1. To begin the game, the first ball has to be served from the Right Service Court by the person who is starting the game. Subsequently, the server serves from the right service court when the score is even, and from the left service court when the score is odd.
2. In doubles, if the serving side wins a point, the same player continues to serve, but changes to the next court to serve so that he/she serves to a different opponent each time.
If the opponents win the point, the service transfers over to them and if their new score is even, their player in the right service court now takes the serve; if the score is odd, the player in the left service court must serve.
3. For the service, all players must be standing inside their respective courts, inside and not touching court lines.
4. The game is begun by the player or team who wins the ‘toss’ or any other mutually decided method. To serve, he/she has to bounce the ball within the court before hitting it over the net into the opponent’s service court. On the other side, the opponent must again take the ball only after it has bounced. Once this requirement has been fulfilled by both sides, the ball can be taken in any preferred way, with a bounce or before it bounces, ie, in flight.
5. A ball may also be served with a ‘Back Hand’ stroke, from the side opposite the hand being used to serve.
6. Each half of the court is divided into the Left Service Court and the Right Service Court. For the purposes of starting a game or for playing for a point, the ball has to be ‘served’ from a pre-determined court, as explained further.
7. For play to begin, the ball is served from the right court. If the point is won and the score becomes 1 – 0, the player who served from the right court now moves over to the left court to serve, and so on. If it is a singles game, the opponent also has to move in tandem with the player who won the point, so as to be standing in the court diagonally opposite the player about to serve. In case of doubles, there would already be a player in that court.
8. Once play has commenced, the court to serve from is determined by the score. If the server has an even number for his/her score, the ball will be served from the Right court. If the score happens to be an odd number, then the service must be from the Left court. It’s the same for the doubles. For an even score, the player in the Right Service Court will take the service, and vice versa. In short, all scores that are even, including ‘0’ (zero), are taken from the Right. All odds are taken from the Left.
9. When the serving side loses a point, the serve immediately passes to their opponent(s). The players will now serve from the court as determined by the even or odd score existing at that time.
10. ‘En Passant’, which means ‘In Passing’, is a French term to describe a unique form of play in the game of Jombola; if a player hits the ball and it does not go over the net but still remains in flight on the same side, the ball can be taken again by the same player or his / her partner, any number of times, provided that the umpire is satisfied that the ball was not ‘Set’ by the player for that purpose, and secondly, that it has not yet touched the ground. In simple terms, this is also referred to as an ‘Ace’. If the ball is hit twice in a similar manner, it is referred to as a ‘Double Ace’, and so on. There is also no limit to the number of times a ball is played ‘En Passant’. However, En Passant cannot be applied at the service, only from the time the ball has been returned by the opponent.
11. A ball is still considered to be in play if it bounces off the net and falls back into the same court from where it was hit. As long as it has not yet touched the ground, any player can still take the ball, provided there is no contactbetween the player or his/her racquet with the net.
12. If the racquet or the players’ body touches the net during play, it’s a foul.
13. If the ball touches the player’s body, the point is lost. However, if the ball inadvertently touches the fingers clasped onto the racquet of the player taking the shot, and it is clear that the player had no intention of using his / her hand, play may continue.
14. A ball taken from outside the court must pass over the net into the opponents court.
Balls may be spun to alter their bounce and direction (for example, topspin and backspin in tennis), and players may slice the ball (strike it with an angled racket face) to produce such spin. Slicing the ball from the side may cause it to travel in a different direction from the direction suggested by the player’s racket or body movement. This is used to deceive opponents. Slicing the ball from the side may cause it to follow a slightly curved path (as seen from above the court), and the deceleration imparted by the spin causes sliced strokes to slow down more suddenly towards the end of their flight path. This can be used to create dropshots and smashes that dip more steeply after they pass the net.
If a ‘Let’ is called, the rally is stopped and replayed with no change to the score. ‘Lets’ may occur because of some unexpected disturbance from which it would be unreasonable to carry on play, such as a ball from an adjacent court landing in the court of play, or the ball showing damage in mid rally. A ‘Let’ may also be called if the receiver is not ready when the service is delivered; yet, if the receiver attempts to return the ball, he/she shall be judged to have been ready. The decision to declare a ‘Let’ rests entirely with the umpire.