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The Final Word: Out Calls and Serves

November 11, 2013 10:40 AM
Can you stand in the alley behind the baseline on a serve?

Have you ever had a dispute with a fellow player over a call on the court that you couldn’t settle? Or have you ever wondered why a certain ruling was made during a match you were watching? Maybe you’re just curious about how some scenarios, from the common to the ridiculous, are resolved.

USTA Director of Officials Richard Kaufman is here to answer your questions. He selects a few submissions at a time and supplies the definitive rulings through a Q&A.

Have a question of your own? Write to The Final Word!

Topic: Calling shots out

Who can call the ball "out" in doubles play? I played a match the other day and called a ball out for my partner. Our opponent demanded this was unfair and insisted that only the person who is returning the ball can call it. In all my years of playing I've never heard this contested. 

KAUFMAN: I never heard of that either. In doubles, either player may make any line call on any shot that is on their side of the net.

Topic: Serving

In doubles, can the server serve from behind the baseline but in the alley (the point between the imaginary extensions of the singles sideline and the doubles sideline)? I thought the answer was no, but maybe I am confusing it with the singles rules.

KAUFMAN: In doubles, yes, the server may move into the area of the doubles alley (imaginary extension). In singles, the server can move as far as the singles sideline but not into the doubles alley.



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