The court shall be a rectangle 78 feet
(23.77m.) long and 27 feet (8.23m.) wide.
[USTA Comment: See Rule 34 for
a doubles court.]
It shall be divided across the middle by
a net suspended from a cord or metal cable of a maximum diameter of one-third
of an inch (0.8cm.), the ends of which shall be attached to, or pass over,
the tops of two posts, which shall be not more than 6 inches (15cm.) square
or 6 inches (15cm.) in diameter. These posts shall not be higher than
1 inch (2.5 cm.) above the top of the net cord. The selfs of the posts
shall be 3 feet (0.914m.) outside the court on each side and the height
of the posts shall be such that the top of the cord or metal cable shall
be 3 feet 6 inches (1.07m.) above the ground.
When a combined doubles (see Rule
34) and singles court with a doubles net is used for singles,
the net must be supported to a height of 3 feet 6 inches (1.07m.)
by means of two posts, called "singles sticks", which
shall be not more than 3 inches (7.5cm.) square or 3 inches (7.5cm.)
in diameter. The selfs of the singles sticks shall be 3 feet (0.914m.)
outside the singles court on each side.
The net shall be extended fully so that it
fills completely the space between the two posts and shall be of sufficiently
small mesh to prevent the ball passing through. The height of the net
shall be 3 feet (0.914m.) at the self, where it shall be held down taut
by a strap not more than 2 inches (5cm.) wide and completely white in
color. There shall be a band covering the cord or metal cable and the
top of the net of not less than 2 inches (5cm.) nor more than 2.5 inches
(6.3cm.) in depth on each side and completely white in colour.
[USTA Comment: An approved method
for obtaining proper net tautness is: Loosen the self strap. Tighten
the net cord until it is approximately 40 inches above the ground, being
careful not to overtighten the net. Tighten the self strap until the
self of the net is 36 inches above the ground. These measurements should
always be made before the first match of the day.]
There shall be no advertisement on the net,
strap, band or singles sticks.
The lines bounding the ends and sides of
the Court shall respectively be called the base-lines and the side-lines.
On each side of the net, at a distance of 21 feet (6.40m.) from it and
parallel with it, shall be drawn the service-lines. The space on each
side of the net between the service-line and the side-lines shall be divided
into two equal parts called the service-courts by the self service-line
which must be 2 inches (5cm.) in width, drawn half-way between, and parallel
with, the side-lines. Each base-line shall be bisected by an imaginary
continuation of the self service-line to a line 4 inches (10cm.) in
length and 2 inches (5cm.) in width called the self mark drawn inside
the Court, at right angles to and in contact with such base-lines. All
other lines shall be not less than 1 inch (2.5cm.) nor more than 2 inches
(5cm.) in width, except the base-line, which may be 4 inches (10cm.) in
width, and all measurements shall be made to the outside of the lines.
All lines shall be of uniform color.
If advertising or any other material is placed
at the back of the court, it may not contain white, or yellow. A light
color may only be used if this does not interfere with the vision of the
If advertisements are placed on the chairs
of the Linesmen sitting at the back of the court, they may not contain
white, or yellow. A light color may only be used if this does not interfere
with the vision of the players.
ITF Note 1: In the case of the Davis
Cup or other Official Championships of the International Tennis Federation,
there shall be a space behind each base-line of not less than 21 feet
(6.4m.), and at the sides of not less than 12 feet (3.66m.). The chairs
of the linesmen may be placed at the back of the court within the 21 feet
or at the side of the court within the 12 feet, provided they do not protrude
into that area more than 3 feet (.914m).
ITF Note 2: In the case of the stadium
courts in the Davis Cup World Group and the Federation Cup Main
Draw there should be space behind each baseline of not less than 27 feet
(8.23m) and at the sides of not less than 15 feet (4.57m).
ITF Note 3: At club or recreation
level, the space behind each baseline should be not less than 18 feet
(5.5m) and at the sides not less than 10 feet (3.05m).
: Permanent Fixtures
The permanent fixtures of the Court shall
include not only the net, posts, singles sticks, cord or metal cable,
strap and band, but also, where there are any such, the back and side
stops, the stands, fixed or movable seats and chairs round the Court,
and their occupants, all other fixtures around and above the Court, and
the Umpire, Net-cord Judge, Foot-fault Judge, Linesmen and Ball Boys when
in their respective places.
ITF Note: For the purpose of this
Rule, the word "Umpire" comprehends the Umpire, the persons
entitled to a seat on the Court, and all those persons designated to assist
the Umpire in the conduct of a match.
The ball shall have a uniform outer surface
and shall be white or yellow in color. If there are any seams, they shall
The ball shall be more than two and a half
inches (6.35cm.) and less than two and five-eighths inches (6.67cm.) in
diameter, and more than two ounces (56.7 grams) and less than two and
one-sixteenth ounces (58.5 grams) in weight.
The ball shall have a bound of more than
53 inches (135cm.) and less than 58 inches (147cm.) when dropped 100 inches
(254cm.) upon a concrete base.
The ball shall have a forward deformation
of more than .220 of an inch (.56cm.) and less than .290 of an inch (.74cm.)
and a return deformation of more than .315 of an inch (.80cm.) and less
than .425 of an inch (1.08cm.) at 18 lb. (8.165kg.) load. The two deformation
figures shall be the averages of three individual readings along three
axes of the ball and no two individual readings shall differ by more than
.030 of an inch (.08cm.) in each case.
For play above 4,000 feet (1219m) in altitude
above sea level, two additional types of ball may be used. The first type
is identical to those described above except that the bound shall be more
than 48 inches (121.92cm) and less than 53 inches (135cm) and the ball
shall have an internal pressure that is greater than the external pressure.
This type of tennis ball is commonly known as a pressurized ball. The
second type is identical to those described above except that they shall
have a bound of more than 53 inches (135cm) and less than 58 inches (147cm)
and shall have an internal pressure that is approximately equal to the
external pressure and have been acclimatized for 60 days or more at the
altitude of the specific tournament. This type of tennis ball is commonly
known as a zero-pressure or non-pressurized ball.
