– Service Foot Fault
26 Sep 2020
Before we come into the subject proper, we would like to first emphasize the word “contact” and its synonyms like “struck”, “touch” and “on”. Foot Fault happens when the foot makes contact with the ground, not when the foot crosses a plane in space. Similarly, the serve happens when the paddle makes contact with the ball, and with this contact made, the service motion ends.
The Rules state that a player shall have both feet behind and not touching the baseline before he performs the serve. At the instant when the paddle strikes the ball, the server’s feet shall not touch the court, including the baseline; and at least one foot shall remain in contact with the ground behind the baseline.
In Addition, during the serve when the ball is struck, the server’s feel shall not touch the area shaded in red the figure below.
Therefore, service foot fault happens only when the foot or feet is in contact with an illegal zone at the very moment the ball contacts the paddle on the serve.
Case Study A
A player performing his serve does a stride with his rear leg such that on ball contact with paddle, he has only one foot in contact with the ground; and after the ball made contact with the paddle, his rear foot follows through the stride and steps into the court – there is no foot fault and the serve is legal.
Case Study B
A “walking up” serve with foot landing in the court at the end of the last stride, after the ball is struck is also legal.
Case Study C
A Jump Serve is illegal because both feet is not be in contact with the ground when the ball is struck.