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Intriguing service seen during recent Washington Open

Discussion in 'Rules / Tournament Regulation / Officiating' started by thewils, May 29, 2011.

  1. thewils

    thewils Regular Member

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    I was at the Washington Open recently and saw a variation on the standard Mixed service configuration. In this variation, the lady stands _directly_ in front of the man prior to service, actively blocking the receiver's view of the server. Then, once the lady is ready, she ducks down so that the server has a clear path to the receiving court, and then the man serves almost immediately, I would say with no more than a 1/2 second delay.

    Question is - is this a legal serve? It seems to me that the lady is actively blocking the receiver's view (which I know is illegal) but isn't doing so when the service is actually struck. Any thoughts?
     
  2. visor

    visor Regular Member

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    Seems like they're pushing the boundaries of the law.

    Best tactic for the opponent is to not respond or move to get the serve if they think it's unfair. Then a let will be called.
     
  3. LD rules!

    LD rules! Regular Member

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    It seems as though they have been pushing the boundaries, but I think it is legal...just !

    If at the time of the serve, the view of the shuttle is not blocked then it should be fine.

    Might incorperate this into my XD game :p
     
  4. alexh

    alexh Regular Member

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    IMO the receiver could legitimately say they weren't ready. It's hard to get ready when you can't see the shuttle.
     
  5. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    Now this is interesting and needs clarification. I think most will assume unsighting the receiver means the shuttle but although the shuttle may be unsighted, the receiver is not unsighted to the server. So technically, the server doesn't have to show the shuttle to the opponent at impact.

    Which means at this juncture, the receiver should not be unsighted. Remember, rule 9.5 said "during delivery of service" which I take to mean the first forward movement.
     
  6. LD rules!

    LD rules! Regular Member

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    So basically the serve is legal ?

    I would have thought that it is the receivers task to position themselves in a place where they feel most comfortable to receive the shuttle, and not the servers task to move to suit the receiver.
     
  7. alexh

    alexh Regular Member

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    It certainly seems that this type of serve isn't in the spirit of the rules. Think about rule 9.1.1 concerning undue delay: "...On completion of the backward movement of server's racket head, any delay in the start of the service shall be considered to be an undue delay." So if the receiver sees the racket goes back, expects the serve, and it doesn't happen at that moment, then there's an acknowledgement in the rules that the receiver is at an unfair disadvantage. Now if the receiver can't even see the racket being taken back, surely the disadvantage is even greater.

    The word "unsight" isn't actually defined in the rules. I would have thought that the receiver should be able to see at least the whole of the server's racket, perhaps the racket arm too. But it's open to interpretation.

    Perhaps this serve is technically legal, but I feel that it shouldn't be. Maybe it will get banned if people start doing it regularly (as happened with the old "Sidek serve").

    One could also argue that the behaviour of the server's partner in this case is a deliberate distraction to the opponent, therefore a fault under rule 13.4.5.

    The issue isn't where the server stands, it's where their partner stands.
     
  8. LD rules!

    LD rules! Regular Member

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    well according to the OP, at the time of which the server begins their serve, the receiver isnt unsighted, so really it shouldnt be much of a problem, as far as i can tell.
     
  9. CantSmashThis

    CantSmashThis Regular Member

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    Yeah, I think it is legal. It's the same as a server serving immediately right when the receiver looks up. Most people don't just play a let, they attempt a return of shuttle. They really are testing the boundaries of that law, but there isn't anything illegal about it unless the guy starts the service (moving his racket back) and then the lady moves down. In that case, it would be illegal.
     
  10. CantSmashThis

    CantSmashThis Regular Member

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    Also, the thing is, it is impossible for an umpire/service judge to see this. We're at a different angle so we won't know when they are obstructing the receiver's view unless it is very obvious.
     
  11. thewils

    thewils Regular Member

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    I think there's a deliberate attempt to distract here though...

    The receiver's eye must always be distracted in some amount by the motion of the server's partner ducking down, and then the service comes immediately after.

    So maybe the service is illegal because of the distracting nature of the server's partner just prior to a service, in the same way that server's partner could deliberately distract receiver by moving prior to the service in a normal configuration.

    If not illegal, I can see this service being used a lot.
     
  12. visor

    visor Regular Member

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    Distracting?

    If they really wanted to distract, they would get the lady to wear a low cut t shirt... when she leans down in preparation of her partner serving, now that would be distracting! :p
     
  13. ViningWolff

    ViningWolff Regular Member

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    Visor - my mixed partner is a super hot looking blond and is good for a few distraction points.
     
  14. visor

    visor Regular Member

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    Ahaha!
    I'm sure when you first started partnering with her, you probably lost a few services of your own due to you being distracted by her. :p :D
     
  15. Alapongtai

    Alapongtai Regular Member

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    it might be legal but others might hate them for it lol
     
  16. BaoQingWang

    BaoQingWang Regular Member

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    Hi,
    I think this is illegal, if I am the umpire, I would ask the server partner to shift. During apart from the argument above mentioned, I would like to bring priority scenario. Before serving, server has the right to choose where to serve. Next, after seeing server position, receiver could make decision on where to stand in order to receive. Either side's partner should not block the view prior to the serving even if she ducks at the last 0.5sec, prior to that receiver could not see server clearly.
    There was an incident which i saw,an XD match between THA versus ENG, ENG team made protest to the umpire that they could not see the server cos' he is blocked. Referee was called upon. Nothing was done. ENG players were asked to continue.
    Few BWF umpires that I spoke with, there were 3, they all agree that server's partner should move if they were the umpire.
    But there is a catch here.
    Protest was made in the second game. ENG team lost the first one and losing the second. They should have done that from the beginning. It looks more, to me, that they are catching their breath and trying buy some time by calling the referee :)
     

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