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  • Writer's pictureBen Lacy

I Can Stand Where I Want?!?

Do I HAVE to stand up near the Non-Volley Zone when my partner is the receiver about to return the serve? Everyone I play with tells me I have to "Move Up." But I'm afraid of my opponents lobbing the ball over my head. Doesn't it make sense to stay back near the baseline so they can't lob it over me?

This question comes in regularly so is difficult to attribute to any specific situation. However, as a strong proponent of following the rules, I am an even stronger advocate of innovation. The rules are very clear on who has to stand in any specific place during the serve.

4.A.4. The moment the ball is served:

4.A.4.a. At least one foot must be on the playing surface behind the baseline.

4.A.4.b. Neither of the server’s feet may touch the court on or inside the baseline.

4.A.4.c. Neither of the server’s feet may touch the playing surface outside the imaginary

extension of the sideline or centerline.

Notice that 4.A.4.a. does not mention the "server" but 4.A.4.b. and 4.A.4.c. both say "the server's feet." In practice, 4.A.4. implies the server only, since only the correct server may serve the ball.

Also, notice that 4.A.4. does not mention any other player. This is where innovation may be implied. Good practice and innovation allow any of the other 3 players (assuming a doubles match) to stand anywhere. This is also covered by rule 4.B.7.

4.B.7. Partner Positions. In doubles, with the exception of the server (see 4.A.4), there is no

restriction on the position of any player, as long as all players are on their respective

team’s side of the net. They can be positioned on or off the court. The correct server

must serve from the correct service court, and the correct receiver must receive the

serve. you HAVE to stand up near the NVZ when your partner is the correct receiver?

NO! ...but it's a darned good idea.

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