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Can My Serve Cut the Sideline in Table Tennis / Ping-Pong?


Question: Can My Serve Cut the Sideline in Table Tennis / Ping-Pong?
I know that you can serve from any side, to any side in singles table tennis. A friend of mine told me that you can't serve it so that the ball goes off the side of the table before going over the back line of the table, or of course bouncing a second time.

So if someone were to serve it at a angle, and it were to bounce off to the side before crossing the endline, would that be a point to the reciever? If this is a rule, could you let me know where it is in the rules, I have tried to find it but haven't been able to. I think it probably is a rule so I have been playing that way.


Answer: Hi Scott,

Unfortunately, your friend is incorrect in regards to this service rule. There is no requirement for your serve to go over the endline of his side of the table. The Laws of Table Tennis regarding service confirm this.

There is one notable exception to this ruling, which is for wheelchair athletes. The Laws of Table Tennis state that the point will be a let: if the receiver is in wheelchair due to a physical disability and in service the ball, provided that the service is otherwise correct, leaves the receiver’s court after touching it in the direction of the net; comes to rest on the receiver's court; in singles leaves the receiver’s court after touching it by either of its sidelines.

So unless your friend is playing from a wheelchair, feel free to serve in any direction you like! You can also get more help with How to Serve Legally in Table Tennis.

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