Q. My opponent and I had split the first two sets and by the 3rd set it was at 5-3 with him serving for the match. He started missing more of his first serves and seemed to take it out on me by questioning my fault calls. I felt like he was gaming me, so I asked the roaming judge to watch over the end of our set.
I ended up breaking him and easily held serve to bring it to 5-5. It was then that I noticed he was slowing it down between points on his serve. Two times the ball stopped about a foot from the back fence which was well out of his way. Both times he would still turn around and clear it forcing me to wait to do my second serve. However at the time -- even if he was gaming me in front of the attending judge -- I didn't think I could do anything about it. Now that the match is over, I've had time to think about it, and it disgusts me that he was more interested in winning then playing fair. So I wonder; could I have done anything to stop him from intentionally slowing down my service game?
A. The receiver must play to the reasonable pace of the server. If the receiver is not playing to the reasonable pace of the server, an official may deem such action as unsportsmanlike conduct or delay of game.
Clearing balls that are not in the way can be deemed as gamesmanship. However if there is a slight delay between your first and second serve and you have not started your service motion, it is difficult to claim delay since there are no ball persons and it is a judgment call on whether a ball needs to be cleared.