I have seen plenty of times a re-serve being awarded instead of giving the point to any of the team in both volleyball and I think tennis, too. (I'm not sure if it's still the same in tennis). I had always felt that a re-serve was an injustice.

What is the real logic behind it? Is it a fair thing?

3 Answers 3


In Tennis, if the first serve is not legal a "fault" is declared. If the second serve is again illegal ("double fault"), the other player gets the point. If the ball hits the net cord during the serve, but is otherwise legal, a "let" is declared and the player serves again. There is no limit on the number of lets in a service.

Anyway, a second-serve cannot be an injustice or unfair, because both players adhere to the same rules; if only the player serving first could serve twice or similar, it will be as such, but since both players are allow 2nd-service attempts it is perfectly fair.

As to the logic behind it (in tennis at least), proper serves requires mastering of a difficult technique, and so giving players a 2nd attempt at this allows more margin for error. This may be why there is no such thing as a "2nd serve" in table tennis; there is no requirement to hit the opposite side of the court, so you can say service is easier.

  • You got the question wrong. Isnt Re-serve awarded in situations where the umpire is un sure? Like when the ball hits the line partially, etc Commented Mar 23, 2012 at 9:53
  • @Rohit - Not in tennis.
    – Chad
    Commented Mar 23, 2012 at 12:54
  • @Rohit: The umpire's decision is final, whatever they decide. Some matches have hawk eye available, and the player can challenge the decision a set number of times per set.
    – Matt
    Commented Mar 23, 2012 at 13:14
  • I would add that serving into the right location is easy enough. See the high percentage of second serves that get it right. However allowing a second serve changes the dynamic of the game and allows players to take bigger risks with the first serve and thus gain more of an advantage. It is an intentional game mechanic from a sport that wants to see big serves and to have holding serve as the default. If you remove the rule double faults would not increase massively but return games won would.
    – Christy
    Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 11:10

@Matt has covered tennis so I will answer the Volleyball:

In volleyball the re-serve is allowed when there is outside(fan) interference, equipment failure, or some other event, that voids the volley. If the ball lands on the line then the point is awarded. If it lands outside the line then it is a side out. It is the referee's job to make the call. It used to be that an injury would not stop play but I think that has changed in High School play now.


Reserve is like serving again(that is the player has to serve once again), the reasons can be anything like the opponent team is not ready or due to some unavoidable disturbances from the audience or you try to serve before referee gives a call.

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