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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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Serve from the fence?
by Shore Warrior seeking ammo

Q: Three months later and I'm still vexed. You answered the first part of my question. I manifested ready and he served his silly short serve and he wins the point because I was in the ready position. But you didn't answer the "can he serve from the fence?" part. (He served while walking to the line.) Does the server have to be a certain distance from the baseline before they serve? (In golf you must tee off in an imaginary square within two club lengths behind the tee markers.) Can a player serve from the back fence? Also, if there is a pattern of giving the score before serving, how can the receiver really be ready if the server suddenly fires without giving the score? Yes, it was a bush move and I have mocked him sufficiently (almost) for it, but what would you rule if the server suddenly served from ten feet behind the line? I must be prepared for his next act of desperation.

A: If you attempt to return any of his serves you have shown that you were ready for serve. The rule for location from were server stands only limits the area from the center court mark to either the outside singles line, if playing singles or the outside doubles line, if playing doubles. If a player can serve a good serve from farther back from the back service line they can, But they cannot use a walking motion while they serve. The code requires that the server call the score before serving.
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