What happens if the ball returns to the player's side of the court in tennis?


By Greg Letts

Question: What Happens If The Ball Bounces Back Over The Net On Service?

I am a physical education teacher and a student asked me this question about table tennis and how this situation would be scored:

A player is ready to serve to their opponent, he hits the ball on his side, it bounces over the net but he has so much back spin on the ball, the ball bounces back over the net to his side of the table before the opponent can hit it.

I told him that the likelihood of this actually happening is not very good. He agreed but was wondering what the ruling was. Most times when they ask questions I have answers but I could not give him an appropriate one. Can you help?


Answer: Hi Chris - the rule is that it is the server's point. The relevant Law of Table Tennis is the following:

2.7 The Return
2.7.1 The ball, having been served or returned, shall be struck so that it passes over or around the net assembly and...

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Expert: Ed Hines - 6/21/2005


In my tennis match yesterday, I returned the ball while playing the net. As the ball approached me, I ran towards the net and hit the ball to my opponent. I was literally a few inches from the net. My opponent stated that when I hit the ball, my racket reached over the net. This happened very quickly. My doubles partner nor myself noticed this. I never question my opponent's call. I was accused of hitting the ball before it arrived on my side of the net.

Can you shed light on the rules of the game when playing the net and making questionable calls? Thx very much!


Simply put, Shawn, it's your call, not your opponent's. It's no different from a line call on your side of the court. The term for what you did or allegedly did is called, "invasion."

Of course, if you really did hit the ball before it crossed the imaginary plane of the net, then you should call that one against yourself and give the point to...

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The Rules of Tennis

[These rules to conform to the USTA's 1995 Rules of Tennis.]

(Downloaded from The Tennis Server)


The following Rules and Cases and Decisions are the official Code of the International Tennis Federation, of which the United States Tennis Association is a member. USTA Comments have the same weight and force in USTA tournaments as do ITF Cases and Decisions.

When a match is played without officials, USTA Regulation I.M. shall apply in any situation not covered by the rules. The Code shall apply in any situation not covered by USTA Regulation I.M.

Except where otherwise stated, every reference in these Rules to the masculine includes the feminine gender.

Amendments to the USTA Comments may be made in accordance with Article VIII of the USTA Regulations provided such amendments are not inconsistent with the Rules of Tennis of the International Tennis Federation.

The Court

The court...

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Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the service rules in table tennis ... with the answers!

Can my serve bounce more than once on my opponent's side of the table?


As long as your service bounces once on your side of the table, and at least once on your opponent's side of the table, it will be legal (assuming you have complied with the other service rules which I explained here).

Of course ... although your service can bounce more than once on your opponent's side of the table, if it does, you win the point because your opponent must hit it before it bounces twice.

This means that you can choose whether to serve "short" or "long".

A good tactic would be to serve "short" (i.e. make the ball bounce just over the net) if your opponent is standing away from the table, or serve "long" (i.e. make the ball bounce near to the white end line) if your opponent is standing close to the table and expecting a "short"...

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Golffis: a fun little game where its a combination between tennis and golf. Teaches kids to have a bit of hand/eye coordination and hitting successfully with a small surface area. Line the kids up next to the fence spacing themselves around 3-4 feet between each other. Have the kid hold the racquet with the handle sticking out and put the ball on the ground (like in golf). The kids must hit this ball in a straight line down to the net.

Little Warrior: A game for training the rally. Best with a singles approach. Have kids line up on each side (skill balanced). The kid must feed the ball and the other return it successfully one time before starting the count. Have everyone count out loud each stroke (yell out ONE, TWO, THREE). Everyone gets to play. In the end, the kid with the highest rally number doesn't have to pick up the balls and the rest does.

IYAMAPRO: named funny, but great results in accuracy. Short for "I am a pro". Great for accuracy. Set up 5 small cones on a...

