What is an Illegal Serve in Padel | Blog Banner

What is an Illegal Serve in Padel? Learn Back the Rules

Ever been caught off-guard by the rhythm of a padel match, only to find the flow interrupted by a sharp call of “service fault”? If you’re new to the vibrant world of padel tennis, you might be left scratching your head.

From the designated service area behind the service line, where at least one foot must stay grounded, to the precise waist-level underhand serve that sends the ball bouncing into the opponent’s service box, serving in padel has its unique set of rules.

And while the excitement of a first serve has us all on the edge, the intrigue often lies in deciphering the padel serve rules that define the line between a valid serve and an illegal one.

After all, the essence of a gripping padel match isn’t just about hitting the ball over to the opposing team’s court but understanding the dance of rules that govern each play.

Whether you’re a professional Padel player witnessing a double hit or someone stepping forward into their first game, unraveling the intricacies of an illegal serve in Padel can be as exhilarating as the game itself!

Dive in, and let’s serve up some knowledge!

Padel, a game often played in doubles on an enclosed padel court, is a fascinating blend of tennis and squash.

It’s like walking into a whole new world of sports, filled with distinctive rules and incredible energy that resonates with players of all ages.

The padel court itself is a marvel, defined by its service lines, central service line, and even the side walls. Unlike traditional tennis, the walls are not just boundaries; they’re part of the play.

If the ball bounces off the wall, the game continues. It adds a layer of strategy that is pure joy to master.

In Padel, the serve is a critical part of the game. It sets the stage for everything that follows.

A padel serve begins with the server behind the service line, bouncing the ball within the designated service area, and then striking it to land in the opponent’s service box.

The server must keep at least one foot on the ground behind the service line until the ball is struck. The serve must also be an underhand serve, with the ball hitting below waist level.

A first serve that doesn’t comply becomes a service fault, and the player is allowed a second serve.

If both the first and second service are faults, it results in the opposing team gaining a point.

But wait, what if the ball hits the net and then lands in the correct receiver’s service box?

That’s a “let,” and the serving player gets to redo that serve without penalty. Intriguing, right?

Padel’s scoring follows the traditional tennis system with a slight twist. Points progress from love to 15, 30, and 40, and games are won by the first team to win four points with a two-point advantage.

But what happens at the third point or fourth point? Or when the ball bounces incorrectly or even the ball touches the net in between?

The unique padel serve rules come into play, and understanding them only adds to the excitement of the game.

But padel isn’t just about serves. It’s about rallies, volleys, and using the walls to outsmart the opposing team. From the moment the ball lands in the opponent’s court, the game is afoot.

The way the ball simultaneously interacts with the players, the service lines, and the walls creates a dynamic and engaging experience.

Whether it’s about ensuring a valid serve, avoiding a short serve or a double hit, or utilizing the walls for a strategic play, padel is filled with opportunities for creativity and flair.

From the International Padel Federation to local clubs and world Padel tour events, the Padel community is vibrant and welcoming.

Whether you’re playing your first game or you’re a professional Padel player, the sense of camaraderie and sportsmanship in Padel tennis is second to none.

focus shot of padel racket, a player is getting ready to serve

The Serve in Padel: Starting with Style

The serve in padel sets the stage for a thrilling dance of strategy, skill, and excitement. Let’s break down the basic serving rules to understand what makes a padel serve special:

  • Serving Style: The ball must be served underhand, below waist level. Think of it as a gentle toss rather than a dramatic overhead throw.

  • Foot Positioning: One foot must remain behind the service line, firmly on the ground.

  • Designated Service Area: The ball must cross the center service line, landing in the opponent’s service box after the ball bounces.

  • Serve Bounce: The padel serve bounce must be just right – neither too short nor too long.

Simple, right? Now, let’s explore some intriguing variations that can make or break your game.


male player is hitting the ball

What is an Illegal Serve in Padel?

An illegal serve can turn the tide in a padel match. Here’s a thorough look at some scenarios that would lead to an illegal serve:

  • Serving Overhand: Unlike tennis, an overhand serve in padel is a no-go.