All tests for bound, size and deformation
shall be made in accordance with the Regulations in the Appendix
RULE 4 : The Racket
Rackets failing to comply with the following
specifications are not approved for play under the Rules of Tennis:
(a) The hitting surface of the rachet
shall be flat and consist of a pattern of crossed strings connected to
a frame and alternately interlaced or bonded where they cross; and the
stringing pattern shall be generally uniform, and in particular not less
dense in the self than in any other area. The strings shall be free
of attached objects and protrusions other than those utilized solely and
specifically to limit or prevent wear and tear or vibration and which
are reasonable in size and placement for such purposes.
(b) The frame of the racket shall
not exceed 32 inches (81.28cm.) in overall length, including the handle
and 12.5 inches (31.75cm.) in overall width. The strung surface shall
not exceed 15.5 inches (39.37cm.) in overall length, and 11.5 inches (29.21cm.)
in overall width.
(c) The frame, including the handle,
shall be free of attached objects and devices other than those utilized
solely and specifically to limit or prevent wear and tear or vibration,
or to distribute weight. Any objects and devices must be reasonable in
size and placement for such purposes.
(d) The frame, including the handle
and the strings, shall be free of any device which makes it possible to
change materially the shape of the racket, or to change the weight distribution
in the direction of the longitudinal axis of the racket which would alter
the swing moment of inertia, during the playing of a point.
The International Tennis Federation shall
rule on the question of whether any racket or prototype complies with
the above specifications or is otherwise approved, or not approved, for
play. Such ruling may be undertaken on its own initiative, or upon application
by any party with a bona fide interest therein, including any player,
equipment manufacturer or National Association or members thereof. Such
rulings and applications shall be made in accordance with the applicable
Review and Hearing Procedures of the International Tennis Federation,
copies of which may be obtained from the office of the Secretary.
Case 1. Can there be more than one
set of strings on the hitting surface of a racket?
Decision. No. The rule clearly mentions
a pattern, and not patterns, of crossed strings.
Case 2. Is the stringing pattern of
a racket considered to be generally uniform and flat if the strings are
on more than one plane?
Case 3. Can a vibration dampening
device be placed on the strings of a racket and if so here can it be placed?
Decision. Yes; but such devices may
only be placed outside the pattern of crossed strings.
: Server and Receiver
The players shall stand on opposite sides of the net;
the player who first delivers the ball shall be called the Server, and
the other the Receiver.
Case 1. Does a player, attempting stroke, lose
the point if he crosses an imaginary line in the extension of the net,
(a) before striking the ball,
(b) after striking the ball?
Decision. He does not lose the point
in either case by crossing the imaginary line and provided he does
not enter the lines bounding his opponents Court (Rule
20 (e)) In regard to hindrance, his opponent my ask for the
decision of the Umpire under Rules 21
Case 2. The Server claims that the Receiver
must stand within the lines bounding his Court. Is this necessary?
Decision. No. The Receiver my stand wherever
he pleases on his own side of the net.
: Choice of Ends and Service
The choice of ends and the right to be Server or Receiver
in the first game shall be decided by toss. The player winning the toss
may choose or require his opponent to choose:
(a) The right to be Server or Receiver, in
which case the other player shall choose the end; or
(b) The end, in which case the other player
shall choose the right to be Server or Receiver.
[USTA Comment: The toss shall be made before
the warm-up. Choices should be made promptly after the toss and are irrevocable,
except that if the match is postponed or suspended before the start of
: The Service
The service shall be delivered in the following manner.
Immediately before commencing to serve, the Server shall stand with both
feet at rest behind (i.e. further from the net than) the base-line, and
within the imaginary continuations of the self-mark and side-line. The
Server shall then project the ball by hand into the air in any direction
and before it hits the ground strike it with his racket, and the delivery
shall be deemed to have been completed at the moment of the impact of
the racket and the ball. A player with the use of only one arm may utilize
his racket for the projection.
[USTA Comment: The service begins when the
Server takes a ready position (i.e., both feet at rest behind the baseline)
and ends when his racket makes contact with the ball or when he misses
the ball in attempting to serve it.]
[USTA Comment: There is no restriction regarding
the kind of service which may be used; that is, the player may use an
underhand or overhand service at his discretion.]
Case 1. May the Server in a singles game take
his stand behind the portion of the base-line between the side-lines of
the Singles Court and the Doubles Court?
[USTA Comment: The server may stand anywhere
in back of the baseline between the imaginary extensions of the self
mark and the singles sideline.]
Case 2. If a player, when serving, throws up
two or more balls instead of one, does he lose that service?
Decision. No. A let should be called, but if
the Umpire regards the action as deliberate he may take action under
[USTA Comment: There is no restriction regarding
the kind of service which may be used; that is, the player may use an
underhand or overhand service at his discretion.]
: Foot Fault
(a) The Server shall throughout the delivery
of the service:
(i) Not change his position by walking or running.
The Server shall not by slight movements of the feet which do not materially
affect the location originally taken up by him, be deemed "to change
his position by walking or running".
(ii) Not touch, with either foot, any area
other than that behind the base-line within the imaginary extensions of
the self mark and side-lines.
(b) The word "foot" means the extremity
of the leg below the ankle.
[USTA Comment: This rule covers the most decisive
stroke in the game, and there is no justification for its not being obeyed
by players and enforced by officials. No official has the right to instruct
any umpire to disregard violations of it. In a non-officiated match, the
Receiver, or his partner, may call foot faults after all efforts (appeal
to the server, request for an umpire, etc.) have failed and the foot faulting
is so flagrant as to be clearly perceptible from the Receiver's side.
It is improper for any official to warn a player that
he is in danger of having a foot fault called on him. On the other hand
if a player in all sincerity, asks for an explanation of how he foot faulted,
either the Line Umpire or the Chair Umpire should give him that information.]