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Three Parts:Serving in a TiebreakerSwitching Sides in a TiebreakerWinning the TiebreakerCommunity Q&A

In tennis, there are games, sets and matches. To win a game, a you must score four points and have a two point lead. To win a set, you must win seven games and have a two game lead. To win the match, you must win the best of three sets or the best of five sets depending on where you’re playing.[1] In tennis, there are no ties. When both sides are tied at six games a piece, a tiebreaker game will take place to decide the winner of a set. Tiebreakers have their own unique rules that are different from those of normal games in tennis. If you want to compete in tennis, you should know what to expect when you have to play a...

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Tennis is one of the world's most widely-played sports, enjoyed by players of all ages. It is also a popular spectator sport, with star players in glamorous tournaments watched on TV by millions of fans all over the world. Women's matches attract as much interest as the men's, and tennis is one of the few professional sports in which women can earn as much prize money as men. Singles matches are played between two players and doubles matches are between two teams of two players. Each player uses a racket (also spelled racquet) to hit a felt-covered ball over a net into their opponent's side of a court. A player wins a point when his or her opponent cannot return a shot, or the opponent's shot doesn't land in the court.


The modern form of tennis first appeared in the 19th century, but earlier forms of the game had been played in Europe for centuries. The most well-known was real tennis (or royal tennis), which had been popular with royal families and the rich...

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Q&A on the Rules and Code of Tennis
by Matt Metz and various Tennis Server readers

QUESTION: LaVal Brewer wrote: If the server hits his opponent, is there a point loss to the server or what? And if there is a ruling where would I locate it or them??? Finally, in the same situation but in doubles, if the opponent's partner gets hit are the rules the same???

ANSWER: On the contrary! If the served ball hits the opponent BEFORE the serve hits the ground, the SERVER wins the point, regardless of where the opponent was standing. In the Rules of Tennis, Rule 18 - part (a) states that the server wins the point "if the ball served... touches the receiver or anything which he wears or carries, before it hits the ground." The only exception to this is if the serve hit the net cord on the way across the net - in that case, if the net cord serve hits the opponent, it is a let.

In doubles, the same applies no matter which of the receiving team partners is hit by the serve. In...

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Is it allowed to go into opponents court ?

I am able to produce quite consistently a serve that bounces back to my court and I think that the opponent should not come with the racket or with the body into my court after smashing it .

My argument is that I can put my bat right there in my side of the court and in this case he/she will hit me.

Moreover, if going to opponents court were allowed I can go there and prevent him/her to hit by occupying the space. I think that the sport is non-contact !!!!! I know that there's no such rule but there's also no rule that prevents one of the players of pumching the other guy either. Perhaps we need such a rule, in tennis there is one.

The other player is allowed to come onto your side of the court. If you stand close to the net, he can hit the ball at your bat or you and if you are over the table then he gets the point...

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This page is a glossary of tennis terminology.

ace: Serve where the tennis ball lands inside the service box and is not touched by the receiver; thus, a shot that is both a serve and a winner is an ace. Aces are usually powerful and generally land on or near one of the corners at the back of the service box. Initially the term was used to indicate the scoring of a point. action: Synonym of spin ad: Used by the chair umpire to announce the score when a player has the advantage, meaning they won the point immediately after a deuce. See scoring in tennis ad court: Left side of the court of each player, so called because the ad (advantage) point immediately following a deuce is always served to this side of the court. advantage: When one player wins the first point from a deuce and needs one more point to win the game; not applicable when using deciding points. advantage set: Set won by a player or team having won at least six...
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Drills – Groundstrokes

When performing these drills, work on trying to have long rallies and trying to place the ball deep and near the corner of your opponent’s court. Hit the ball firmly, but do not try to hit so hard that your practice partner can’t return the ball. Give yourself enough margin of error on your shots so that you are keeping most of them inside the lines.

Drills For all Players

These drills are the easiest because you are hitting the ball back to where it came from and are doing so without being on the run. However, after doing all 4 drills you will have practiced forehands and backhands both cross court and down the line from both sides of the court. These drills can be done with two players as described, or you could do them with 4 players keeping two balls going in opposite cross court directions or opposite sidelines.