  • Ball Bounces Incorrectly: If the ball bounces outside the designated service area or if the second bounce happens too soon or too late, it’s a fault.

  • Wrong Service Box: If the ball lands in the opposite service area or doesn’t cross the center service line, it’s considered wrong.

  • Foot Fault: At least one foot must remain behind the service line as you serve. Stepping forward too soon results in a foot fault.

  • Service Faults: Two consecutive faults result in a lost point.

  • Ball Hits the Wall: If the ball hits the side of the court before bouncing in the opponent’s court, it’s a fault.

Remember the famous incident at a World Padel tour event when a player serves into the wrong service box, losing a critical point? Such mishaps show why understanding these rules is vital.


Illegal Serve in Padel

Why the Serve Matters: Beyond Winning and Losing

An illegal serve isn’t merely about rules; it’s about honoring the beautiful game of padel. Knowing the rules helps you refine your skills, understand your opponents’ court strategy, and improve your game.

From professional Padel players to beginners, embracing the rules means respecting the essence of Padel.

After all, two consecutive points won with a valid service can be the highlight of a match!


male player is preparing to receive the padel ball

Wrapping Up

In the pulsating arena of Padel, every time you hit the ball, there’s more at play than just the thrill of the game. From the finesse of the backhand serve to the strategic positioning of the feet behind the service line, mastering the art of the serve is pivotal.

Yet, even professional Padel players occasionally fumble when the ball splits, crosses the center line wrongly, or the same player serves consecutively in the following games.

Remember, it’s not just about playing padel; it’s about understanding its heart, from the underarm serve to the overhand serve, the finesse of a tie break, and the importance of that second-point ball bounce.

So, as you step forward onto that court, carry with you the wisdom of the padel rules and the stories of games played.

After all, every point repeated and play hits contributes to the rich tapestry of this beautiful game. Keep serving, keep learning, and most of all, keep enjoying the vibrant world of Padel!


Serving in padel tennis follows specific guidelines. The server must stand at least one foot behind the service line and within the designated service area. The ball must be bounced on the ground once, and then an underhand serve is performed, hitting the ball at waist level. It should cross the central service line and land in the opponent’s service box after the padel serves bounce. If it bounces incorrectly or if any other service faults like a double hit occur, a second serve is allowed. Two consecutive service faults lead to losing the point.

An illegal serve occurs when the ball lands outside the opponent’s service box, bounces more than once in the opposite service area, or if the server’s feet are not positioned correctly (e.g., not keeping at least one foot on the ground or behind the service line). Additionally, hitting the ball overhand, above waist level, or before the ball bounces can lead to an illegal serve.

No, overhand serves are not allowed in padel tennis. The server must bounce the ball and hit it underhand at waist level.

A drop serve isn’t typically used in padel tennis. The ball must bounce on the server’s side of the court, and the server must hit the ball underhand at waist level, making sure it lands in the opponent’s court and follows the designated padel serve rules.

Yes, a backhand serve is legal in Padel as long as it adheres to the serving rules, such as hitting the ball underhand at waist level, keeping one foot behind the service line, and making sure the ball lands in the valid service area.

While padel tennis emphasizes underhand serving, players can indeed impart spin to their serves, including topspin. However, the player serves must still follow the guidelines, like hitting the ball at waist level and ensuring it lands within the receiver’s service box.

Table of Contents

Related Post

Nox Equation Lady Advanced 2024 Series Padel Racket

Nox Equation Lady Advanced 2024 Series Padel Racket

Looking to improve your Padel game? The Nox Padel Racket Equation Lady Advanced 2024 is designed for you. This racket suits intermediate to advanced players needing power and control. It has a medium balance for easy handling and a durable carbon frame for a lightweight feel. The anti-vibration system makes

Read More »
Padel Sport in Dubai Where to Play and What You Need to Know
About Padel

Padel Sport in Dubai: Where to Play and What You Need to Know

Padel is a rapidly growing sport in Dubai, blending tennis and squash. Played in doubles on small courts with glass walls, it’s an engaging activity for those seeking an active and fun pastime. With increasing venues and competitions, padel is gaining popularity among locals and expats in the Middle East.

Read More »