: Delivery of Service
(a) In delivering the service, the Server shall
stand alternately behind the right and left Courts beginning from the
right in every game. If service from a wrong half of the Court occurs
and is undetected, all play resulting from such wrong service or services
shall stand, but the inaccuracy of station shall be corrected immediately
it is discovered.
(b) The ball served shall
pass over the net and hit the ground within the Service Court which is
diagonally opposite, or upon any line bounding such Court, before the
Receiver returns it.
: Service Fault
The Service is a fault:
(a) If the Server commits any breach
of Rules 7, 8
(b) If he misses the ball in attempting to
(c) If the ball served touches
a permanent fixture (other than the net, strap or band) before it hits
Case 1. After throwing a ball up preparatory
to serving the Server decides not to strike at it and catches it instead.
Is it a fault?
[USTA Comment: As long as the Server makes
no attempt to strike the ball it is immaterial whether he catches it in
his hand or on his racket or lets it drop to the ground.]
Case 2. In serving in a singles game played
on a Doubles Court with doubles posts and singles sticks the ball hits
a singles stick and then hits the ground within the lines of the correct
Service Court. Is this a fault or a let?
Decision. In serving it is a fault because
the singles stick the doubles post and that portion of the net or
band between them are permanent fixtures. (Rules
2 and 10 and note
to Rule 24.).
[USTA Comment: The significant point governing
Case 2 is that the part of the net and band outside the singles
sticks is not part of the net over which this singles match is being
played. Thus such a serve is a fault under the provisions of Article
(c) above . . . By the same token this would be a fault also if
it were a singles game played with permanent posts in the singles
position. See Case 1 under Rule 24
for difference between "service" and "good return"
with respect to a ball's hitting a net post.]
: Second Service
After a fault (if it is the first fault) the Server
shall serve again from behind the same half of the Court from which
he served that fault, unless the service was from the wrong half,
when, in accordance with Rule 9, the
Server shall be entitled to one service only from behind the other
Case 1. A player serves from a wrong Court.
He loses the point and then claims it was a fault because of his wrong
Decision. The point stands as played and the
next service should be from the correct station according to the score.
Case 2. The point score being 15 all the Server
by mistake serves from the left-hand Court. He wins the point. He then
serves again from the right-hand Court delivering a fault. This mistake
in station is then discovered. Is he entitled to the previous point? From
which Court should he next serve?
Decision. The previous point stands. The next
service should be from the left-hand Court the score being 30/15 and the
Server has served one fault.
: When To Serve
The Server shall not serve until the Receiver is ready.
If the latter attempts to return the service, he shall be deemed ready.
If, however, the Receiver signifies that he is not ready, he may not claim
a fault because the ball does not hit the ground within the limits fixed
for the service.
[USTA Comment: The Server
must wait until the Receiver is ready for the second service as well as
the first, and if the Receiver claims to be not ready and does not make
any effort to return a service, the Server's claim for the point may not
be honored even though the service was good. However, the Receiver, having
indicated he is ready, may not become unready unless some outside interference
In all cases where a let has to be called under the
rules, or to provide for an interruption to play, it shall have the following
(a) When called solely in respect of a service
that one service only shall be replayed.
(b) When called under any other circumstance,
the point shall be replayed.
Case 1. A service is interrupted by some cause
outside those defined in Rule 14. Should
the service only be replayed?
Decision. No the whole point must be replayed.
[USTA Comment: If the interruption occurs during
delivery of the second service, the Server gets two serves. Example: On
a second service a linesman calls "fault" and immediately corrects
it, the Receiver meanwhile having let the ball go by. The Server is entitled
to two serves, on this ground: The corrected call means that the Server
has put the ball into play with a good service, and once the ball is in
play and a let is called, the point must be replayed. Note, however, that
if the serve is an unmistakable ace - that is, the Umpire is sure that
the erroneous call had no part in the Receiver's inability to play the
ball - the point should be declared for the Server.
If a delay between first and second serves is caused
by the Receiver, by an official or by an outside interference the whole
point shall be replayed; if the delay is caused by the Server, the Server
has one serve to come. A spectator's outcry (of "out", "fault"
or other) is not a valid basis for replay of a point, but action should
be taken to prevent a recurrence.]
Case 2. If a ball in play becomes broken, should
a let be called?
[USTA Comment: A ball shall be regarded as
having become "broken" if, in the opinion of the Chair Umpire,
it is found to have lost compression to the point of being unfit for further
play, or unfit for any reason, and it is clear the defective ball was
the one in play.]
: The "Let" in Service
The service is a let:
(a) If the ball served touches
the net, strap or band, and is otherwise good, or, after touching the
net, strap or band, touches the Receiver or anything which he wears or
carries before hitting the ground.
(b) If a service or a fault is delivered when
the Receiver is not ready (see Rule 12).
In case of a let, that particular service shall not
count, and the Server shall serve again, but a service let does not annul
a previous fault.
: Order of Service
At the end of the first game the Receiver shall become
Server, and the Server Receiver; and so on alternately in all the subsequent
games of a match. If a player serves out of turn, the player who ought
to have served shall serve as soon as the mistake is discovered, but all
points scored before such discovery shall be reckoned. If a game shall
have been completed before such discovery, the order of service remains
as altered. A fault served before such discovery shall not be reckoned.
: When Players Change Ends
The players shall change ends at the end of the first,
third and every subsequent alternate game of each set, and at the end
of each set unless the total number of games in such set is even, in which
case the change is not made until the end of the first game of the next
If a mistake is made and the correct sequence is not
followed the players must take up their correct station as soon as the
discovery is made and follow their original sequence.
: The Ball in Play
A ball is in play from the moment at which it is delivered
in service. Unless a fault or a let is called it remains in play until
the point is decided.
