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Court of Appeals: Double the Trouble
Tennis Magazine’s resident rulebook expert Rebel Good is here to resolve all your rules questions and quarrels.
Published May 13, 2023
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The tennis summer swing is in full force across all surfaces, and with the return to clay courts comes more debates over lines and serves, questionable calls, and the perennial query: What does The Code say?
Court of Appeals is here to clear the air. Rebel Good, a past editor of Friend at Court, the USTA’s handbook of rules and regulations, has taught officiating for more than 30 years and will resolve all your rules questions and quarrels.
Double the Trouble
In the first set I had been returning in the deuce court. My partner and I switched for the second set, but in the third game we accidentally went back to our old positions with me returning in the deuce court. We played one point and on the next, after a first serve fault, I realized I was on the wrong side. We stopped play. No one knew what to do. Should I have moved to my correct position in the ad court and played the second serve, or should we have finished that point then moved back to our correct returning positions for the next point?
— Rich Moore, Solon, OH
If those are the only two choices that's a problem. Both are wrong. While most errors fall under the “correct immediately” requirements of Rule 27, an error in receiving order in doubles doesn't. This prevents a team from intentionally receiving out of order, then “correcting” to allow a stronger receiver to return multiple points in a row. Once you received out of turn you needed to finish the game that way (Rule 27.e.). Oh, and give your opponents a first serve since you caused the delay after the first-serve fault (The Code, #30).
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