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Brian Dimsho
Brian Dimsho is a USTA certified official and the resident official of the Orange County Grand Prix.

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Sneak serve - - no pause at the baseline
by Shore Warrior

Q: In my regular weekly game my opponent suprised me with the classic sneak short serve. I had come to a ready position and was looking toward him. My complaint is that he didn't come to the line as he normally does. He didn't give the score. He just quickly came to the line after retrieving a ball and fired as he moved toward the line. Is the server obligated to pause at the line or give some indication that they are ready to serve? And if not, what is to prevent a quick serve from the fence?

A: Mr. Warrior, USTA rule 21 in the Rules of Tennis explain when the Server can serve. While the Server sets the reasonable pace of the game which the Receiver must play too, he or she must allow the Receiver to become ready to receive the serve. The Receiver is deamed ready to receive the serve when he or she is in the ready position and has had a second or two to make eye contact with the Server. If the Receiver attempts to return a serve the Receiver cannot claim that he or she was not ready, and once the Receiver is ready to receive the serve than he or she cannot become unready unless outside interference occurs.
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