[USTA Comment: A point is not decided simply
when, or because, a good shot has clearly passed a player, or when an
apselfly bad shot passes over a baseline or sideline. An outgoing ball
is still definitely in play until it actually strikes the ground, backstop
or a permanent fixture (other than the net, posts, singles sticks, cord
or metal cable, strap or band), or a player. The same applies to a good
ball, bounding after it has landed in the proper court. A ball that becomes
imbedded in the net is out of play.]
[USTA Comment: When a ball is hit into the
net and the player on the other side, thinking the ball is coming over,
strikes at it and hits the next he loses the point if his touching the
net occurs while the ball is still in play.]
Case 1. A player fails
to make a good return. No call is made and the ball remains in play. May
his opponent later claim the point after the rally has ended?
Decision. No. The point may not be claimed
if the players continue to play after he error has been made, provided
the opponent was not hindered.
[USTA Comment: An out call on A's shot to B's
court must be made before B's shot has either gone out of play or
has been hit by A. See Case 3 under Rule
29 regarding this situation in an umpired match.]
: Server Wins Point
The Server wins the point:
(a) If the ball served, not being a let under
Rule 14, touches the Receiver or anything
which he wears or carries, before it hits the ground;
(b) If the Receiver otherwise loses the point
as provided by Rule 20.
: Receiver Wins Point
The Receiver wins the point:
(a) If the Server serves two consecutive faults;
(b) If the Server otherwise loses the point
as provided by Rule 20.
: Player Loses Point
A player loses the point if:
(a) He fails, before the ball in play
has hit the ground twice consecutively, to return it directly over
the net (except as provided in Rule 24(a)
or (c)); or
(b) He returns the ball in play so that it
hits the ground, a permanent fixture, or other object, outside any
of the lines which bound his opponent's Court (except as provided
in Rule 24(a)
or (c)); or
[USTA Comment: A ball hitting a scoring device
or other object attached to a net post results in loss of point to the
(c) He volleys the ball
and fails to make a good return even when standing outside the Court;
(d) In playing the ball
he deliberately carries or catches it on his racket or deliberately touches
it with his racket more than once; or
[USTA Comment: Only when there is a definite
"second push " by the player does his shot become illegal, with
consequent loss of point. The word 'deliberately' is the key word in this
rule. Two hits occurring in the course of a single continuous swing are
not deemed a double hit.]
(e) He or his racket (in
his hand or otherwise) or anything which he wears or carries touches the
net, posts, singles sticks, cord or metal cable, strap or band, or the
ground within his opponent's Court at any time while the ball is in play;
[USTA Comment: Touching a pipe support that
runs across the court at the bottom of the net is interpreted as
touching the net; See USTA Comment under
Rule 23 for a ball which hits a pipe support.]
(f) He volleys the ball before it has passed
the net; or
(g) The ball in play touches
him or anything that he wears or carries, except his racket in his hand
or hands; or
[USTA Comment: This loss of point occurs regardless
of whether the player is inside or outside the bounds of his court when
the ball touches him.]
(h) He throws his racket
at and hits the ball; or
(i) He deliberately and materially changes
the shape of his racket during the playing of the point.
Case 1. In serving, the racket flies from the
Server's hand and touches the net before the ball has touched the ground.
Is his a fault or does the player lose he point?
Decision. The Server loses the point because
his racket touches the net while the ball is in play (Rule
Case 2. In serving the racket flies from the
Server's hand and touches the net after the ball has touched the ground
outside the proper court. Is this a fault or does the player lose the
Decision. This is a fault because the ball
was out of play when he racket touched the net.
Case 3. A and B are playing against C and D.
A is serving to D. C touches the net before the ball touches the ground.
A fault is then called because the service falls outside the Service Court.
Do C and D lose he point?
Decision. The call "fault" is an
erroneous one. C and D had already lost the point before "fault"
could be called because C touched the net whilst the ball was in
play (Rule 20 (e)).
Case 4. May a player jump over the net into
his opponent's Court while the ball is in play and not suffer penalty?
Decision. No. He loses the point (Rule
Case 5. A cuts the ball just over the net and
it returns to A's side. B, unable to reach the ball, throws his racket
and hits the ball. Both racket and ball fall over the net on A's Court.
A returns the ball outside of B's Court. Does B win or lose the point?
Decision. B loses the point (Rule
20 (e) and (h)).
Case 6. A player standing outside the service
Court is struck by a service ball before it has touched the ground. Does
he win or lose the point?
Decision. The player struck loses the
point (Rule 20 (d), except as provided
under Rule 14 (a).
Case 7. A player standing outside the Court
volleys the ball or catches it in his hand and claims the point because
the ball was certainly going out of court.
Decision. In no circumstances can he claim
(1) If he catches the ball he loses the point
under Rule 20 (g)
(2) If he volleys it and makes a bad return
he loses he point under Rule 20 (c).
(3) If he volleys it and makes a good return
the rally continues.
: Player Hinders Opponent
If a player commits any act which hinders his opponent
in making a stroke, then, if this is deliberate, he shall lose the point
or if involuntary, the point shall be replayed.
[USTA Comment: 'Deliberate' means a player
did what he intended to do, although the resulting effect on his opponent
might or might not have been what he intended. Example: a player, after
his return is in the air, gives advice to his partner in such a loud voice
that his opponent is hindered. 'Involuntary' means a non-intentional act
such as a hat blowing off or a scream resulting from a sudden wasp sting.]
[USTA Comment: Upon appeal by a competitor
that the server's action in discarding a "second ball" after
a rally has started constitutes a distraction (hindrance), the Umpire,
if he deems the claim valid, shall require the server to make some other
satisfactory disposition of the ball. Failure to comply with this instruction
shall result in loss of a point on each occasion.]
Case 1. Is a player liable to a penalty if
in making a stroke he touches his opponent?
Decision. No, unless the Umpire deems it necessary
to take action under Rule 21.
Case 2. When a ball bounds back over the net
the player concerned may reach over the net in order to play he ball.
What is the ruling if the player is hindered from doing this by his opponent?
