What's the call:

Crossing the service line

January 7, 2020

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: When playing a singles match, I noticed my opponent getting close to the center service mark. It wasn’t until the second set that I realized he was crossing it during his service motion. Is this allowed? Can the server start behind the baseline and cross the center service mark during his service motion? 


Answer: This type of foot fault can sneak up on you. Your opponent followed the first cardinal rule of serving by being behind the baseline but forgot about the imaginary extension of the center mark. With a little tweaking on his service game, this can easily be corrected. A player cannot cross the imaginary extension of the center service mark. ADVERTISEMENT If your opponent crosses it during his service motion, it is considered a foot fault. To see other examples of foot faults, please visit Rule 18 of the "Friend at Court".




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



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