What Happens If The Ball Bounces Back Over The Net On Service?

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Question: What Happens If The Ball Bounces Back Over The Net On Service?

I am a physical education teacher and a student asked me this question about table tennis and how this situation would be scored:

A player is ready to serve to their opponent, he hits the ball on his side, it bounces over the net but he has so much back spin on the ball, the ball bounces back over the net to his side of the table before the opponent can hit it.

I told him that the likelihood of this actually happening is not very good. He agreed but was wondering what the ruling was. Most times when they ask questions I have answers but I could not give him an appropriate one. Can you help?


Answer: Hi Chris - the rule is that it is the server's point. The relevant Law of Table Tennis is the following:

2.7 The Return
2.7.1 The ball, having been served or returned, shall be struck so that it passes over or around the net assembly and touches the opponent's court, either directly or after touching the net assembly.

So although the ball has passed back over the net and touched the server's court, it was not struck by the receiver as is required, so the point goes to the server.

You are also right, it is a difficult serve to do at all, and quite risky to attempt - it's very easy to serve the ball too high or into the net (or even miss it completely!), so you generally don't see it in competition.