Discarding a spare ball

February 27, 2017

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: My doubles partner holds two balls in her hand during her serve. If her first serve goes in, she throws her held ball back toward the fence behind her. Our opponents said it was distracting and that she couldn’t do that. Is that true? What should my partner do with that second ball?


Answer: This scenario is directly dealt with in "Friend at Court" in USTA Comment 26.5: “If the receiver or an official asks the server to stop discarding the ball, then the server shall stop. Any continued discarding of the ball constitutes a deliberate hindrance, and the server loses the point.” Consider holding the extra ball for her...or she needs to start utilizing some pockets.





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


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