Rule 2.6.4 from the ITTF handbook says:

From the start of service until it is struck, the ball shall be above the level of the playing surface and behind the server's end line, and it shall not be hidden from the receiver by the server or his or her doubles partner or by anything they wear or carry.

I have been told that the ball can't be out wide on either side even if it is behind the server's end line. Is that wrong? Can you serve from as far out wide as you like?

  • Related, but not quite a duplicate?
    – Nij
    Feb 25, 2022 at 6:07
  • "2.5.14 The end line shall be regarded as extending indefinitely in both directions" would seem to be fairly clear on this but I don't have an actual source to confirm.
    – Philip Kendall
    Mar 3, 2022 at 9:53
  • @PhilipKendall would that mean that you can serve from as far out wide as you like?
    – Simd
    Mar 3, 2022 at 10:02
  • 2
    @graffe It would seem so to me based on a literal interpretation of the rules, but I don't play the game competitively.
    – Philip Kendall
    Mar 3, 2022 at 10:13

1 Answer 1


The rules are clear, and there is nothing to prohibit serving from out wide.

However from a practical standpoint there is no reason to want to do so. Serving from such a wide position will mean that the server finds it difficult/impossible to recover to a good position to be ready for their next shot.

In addition, the further the server is from the table, the more difficult it becomes to control the length and height of the serve.

  • Thanks! It can be worth it to serve from 6 inches out wide I think.
    – Simd
    Mar 9, 2022 at 14:25

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