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2002 Service Rule Amendments
As of 1 September 2002
Explanation and intent of the new rule
The intent of the new service rule is to make the rule itself clear and easy to interpret. The new rule is designed to make the Service in table tennis an “OPEN” technique which is fully visible to the receiver at all times.
A detailed instructional and explanatory package will distributed by the ITTF’s Umpires & Referees Committee to all International Umpires in order to guarantee consistent application of the rule and respect of the spirit of the rule.
In the meantime, the ITTF is distributing an explanatory package to the National Associations in which the new service rule is demonstrated in written and visual form.
In order for the server to ensure that he/she complies with the new service rule, here are a few pointers to help achieve this objective:
As soon as the free hand (the hand holding the ball in service) and arm has projected the ball upwards, the free hand/arm must be immediately removed to the side. In other words, the free arm must not remain in any area between the ball and the receiver- it has to be out of the line of sight of the receiver and the ball as demonstrated in the attached Power-point presentation, video streams and photos.
If the server could imagine a triangular space created by the ball and both net posts, then extends this space upwards to head level, the server must then ensure that no part of his body or clothing enters this space (or remains in this space) after he projects the ball upwards in service. This will ensure that the space between the ball and the receiver remains clear of any obstructions. This is a simple way to ensure that the service meets the legal requirements.
A slight modification from current services is required. Players must learn, in forehand services, to swing their free arm out of the way as fast as possible to create a legal, open and visible service.
2.6 A GOOD SERVICE
2.6.1 Service shall start with the ball resting freely on the open palm of the server’s stationary free hand.
2.6.2 The server shall then project the ball near vertically upwards, without imparting spin, so that it rises at least 16cm after leaving the palm of the free hand and then falls without touching anything before being struck.
2.6.3 As the ball is falling the server shall strike it so that it touches first his court and then, after passing over or around the net assembly, touches directly the receiver’s court; in doubles, the ball shall touch successively the right half court of server and receiver.
2.6.4 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 any part of the body or clothing of the server or his doubles partner.
(The purpose of this rule is to make the ball visible to the receiver at all times during service. The serving player or pair must not take any action which would prevent the receiver from seeing the ball from the time at which it leaves the server’s hand and seeing the side of the racket used to strike the ball).
2.6.5 It is the responsibility of the player to serve so that the umpire or the assistant umpire can see that he complies with the requirements for a good service.
188.8.131.52 If there is no Assistant Umpire, and the umpire is doubtful of the legality of a service he may, on the first occasion in a match, warn the server without awarding a point.
184.108.40.206 If subsequently in the match a service by that player or his doubles partner is of dubious legality, for the same reason or for any other reason, the receiver shall score a point.
220.127.116.11 Whenever there is a clear failure to comply with the requirements for a good service, no warning shall be given and the receiver shall score a point.
2.6.6. Exceptionally, the umpire may relax the requirements for a good service where he is satisfied that compliance is prevented by physical disability.
2001 Amendments to 11-Point Game System
The amended versions of the laws and regulations affected by the AGM decision to adopt the 11 point scoring system are shown below, with the changes underlined. These laws and regulations came into effect on 1 September 2001.
2.11 A Game
2.11.1 A game shall be won by the player or pair first scoring 11 points unless both players or pairs score 10 points, when the game shall be won by the first player or pair subsequently gaining a lead of 2 points.
2.12 A Match
2.12.1 A match shall consist of the best of any odd number of games.
2.13 The Order of Serving, Receiving and Ends
2.13.3 After each 2 points have been scored the receiving player or pair shall become the serving player or pair and so on until the end of the game, unless both players or pairs score 10 points or the expedite system is in operation, when the sequence of serving and receiving shall be the same but each player shall serve for only 1 point in turn.
2.13.6 The player or pair serving first in a game shall receive first in the next game of the match, and in the last possible game of a doubles match the pair due to receive next shall change their order of receiving when first one pair scores 5 points.
2.13.7 The player or pair starting at one end in a game shall start at the other end in the next game of the match and in the last possible game of a match the players or pairs shall change ends when first one player or pair scores 5 points.
2.15 The Expedite System
2.15.1 Except where both players or pairs have scored at least 9 points, the expedite system shall come into operation if a game is unfinished after 10 minutes’ play or at any earlier time at the request of both players or pairs.
2.15.3 If the expedite system is introduced, or if a game lasts longer than 10 minutes, all subsequent games of the match shall be played under the expedite system.
18.104.22.168 Play shall be continuous throughout a match except that any player is entitled to
22.214.171.124.1 an interval of up to 1 minute between successive games of a match;
126.96.36.199.2 brief intervals for towelling after every 6 points from the start of each game and at the change of ends in the last possible game of a match.
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