Well, not far enough in terms of innovating/rediscovering tennis in these dull times of monotonous baseline rallies. But the question is specifically about Roger Federer's recent attempts at hyper-aggressive half-volley returns on opponent's (second) serves.

Federer, after Wimbledon, has on numerous occasions tried to charge towards the service line to take the returns early to unsettle the opponents. While the attempt is nothing new, Serena Williams stands well inside the baseline against weak servers & thumps return winners.

But nobody has reached as far ahead as Federer has. He has taken the returns almost at the service line. So 3 questions.

1) In any of his attempts, has the point of impact with the racquet been inside the service box?

2) If NO, then, is having the point of impact inside the service box legal in tennis rules?

3) If YES, then can he essentially, stand at the net & volley the opponent's serves, from the rules point of view?

  • I have no special answer about Roger Federer, but as far as I know, it's not allowed to stand in the service box at the service (but you're allowed to into after the ball was hit). And 2) due to there is no "out in the air" (rather than football/soccer for eg) it doesn't matter where the point of impact is (in your half of the ground).
    – Phab
    Sep 9, 2015 at 5:52
  • @Phab Please write that as an answer, not a comment.
    – Philip Kendall
    Sep 9, 2015 at 6:23

2 Answers 2

  1. I doubt it. Given the fact the receiver must wait until the ball bounces (see below), and the fact the service is usually aimed practically at the service line, it would be quite difficult. But someone can prove me wrong.
  2. There is nothing in the ITF Rules of Tennis which would prohibit that. It even explains in an example case that “The receiver may take any position inside or outside the lines on the receiver’s side of the net.” (see Case 1 in rule #8). So yes, that would be legal.
  3. No, that would be prohibited by the rules. Rule 24 states

    The point is lost if:


    e. The receiver returns the service before it bounces […]


The tennis rule book do not specify anything about point of impact, so I think is it possible to hit the ball in the receive area.

The receiver cannot hit the ball before the first rebound

  • 2
    This would be a great answer if you could quote a specific rule for the second paragraph.
    – Philip Kendall
    Sep 9, 2015 at 6:22

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