Last updated on 24-Apr-2012 08:07:43 AM
This video is from the recent world team championships. It is a quarter final. The umpire originally calls a foul serve on Gardos, claiming he is not throwing the ball up high enough. After a couple of points, he then changes his serve to a high toss serve. In the second end, the Polish player, Such, is then constantly called up on his serve, with the umpire again claiming he is not throwing the ball up straight.
Admittedly, I think Such could throw the ball more vertically, but surely this angle is acceptable?
Look at these serves from Wang Hao. Wang doesn't throw the ball up anything like straight, yet doesn't get pulled up for it. Why not!?
Also, the umpire who is calling the foul serve is the umpire who is not in charge of the scoreboard. So when the player in question is serving at the top end of the table as we look at it, how can that umpire see whether the ball is thrown up straight? The server has his back to him!
The service rule is terrible, there are too many grey areas. The player should be allowed to throw the ball up at a certain angle. The angle that the ball is thrown up at should make little difference, as long as you can see the contact point as the ball is struck.
What do you think?
You raise a really valid point. The service rule is terrible mainly because it is very difficult to police. It is not even the umpires problem. The rule is too difficult to implement practically.
In the case of Such I would say that his service is acceptable. The rule says almost vertical which is the problem. Almost everyone that does the Reverse Pendulum serve is throwing the ball in towards themselves. Just look at where they start with the ball toss and where they actually hit the ball from. It can't be straight.
The issue is that you can gain a big advantage if you are throwing the ball into the bat because the ball is hitting the bat faster and so you will get more spin.
I am surre at this event the Referee would have sat the umpires down at the start of the event and said this is what we need to look for. As a result their focus is on this one rule and you get ridiculous situations like in the Such match.
On the point yo make about the player having his back to the umpire, the umpire needs to be convinced by the player that he is trowing the ball up correctly. It states that if the umpire has seen the same serve from the first end and it was a problem, they can call a fault when they are at the other end if they believe it is the same serve.
The service rule needs to be simpler. Either allow everything or be really strict and say something like the ball has to be thrown vertically (not almost) and it needs to be completely in front of the whole body. It wouldn't be popular with players to start with but it may solve issues like this.
Wang Hao's serve is clearly illegal in this example. Hiding the serve is equally if not more important than throwing the ball in towards you.