How many times is a ball toss allowed in tennis?

A tennis serve can be done by two ways spending on the motion of the racquet. The first one is the overarm serve, which is the conventional manner of serving by tossing the ball high in the air before hitting it. The second is the underarm serve, which is now done as a tactical measure to take the receiver off guard, most often when they are standing far behind the baseline.

The ball toss in the overarm serve is done so that players can execute and impart spin and pace on the ball with the racquet. Oftentimes, spectators see a player toss the ball high but then suddenly pull-out of their service motion. A player do so because of three reasons.

Firstly, in outdoor conditions, there is a possibility that the sun is in line with the direction of the ball toss making it difficult for the player to see the ball. Secondly, the player might be hindered or distracted by some ambient sound which leads to a lapse in focus and concentration. The third reason is that players might do it on purpose to play mind games with their opponent. By tossing the ball high and retracting the service at at the last moment, the player might get an insight into the receiver’s movements or make the receiver lose their focus.

Pulling out of a ball toss and re-tossing the ball is completely legal in lawn tennis. A player can do so as long as they are well within the time provided by the serve clock. Thus, re-tossing the ball as a feign or a genuine reason is legal as long as the player makes their serve within 25 seconds of the previous point.

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