•Players practice hitting cross court balls to each other from the right side of their respective...

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Table tennis, also known as ping pong, is a sport in which two or four players hit a lightweight ball back and forth across a table using a small paddle. The game takes place on a hard table divided by a net. Except for the initial serve, the rules are generally as follows: players must allow a ball played toward them to bounce one time on their side of the table, and must return it so that it bounces on the opposite side at least once. A point is scored when a player fails to return the ball within the rules. Play is fast and demands quick reactions. Spinning the ball alters its trajectory and limits an opponent's options, giving the hitter a great advantage.

Table tennis is governed by the worldwide organization International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), founded in 1926. ITTF currently includes 220 member associations.[1] The table tennis official rules are specified in the ITTF handbook.[2] Table tennis has been an Olympic sport since 1988,[3] with several event...

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While there are many different footwork patterns in tennis, it is very common for players to do too much with their feet and, in the process, make playing tennis more challenging than it should be.

The foundation of proper tennis footwork is keeping it very simple and taking away all the unnecessary steps.

Top 3 Common Footwork Mistakes

The most common mistakes when moving to the ball are taking too many steps and not allowing the back leg to come through.

There are two main reasons that taking too many steps can cause problems in tennis:

Too many steps when the ball is in your strike zone often causes rushed strokes and poor timing.

a. Quick shuffling of the feet while the ball is approaching makes the player anxious as he is aware of the limited time he has to make the shot.

The more time you use for moving your feet, the less time you have to perform your stroke. At least that’s how a typical player will perceive time.


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October 9, 2015 - Important Change

The APTA Board has approved the use of a third set match tie breaker in the back draws of APTA sanctioned tournaments. A tournament may decide to use a third set breaker in its back draws, but this must be communicated to the players prior to the tournament. Sets must be played out in the main draw of APTA sanctioned tournaments and in all draws of national championships. The first team to ten by a margin of two wins the third set and the match.

Official Rules of Platform Tennis ©i

With notes, comments, appendices and addenda
October 2015

While most of the rules of platform tennis are derived from tennis, there are differences with which players of platform tennis should be acquainted.

Note on Sportsmanship and Etiquette

Both sportsmanship and etiquette have been fundamental to this sport since the beginning and we are determined to keep it that way. Both subjects deal with integrity and respect, but the subject...

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The Foundation of Winning Tennis

by Tomaz Mencinger

The field of tennis psychology is not just common advice and tactical or mental tips. It is based on general and sports psychology and then applied to tennis specifically.

There are many common elements in the psychology of tennis which can be found in other sports too. An athlete that wants to perform at his peak needs to learn:

1. How to refocus

Many players start the match with good concentration but they drop their level of concentration because of disturbing outside events, pressure situations, emotional reactions to various events and so on. A player needs to learn how to quickly and effectively refocus to be able to play his best tennis.

2. How to control his arousal – to manage his intensity and body energy

A player's arousal can be too high or too low and in both cases he is not able to play his best tennis. Arousal affects his body and mind abilities – a...

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A match can either be 'Best of Three Sets (First player to win 2 sets, wins the match) ' or 'Best of Five Sets (First player to win 3 sets, wins the match)'. A player wins a set, when he wins 6 games, provided he is ahead of his opponent by two games. If the difference between the players is less than 2 games, the game may continue till either wins the set by a margin of two (known as the Advantage set scoring method).

Alternatively, if both players are tied with 6 games to their name, whoever wins the tie-breaker game, will win the set (this is known as the Tie-Breaker Method). The latter strategy is mostly adopted in ATP tournaments. Wimbledon, one of the four prime grand slams, uses the advantage set scoring method, due to which there is a possibility of a game continuing for a long time in some cases.

A prime example is the Isner-Mahut match at the Wimbledon championships in 2010, which went on for 11 hours and five minutes! The score read something like this -...

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