Some social tennis players hold two balls in their hand when they serve.

If the first serve is successful, they toss the second ball behind them so that it rolls next to the wire fence and is out of the way.

Is there a regulation (not an opinion) about this?

  • At what level have you seen this behavior? I've seen tennis coaches to this in practice sessions, but in a competitive match, so many things speak against this (ball is harder to toss with a second ball in your hand, you have to get rid of the ball instead of concentrating on the return, you put yourself in danger when you don't toss the ball good enough).
    – treuss
    Sep 18, 2023 at 17:51

2 Answers 2


The ITF Rules and Regulations doesn't address this.

The closest related adressed issue is:



f. The player hits the ball in play, which hits another ball lying in the correct court.


Case 2: A ball in play hits another ball which is lying in the correct court. What is the correct decision?
Decision: Play continues. However, if it is not clear that the actual ball in play has been returned, a let should be called.


This scenario is the closest I could find and that is directly dealt with in "Friend at Court" by the USTA:

“If the receiver or an official asks the server to stop discarding the ball, then the server shall stop. Any continued discarding of the ball constitutes a deliberate hindrance, and the server loses the point.”

This is the only "rules & regulation" I could think of/find. It's US based but I'm pretty sure that, as a "gentlemen"'s game, rules are directly impacted by politness and etiquette, especially in such an old sport. Therefore, I think that referees around the world have such a book at hand when they're on a tournament and that it should apply, no matter the level you play at. So if your opponent says something or complains, you should stop.

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