Can we change the serving order in doubles?

November 12, 2018

Have you ever had a dispute with a fellow player over a call on the court that you couldn’t settle? Maybe you’re just curious about how some scenarios, from the common to the ridiculous, are resolved.

Question: In a league match, my doubles partner and I were struggling to get in a rhythm. After losing the first set, we switched the serving order and got into a groove. After going up 3-0, our opponents noticed the change and said it was illegal to switch the serving order. Were they correct?

Answer: If only wiping the slate clean in life were as easy, we would do it every day. Luckily, in tennis, you get to wipe the slate clean at the beginning of every set. That’s why you see so many great comebacks after teams lose a 6-0 in the first set. At the beginning of every set, including the 10-point match tiebreak, you can switch the serving order of doubles partners so you were correct in changing strategy at the start of the next set. The new rotation then continues until the end of that set. (Rule 14).


For the "Friend at Court" handbook and more information on the rules of tennis, visit the rules and regulations homepage.



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