HK Tennis Issue 2

The other day I was asked an interesting question by some tennis players "who starts serving in the first game of the following set after a tiebreak has been was played?”Although regular tennis players, they always get confused about whose turn it is to serve first. For those tennis players who are sometimes also unsure or confused about who has to serve first after a tiebreak, you just have to remember the following simple rule. The player (or pair in the case of doubles) whose turn it was to serve first in the tiebreak shall receive service in the first game of the following set. In other simple words, the player who served first in the tiebreak will be the receiver in the first game of the following set. The reason being, a tiebreak counts as a game. But what happens if a player or team serves out of turn? If a player serves out of turn, the player who ought to have served has to serve as soon as the mistake is discovered, but all points scored before the discovery count. Which means, if player A serves out of turn and it is for example discovered when the score is 30:00, then player B will continue to serve at 00:30. If a game has been completed before the discovery, the order of service remains altered. A fault served before the discovery will not count – otherwise the same player would have the advantage of serving three games in a row. The same applies in a tiebreak. If a player has completed his turn of service, the order of service will remain as altered. If the error is discovered before a player has completed his turn of service, the order of service has to be corrected immediately and any points already played count. Peter Richter is a former ATP Tour top 10 fulltime professional chair umpire and an ITF gold badge umpire from Stuttgart, Germany. Having worked at the highest level of professional tennis for 10 years, he retired from the ATP Tour in 1994 and moved to Hong Kong. If you would like an explanation or clarification of a tennis rule, email

Hong Kong Tennis • Issue 2


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