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Code Of Play



The Players Guide for Matches When Officials Are Not Present


All players have a responsibility to be familiar with the basic rules and customs of tennis. Ignorance of the rules often spoils a good match.

The Code is a summary of procedures and unwritten rules that all players should follow. If players of good will follow the principles of The Code, they should always be able to reach an agreement making tennis more fun and a better game for all.


1. Tennis is a game that requires cooperation and courtesy from all participants. Make tennis a fun game by not:

*conducting loud analysis after points

*complaining about shots like lobs and drop shots

*losing your temper, using vile language, throwing your racket, or slamming a ball in anger.

2. All points played in good faith stand. Shaking hands at the end of the match is an acknowledgment by the players that the match is over.


3. A player should provide the opponent a 10 minute warm-up. Each player should make a special effort to hit shots directly to the opponent.

4. A player should take all warm-up serves before the first serve of the match. Service practice is for serving only and not a time to practice service returns.


5. A Player calls shots landing on only his/her side of the net.

6. A player that has any doubts about a call must resolve it in favor of the opponent.

7. A ball touching any part of the line is good. A ball 99% out is still 100% good.

8. A ball that cannot be called out is good.

9. When you are looking across a line, on your side of the net, don't call a ball out unless you can clearly see the part of the court between where the ball hit and the line. It is difficult for a player who stands on one baseline to question a call on a ball that landed near the other baseline.

10. When making calls, all points in a match should be treated the same.

11. When an opponents opinion is requested, it must be accepted. If neither opponent has an opinion, the ball is considered good.

12. If a player mistakenly calls a ball out and then realizes it is good, the point shall be replayed if the ball was returned.

13. A player should call against him/herself any ball the player clearly sees out.

14. If partners disagree on whether a ball is good, they should call it good.

15. The opponent is entitled to a prompt audible or visible out call.

16. When a player genuinely doubts an opponents call, the player may ask: Are you sure of the call? If the opponent says yes, the call shall be accepted. If the opponent isn't sure, the opponent loses the point. THERE SHALL BE NO FURTHER DELAY OR DISCUSSION.

17. A spectator has no part in the match to make a call.

18. A player shall make all calls promptly after the ball has hit the court. A call shall be made before the player's return shot has gone out of play or before the opponent has returned the shot.

19. A player shall promptly acknowledge if:

*a ball touches a player, the player touches the net,

* the player hits a ball before it crosses the net,

* the player deliberately carries or double hit the ball, or

* the ball bounces more than once in the players court

In each case, the player loses the point.


20. When a server requests three balls, the receiver shall promptly comply when the 3 balls are readily available. Distant balls shall be retrieved at the end of the game.

21. A player may warn an opponent that the opponent has committed a flagrant foot fault. Habitual foot faulting, whether intentional or careless, is just as surely cheating as is making a deliberate bad line call.

22. In doubles, the receivers partner should help call the service line, and the receiver should call the sideline and the center service line. Either partner may call a ball that is clearly seen.

23. Any player may call a let.

24. A player shall not put into play or hit over the net any serve that is an obvious fault.

25. The receiver shall play to the reasonable pace of the server. The receiver should make no effort to return a serve when the receiver is not ready.

26. When the second service motion is interrupted by a ball coming onto the court, the server is entitled to two serves. When there is a delay between the first and second serves:

*the server gets one serve if the server was the cause of the delay,

*the server gets two serves if the delay was caused by the receiver or if there was outside interference.

The time it takes to clear a ball that comes onto the court between the first and second serves is not considered sufficient time to warrant the server receiving two serves unless this time is so prolonged as to constitute an interruption.



28. The server shall announce the game score before the first point of the game and before each serve of the game.

29. Disputes over the score shall be resolved by using one of the following methods in this order:

*First- count all points and games agreed upon by the players and replay only the disputed points or games

*Second- play from a score mutually agreeable to all players or

*Third- spin a racket or toss a coin.

30. A player shall not talk while the ball is moving toward the opponents side of the court. If the players talking interferes with an opponent's ability to play the ball the player loses the point.

31. A player make a movement with the body while the ball is in play. However,any movement or any sound that is made solely to distract an opponent, including, not limited to waving the arms or racket or stamping the feet, is not allowed.

32. A let is authorized only if the player could have made the shot had he/she not been hindered.

33. Grunting and other loud noises may bother not only opponents but also players on adjacent courts. This could result in a let or loss of point.

34. When a player accidentally injures an opponent, the opponent suffers the consequences. When a player deliberately injures an opponent and affects the opponents ability to play, then the opponent wins the match by default. Hitting a ball or throwing a racket in anger is considered a deliberate act.


35. Each player is responsible for removing stray balls and other objects from the players end of the court. A player shall not go behind an adjacent court to retrieve a ball, nor ask a player for return of a ball until his/her point is over. When returning a ball, wait until their point is over and return it to the server.

36. A player loses a point if the ball is caught before it bounces.

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