I cannot find mention of anything about the receiver being ready or not when the serve takes place.

I have known a lot of players that hustle the speed of the game somewhat, repeatedly serving when the receiver is not 100% ready. For example, they are only halfway through bending down into their ideal receive position.

How should this be handled?

1 Answer 1


Under rule 9 of the source at Killerspin.com:

A rally is a let:


9.2 If the service is delivered when the receiving player or pair is not ready, provided that neither the receiver nor his partner attempts to strike the ball.

This rule is self-explanatory: the rally is not scored. As no point has been awarded, service will not change, so the serving player must serve again.

In the case of a consistent pattern of such actions, the same source further gives this rule 18:

18.2.1 Players and coaches shall refrain from conduct that may unfairly affect an opponent, offend spectators or bring the game into disrepute.

An umpire who deems the actions to breach the above rule, in particular that repeatedly serving early is "conduct that may unfairly affect an opponent" has a number of sanctions available, which are listed in the remainder of rule 18.

They include sequentially: a warning, the award of a point, the award of two points together (18.2.3), and suspension of play preceding a report to the referee (18.2.4).

The referee has the sanction available of disqualifying the player from the match, event or tournament (18.2.7).

  • I never spotted it because these rules are not part of the "service" rules.
    – Mick
    Jul 5, 2016 at 10:38
  • @Mick Indeed, that's a fair complaint. A lot of rulebooks are the same - relevant rules are often separated by several pages because they are more coherent as a whole when placed that way. I suggest (from experience) getting a copy of the rules on paper. Read them often and ask questions whenever possible.
    – Nij
    Jul 5, 2016 at 12:26

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