Decision. In accordance with Rule
21 the Umpire may either award the point to the player hindered
or order the point to be replayed (See also Rule
Case 3. Does an involuntary double hit constitute
an act which hinders an opponent within Rule
: Ball Falls on Line
A ball falling on a line is regarded as falling in
the Court bounded by that line.
[USTA Comment: In a non-officiated singles
match, each player makes the call on any ball hit toward his side of the
net. If a player cannot call a ball out with surety he should regard it
as good. In doubles, normally the Receiver's partner makes the calls with
respect to the service line, with the Receiver calling on the side and
self lines, but either partner may make the call on any ball he clearly
: Ball Touches Permanent Fixtures
If the ball in play touches a permanent fixture other
than the net, posts, singles sticks, cord or metal cable, strap or band)
after it has hit the ground, the player who struck it wins the point;
if before it hits the ground, his opponent wins the point.
[USTA Comment: A ball
in play that strikes a pipe support running across the court at
the base of the net is treated the same as a ball landing on clear
ground. See also Rule 20(e) for a player
who touches a pipe support.]
Case 1. A return hits the Umpire or his chair
or stand. The player claims that the ball was going into Court.
Decision. He loses the point.
: A Good Return
It is a good return:
(a) If the ball touches
the net, posts, singles sticks, cord or metal cable, strap or band, provided
that it passes over any of them and hits the ground within the court;
(b) If the ball, served or returned, hits the
ground within the proper Court and rebounds or is blown back over the
net, and the player whose turn it is to strike reaches over the net and
plays the ball, provided that neither he nor any part of his clothes or
racket touches the net, posts, singles sticks, cord or metal cable strap
or band or the ground within his opponent's Court, and that the stroke
is otherwise good, or
(c) If the ball is returned
outside the posts, or singles sticks, either above or below the level
of the top of the net, even though it touches the posts or singles sticks,
provided that it hits the ground within the proper Court, or
(d) If a player's racket
passes over the net after he has returned the ball provided the ball passes
the net before being played and is properly returned; or
(e) If a player succeeds in returning the ball,
served or in play, which strikes a ball lying in the Court.
[USTA Comment: Paragraph (e) of the rule refers
to a ball lying on the court at the start of the point, as a result
of a service let or fault, or as a result of a player dropping it.
If a ball in play strikes a rolling or stationary "foreign"
ball that has come from elsewhere after the point started, a let
should be played. See Case 7 under Rule
25 and note that it pertains to an object other than a ball
that is being used in the match.]
Note to Rule
24: In a singles match, if, for the sake of convenience,
a doubles Court is equipped with singles sticks for the purpose
of a singles game then the doubles posts and those portions of the
net, cord or metal cable and the band outside such singles sticks
shall at all times be permanent fixtures, and are not regarded as
posts or parts of the net of a singles game.
A return that passes under the net cord between the
singles stick and adjacent doubles post without touching either net cord,
net or doubles post and falls within the court, is a good return.
[USTA Comment: But in doubles this would be a "through"
-- loss of point.]
Case 1. A ball going out
of Court hits a net post or singles stick and falls within the lines of
the opponent's Court. Is the stroke good?
Decision. It a service: no, under Rule
10 (c). If other than a service yes, under Rule
Case 2. Is it a good return if a player returns
the ball holding his racket in both hands?
Case 3. The service, or ball in play, strikes
a ball lying in the Court. Is the point won or lost thereby?
[USTA Comment: A ball that is touching a boundary
line is considered to be "lying in the court".]
Decision. No. Play must continue. If it is
not clear to the Umpire that the right ball is returned a let should be
Case 4. May a player use more than one racket
at any time during play?
Decision. No; the whole implication of the
Rules is singular.
Case 5. May a player request that a ball or
balls lying in his opponent's Court be removed?
Decision. Yes, but not while a ball is in play.
[USTA Comment: The request must be honored.]
: Hindrance of a Player
In case a player is hindered in making a stroke by
anything not within his control, except a permanent fixture of the
Court, or except as provided for in Rule
21, a let shall be called.
[USTA Comment: See Rule
13 and its USTA Comments regarding lets.]
Case 1. A spectator gets into the way of a
player, who fails to return the ball. May the player then claim a let?
Decision. Yes, if in the Umpire's opinion he
was obstructed by circumstances beyond his control, but not it due to
permanent fixtures of the Court or the arrangements of the ground.
Case 2. A player is interfered with as in Case
No. 1, and the Umpire calls a let. The Server had previously served a
fault. Has he the right to two services?
Decision. Yes: as the ball is in play, the
point, not merely the stroke, must be replayed as the Rule provides.
Case 3. May a player claim a let under Rule
25 because he thought his opponent was being hindered, and consequently
did not expect the ball to be returned?
Case 4. Is a stroke good when a ball in play
hits another ball in the air?
Decision. A let should be called unless the
other ball is in the air by the act of one of the players, in which
case the Umpire will decide under Rule 21.
Case 5. If an Umpire or other judge erroneously
calls "fault" or "out", and then corrects himself,
which of the calls shall prevail?
Decision. A let must be called unless in the
opinion of the Umpire, neither player is hindered in his game, in which
case the corrected call shall prevail.
Case 6. If the first ball served, a fault,
rebounds, interfering with the Receiver at the time of the second service,
may the Receiver claim a let?
Decision. Yes. But if he had an opportunity
to remove the ball from the Court and negligently failed to do so, he
may not claim a let.
Case 7. Is it a good stroke if the ball touches
a stationary or moving object on the Court?
Decision. It is a good stroke unless the stationary
object came into Court after the ball was put into play, in which case
a let must be called. If the ball in play strikes an object moving along
or above the surface of the Court, a let must be called.
Case 8. What is the ruling if the first service
is a fault, the second service correct, and it becomes necessary
to call a let either under the provision of Rule
25 or if the Umpire is unable to decide the point?
Decision. The fault shall be annulled and the
whole point replayed.
