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Serving Out of Order

Q. We were playing doubles. Starting the 5th game, we noticed after our opponent's first serve into the net that he was serving out of order. We brought this to the servers attention and he switched serving positions with his partner. They wanted to play a "let" and start over with a first serve. Because they served out of order and they served their first ball into the net, we said "no" to their request and asked them to start at "second" serve with the correct opponent serving.

Are we right on this issue?

A. The first serve fault stands. When the correction is made and the partner now serves, it a second a serve. If the other team should have been serving, the correction is made and it is a first serve. In both cases, all points stand as played previous to the discovery. See Rule 27, Correcting Errors.

Q. I am confused about seemingly contradictory statements in Rule 27c.

Regarding serving out of turn, it states "a fault that was served by the opponents(s) [sic] before the error was discovered shall not stand."  Immediately after that it states "in doubles, if the partners of one team serve out of turn, a fault that was served before the error was discovered shall stand."

Would you please clarify this for me?

A. If the opponents were to serve, they are not penalized for the error and they are given a first serve. If the wrong partner on the team served out of turn, the other player on that team serves but carries the fault from his/her partner and are not rewarded for their error with a first serve.

Q. In a doubles match, the server served out of turn in a tie-breaker. The receiver knew it was the wrong server and stood there (in a relaxed position) waiting for the opposing team to figure it out. However, the server proceeded to serve and claimed the point. What’s the ruling here?

A. There are all sorts of procedures for correcting mistakes for serving, receiving, tiebreaks, sides, rotation, etc. However one thing always is the case: Any point played to its conclusion stands. In your case no one said anything. The point was played. The mistake was then confirmed. The error is corrected according the Rules. However that point played still stands.

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