Last updated on 10-Jul-2011 03:14:25 PM
What advice would you give an umpire (in a one umpire only situation) who having read the rules below insists that they require to see the ball throughout the serve and will call a fault if they can't?
2.06.06 It is the responsibility of the player to serve so that the umpire or the assistant umpire can be satisfied that he complies with the requirements of the Laws, and either may decide that a service is incorrect.
10.5.1 The primary requirement of the current service law is for the server to ensure that the receiver can see the ball throughout the service, and the umpire or assistant umpire must be satisfied that this is the case. The umpire or assistant umpire should look to see that the ball is not hidden from the receiver at any stage by any part of the body, or anything he or she or his or her doubles partner is wearing or carrying, and that the server’s free arm, which includes the free hand, is moved from the space between the ball and the net, as soon as he or she releases the ball.
10.5.3 From their positions in line with the net it may be impractical for the umpire and/or an assistant umpire to judge whether the ball is struck illegally if it is struck close to the end line or beside a player’s body. It is, however, the responsibility of the player to serve so that the correctness of his or her service action can be seen and if he or she serves near the margins of illegality he or she runs the risk of being penalised.
My advice would be to move the umpire's chair to the other side of the table or, wait till the next game when the players change ends.
The umpires doesn't need to see the ball, but they have to be satisfied that it is legal. In a practical sense it is difficult to tell from the umpires chair, that is one of the downfalls of the rule.
The rule does say that it is up to the player's responsibility to make sure it is seen as legal, however getting back to your question, the umpire doesn't have to see the ball throughout the serve.