: Score in a Game
If a player wins his first point, the score is called
15 for that player; on winning his second point, the score is called 30
for that player; on winning his third point, the score is called 40 for
that player, and the fourth point won by a player is scored game for that
player except as below:
If both players have won three points, the score is
called deuce; and the next point won by a player is scored advantage for
that player. If the same player wins the next point, he wins the game;
if the other player wins the next point the score is again called deuce;
and so on, until a player wins the two points immediately following the
score at deuce, when the game is scored for that player.
[USTA Comment: In an non-officiated match the
Server should announce, in a voice audible to his opponent and spectators,
the set score at the beginning of each game, and point scores as the game
goes on. Misunderstandings will be avoided if this practice is followed.]
: Score in a Set
(a) A player (or players) who first wins six
games wins a set, except that he must win by a margin of two games over
his opponent and where necessary a set is extended until this margin is
(b) The tie-break system of scoring may be
adopted as an alternative to the advantage set system in paragraph (a)
of this Rule provided the decision is announced in advance of the match.
In this case, the following Rules shall be effective:
The tie-break shall operate when the score reaches
six games all in any set except in the third or fifth set of a three set
or five set match respectively when an ordinary advantage set shall be
played, unless otherwise decided and announced in advance of the match.
The following system shall be used in a tie-break
(i) A player who first wins seven points shall
win the game and the set provided he leads by a margin of two points.
If the score reaches six points all the game shall be extended until this
margin has been achieved. Numerical scoring shall be used throughout the
(ii) The player whose turn it is to serve shall
be the server for the first point. His opponent shall be the server for
the second and third points and thereafter each player shall serve alternately
for two consecutive points until the winner of the game and set has been
(iii) From the first point, each service shall
be delivered alternately from the right and left courts, beginning from
the right court. If service from a wrong half of the court occurs and
is undetected, all play resulting from such wrong service or services
shall stand, but the inaccuracy of station shall be corrected immediately
after it is discovered.
(iv) Players shall change ends after every
six points and at the conclusion of the tie-break game.
(v) The tie-break game shall count as one game
for the ball change, except that, if the balls are due to be changed at
the beginning of the tie-break, the change shall be delayed until the
second game of the following set.
In doubles the procedure for singles shall apply.
The player whose turn it is to serve shall be the server for the first
point. Thereafter each player shall serve in rotation for two points,
in the same order as previously in that set, until the winners of the
game and set have been decided.
Rotation of Service
The player (or pair in the case of doubles) who served
first in the tie-break game shall receive service in the first game of
the following set.
Case 1. At six-all the tie-break is played,
although it has been decided and announced in advance of the match that
an advantage set will be played. Are the points already played counted?
Decision. It the error is discovered before
the ball is put in play for the second point, the first point shall count
but the error shall be corrected immediately. If the error is discovered
after the ball is put in play for the second point the game shall continue
as a tie-break game.
Case 2. At six all, an advantage game is played,
although it has been decided and announced in advance of the match that
a tie-break will be played. Are the points already played counted?
Decision. If the error is discovered before
the ball is put in play for the second point, the first point shall be
counted but the error shall be corrected immediately. If the error is
discovered after the ball is put in play for the second point an advantage
set shall be continued. If the score thereafter reaches eight games all
or a higher even number, a tie-break shall be played.
Case 3. If during a tie-break
in a singles or doubles game, a player serves out of turn, shall the order
of service remain as altered until the end of the game?
Decision. If a player has completed his turn
of service the order of service shall remain as altered. If the error
is discovered before a player has completed his turn of service the order
of service shall be corrected immediately and any points already played
: Maximum Number of Sets
The maximum number of sets in a match shall be 5,
or, where women take part, 3.
: Role of Court Officials
In matches where an Umpire is appointed his decision
shall be final, but where a Referee is appointed, an appeal shall lie
to him from the decision of an Umpire on a question of law, and in all
such cases the decision of the Referee shall be final.
In matches where assistants to the Umpire are appointed
(Linesmen, Net-cord Judges, Foot-fault Judges) their decisions shall be
final on questions of fact, except that if in the opinion of an Umpire
a clear mistake has been made, he shall have the right to change the decision
of an assistant or order a let to be played. When such an assistant is
unable to give a decision he shall indicate this immediately to the Umpire
who shall give a decision. When an Umpire is unable to give a decision
on a question of fact he shall order a let to be played.
In Davis Cup matches or other team competitions where
a Referee is on Court, any decision can be changed by the Referee, who
may also instruct an Umpire to order a let to be played.
The Referee, in his discretion, may at any time postpone
a match on account of darkness or the condition of the ground or the weather.
In any case of postponement the previous score and previous occupancy
of Courts shall hold good, unless the Referee and the players unanimously
[USTA Comment: See fourth
USTA Comment under Rule 30 regarding resumption of suspended
Case 1. The Umpire orders a let, but a player
claims that the point should not be replayed. May the Referee be requested
to give a decision?
Decision. Yes. A question of tennis law, that
is an issue relating to the application of specific facts, shall first
be determined by the Umpire. However, if the Umpire is uncertain or if
a player appeals from his determination, then the Referee shall be requested
to give a decision, and his decision is final.
Case 2. A ball is called out but a player claims
that the ball was good. May the Referee give a ruling?
Decision. No. This is a question of fact, that
is an issue relating to what actually occurred during a specific incident,
and the decision of the on-court officials is therefore final.
Case 3. May an Umpire overrule
a Linesman at the end of a rally if, in his opinion, a clear mistake has
been made during the course of a rally?
Decision. No, unless in his opinion the opponent
was hindered. Otherwise an Umpire may only overrule a Linesman if he does
so immediately after the mistake has been made.
[USTA Comment: See Rule
17 Case 1 regarding non-officiated matches.]
Case 4. A Linesman calls a ball out. The Umpire
was unable to see clearly, although he thought the ball was in. May he
overrule the Linesman?
