the feet, no waving of the racquet, etc. So he’s legit. Of course, your partner can always try to hit the opponent with a serve, but it doesn’t sound like he’s accurate enough.
Except where noted, answers are based on the ITF Rules of Tennis and USTA's The Code.
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