Decision. No. An Umpire may only overrule if
he considers that a call was incorrect beyond all reasonable doubt. He
may only overrule a ball determined good by a Linesman if he has been
able to see a space between the ball and the line; and he may only overrule
a ball determined out, or a fault, by a Linesman if he has seen the ball
hit the line, or fall inside the line.
Case 5. May a Linesman change his call after
the Umpire has given the score?
Decision. Yes. If a Linesman realizes he has
made an error, he may make a correction provided he does so immediately.
Case 6. A player claims his return shot was
good after a Linesman called out. May the Umpire overrule the Linesman?
Decision. No. An Umpire may never overrule
as a result of a protest or an appeal by a player.
: Continuous Play and Rest Periods
Play shall be continuous from the first service until
the match is concluded, in accordance with the following provisions:
(a) If the first service is a fault, the second
service must be struck by the Server without delay.
The Receiver must play to the reasonable pace of the
Server and must be ready to receive when the Server is ready to serve.
When changing ends a maximum of one minute thirty
seconds shall elapse from the moment the ball goes out of play at the
end of the game to the time the ball is struck for the first point of
the next game.
The Umpire shall use his discretion when there is
interference which makes it impractical for play to be continuous.
The organizers of international circuits and team
events recognized by the ITF may determine the time allowed between points,
which shall not at any time exceed 20 seconds from the moment the ball
goes out of play at the end of one point to the time the ball is struck
for the next point.
[USTA Comment: The 20 second rule applies only
to certain international circuits and team events recognized by the ITF.
When practical, in USTA sanctioned tournaments using a certified official
in direct observation of the match, the time which shall elapse from the
moment the ball goes out of play at the end of the point to the time the
ball is struck shall not exceed 25 seconds.]
(b) Play shall never be suspended, delayed
or interfered with for the purpose of enabling a player to recover his
strength, breath, or physical condition.
However, in the case of accidental injury, the Umpire
may allow a one-time three minute suspension for that injury.
(c) If, through circumstances outside the control
of the player, his clothing, footwear or equipment (excluding racket)
becomes out of adjustment in such a way that it is impossible or undesirable
for him to play on, the Umpire may suspend play while the maladjustment
[USTA Comment: If equipment other than a racket
becomes unusable through circumstances outside the control of the player,
play may be suspended for a reasonable period and the player may leave
the court to correct the problem. If a racket or racket string is broken,
Rule 30 does not permit play to be suspended. A player who leaves the
court to get a replacement is subject to code violation(s) under the Point
[USTA Comment: Loss of,
or damage to, a contact lens or eyeglasses shall be treated as equipment
maladjustment. All players must follow the same rules with respect to
suspending play, even though in misty but playable weather, a player who
wears glasses may be handicapped.]
(d) The Umpire may suspend or delay play at
any time as may be necessary and appropriate.
[USTA Comment: When a match is resumed after
a suspension of more than ten minutes, it is permissible for the players
to engage in a re-warm-up that may be of the same duration as that at
the start of the match. The preferred method is to warm-up with other
used balls and then insert the match balls when play starts. If the match
balls are used in the re-warm-up, then the next ball change will be two
games sooner. There shall be no re-warm-up after an authorized intermission
or after a suspension of ten minutes or less.]
(e) After the third set,
or when women take part the second set, either player is entitled to a
rest, which shall not exceed 10 minutes, or in countries situated between
latitude 15 degrees north and latitude 15 degrees south, 45 minutes and
furthermore, when necessitated by circumstances not within the control
of the players, the Umpire may suspend play for such a period as he may
consider necessary. If play is suspended and is not resumed until a later
day the rest may be taken only after the third set (or when women take
part the second set) of play on such a later day, completion of an unfinished
set being counted as one set.
If play is suspended and is not resumed until 10 minutes
have elapsed in the same day the rest may be taken only after three consecutive
sets have been played without interruption (or when women take part two
sets), completion of an unfinished set being counted as one set.
Any nation and/or committee organizing a tournament,
match or competition, other than the International Tennis Championships
(Davis Cup and Federation Cup), is at liberty to modify this provision
or omit it from its regulations provided this is announced before the
(f) A tournament committee has the discretion
to decide the time allowed for a warm-up period prior to a match but this
may not exceed five minutes and must be announced before the event commences.
[USTA Comment: When there are no ballpersons
this time may be extended to ten minutes.]
(g) When approved point penalty and non-accumulative
point penalty systems are in operation, the Umpire shall make his decisions
within the terms of those systems.
(h) Upon violation of the principle that play
shall be continuous the Umpire may, after giving due warning, disqualify
During the playing of a match in a team competition,
a player may receive coaching from a captain who is sitting on the court
only when he changes ends at the end of a game, but not when he changes
ends during a tie-break game.
A player may not receive coaching during the playing
of any other match.
After due warning an offending player may be disqualified.
When an approved point penalty system is in operation, the Umpire shall
impose penalties according to that system.
Case 1. Should a warning be given, or the player
be disqualified, if the coaching is given by signals in an unobtrusive
Decision. The Umpire must take action as soon
as he becomes aware that coaching is being given verbally or by signals.
If the Umpire is unaware that coaching is being given, a player may draw
his attention to the fact that advice is being given.
Case 2. Can a player receive coaching during
an authorized rest period under Rule 30(e),
or when play is interrupted and he leaves the court?
Decision. Yes. In these circumstances, when
the player is not on the court, there is no restriction on coaching.
ITF Note: The word "coaching" includes
any advice or instruction.
[USTA Comment: Coaching is not permitted in
the USTA Adult and Senior League Program except during authorized rest
: Changing Balls
In cases where balls are to be changed after a specified
number of games, if the balls are not changed in the correct sequence,
the mistake shall be corrected when the player, or pair in the case of
doubles, who should have served with new balls is next due to serve. Thereafter
the balls shall be changed so that the number of games between changes
shall be that originally agreed.
The above Rules shall apply to the Doubles Game except
: The Doubles Court
For the Doubles Game, the Court shall be 36 feet (10.97m.)
in width, i.e. 4.5 feet (1.37m.) wider on each side than the Court
for the Singles Game, and those portions of the singles side-lines
which lie between the two service-lines shall be called the service
side-lines. In other respects, the Court shall be similar to that
described in Rule 1, but the portions
of the singles side-lines between the base-line and service-line
on each side of the net may be omitted if desired.
[USTA Comment: The Server has the right in
doubles to stand anywhere back of the baseline between the self mark
imaginary extension and the doubles sideline imaginary extension.]
: Order of Service in Doubles
The order of serving shall be decided at the beginning
of each set as follows:
The pair who have to serve in the first game of each
set shall decide which partner shall do so and the opposing pair shall
decide similarly for the second game. The partner of the player who served
in the first game shall serve in the third; the partner of the player
who served in the second game shall serve in the fourth, and so on in
the same order in all the subsequent games of a set.
Case 1. In doubles one player does not appear
in time to play, and his partner claims to be allowed to play single-handed
against the opposing players. May he do so?
: Order of Receiving in Doubles
The order of receiving the service shall be decided
at the beginning of each set as follows:
The pair who have to receive the service in the first
game shall decide which partner shall receive the first service, and that
partner shall continue to receive the first service in every odd game
throughout that set. The opposing pair shall likewise decide which partner
shall receive the first service in the second game and that partner shall
continue to receive the first service in every even game throughout that
set. Partners shall receive the service alternately throughout each game.
Case 1. Is it allowable in doubles for the
server's partner or the Receiver's partner to stand in a position that
obstructs the view of the Receiver?
Decision. Yes. The Server's partner or the
Receiver's partner may take any position on his side of the net in or
out of the Court that he wishes.
: Service Out of Turn in Doubles
If a partner serves out of his turn, the partner who
ought to have served shall serve as soon as the mistake is discovered,
but all points scored, and any faults served before such discovery, shall
be reckoned. If a game shall have been completed before such discovery,
the order of service remains as altered.
[USTA Comment: For an exception to Rule
37 see Case 3 under Rule 27.]
: Error in Order of Receiving in Doubles
If during a game the order of receiving the service
is changed by the Receivers it shall remain as altered until the end of
the game in which the mistake is discovered, but the partners shall resume
their original order of receiving in the next game of that set in which
they are Receivers of the service.
: Service Fault in Doubles
The service is a fault as provided for by Rule
10, or if the ball touches the Server's partner or anything
which he wears or carries, but if the ball served touches the partner
of the Receiver, or anything which he wears or carries, not being
a let under Rule 14(a) before it hits
the ground, the Server wins the point.
: Playing the Ball in Doubles
The ball shall be struck alternately by one or other
player of the opposing pairs, and if a player touches the ball in play
with his racket in contravention of this Rule, his opponents win the point.
[USTA Comment: The partners themselves do not
have to "alternate" in making returns. In the course of making
one return, only one member of a doubles team may hit the ball. If both
of them hit the ball, either simultaneously or consecutively, it is an
illegal return. Mere clashing of rackets does not make a return illegal
unless it is clear that more than one racket touched the ball.]
ITF Note: Except where otherwise stated, every
reference in these rules to the masculine includes the feminine gender.
1. Unless otherwise specified all tests shall
be made at a temperature of approximately 68° Fahrenheit (20° Centigrade)
and a relative humidity of approximately 60 per cent. All balls should
be removed from their container and kept at the recognized temperature
and humidity for 24 hours prior to testing, and shall be at that temperature
and humidity when the test is commenced.
2. Unless otherwise specified the limits are
for a test conducted in an atmospheric pressure resulting in a barometric
reading of approximately 30 inches (76cm.).
3. Other standards may be fixed for localities
where the average temperature, humidity or average barometric pressure
at which the game is being played differs materially from 68° Fahrenheit
(20° Centigrade), 60 per cent and 30 inches (76cm.) respectively.
Applications for such adjusted standards may be made
by any National Association to the International Tennis Federation and
if approved shall be adopted for such localities.
4. In all tests for diameter a ring gauge shall
be used consisting of a metal plate, preferably non-corrosive, of a uniform
thickness of one-eighth of an inch (.32cm.) in which there are two circular
openings 2.575 inches (6.54cm.) and 2.700 inches (6.86cm.) in diameter
respectively. The inner surface of the gauge shall have a convex profile
with a radius of one-sixteenth of an inch (.16cm.). The ball shall not
drop through the smaller opening by its own weight and shall drop through
the larger opening by its own weight.
5. In all tests for deformation conducted under
Rule 3, the machine designed by Percy
Herbert Stevens and patented in Great Britain under Patent No. 230250,
together with the subsequent additions and improvements thereto,
including the modifications required to take return deformations,
shall be employed or such other machine which is approved by a National
Association and gives equivalent readings to the Stevens machine.
6. Procedure for carrying out tests.
(a) Pre-compression. Before any ball is tested
it shall be steadily compressed by approximately one inch (2.54cm.) on
each of three diameters at right angles to one another in succession;
this process to be carried out three times (nine compressions in all).
All tests to be completed within two hours of precompression.
(b) Bound test (as in Rule
3). Measurements are to be taken from the concrete base to the
bottom of the ball.
(c) Size test (as in paragraph 4 above).
(d) Weight test (as in Rule
(e) Deformation test. The ball is placed in
position on the modified Stevens machine so that neither platen of the
machine is in contact with the cover seam. The contact weight is applied,
the pointer and the mark brought level, and the dials set to zero. The
test weight equivalent to 18 lb. (8.165kg.) is placed on the beam and
pressure applied by turning the wheel at a uniform speed so that five
seconds elapse from the instant the beam leaves its seat until the pointer
is brought level with the mark. When turning ceases the reading is recorded
(forward deformation). The wheel is turned again until figure ten is reached
on the scale (one inch [2.54cm.] deformation). The wheel is then rotated
in the opposite direction at a uniform speed (thus releasing pressure)
until the beam pointer again coincides with the mark. After waiting ten
seconds the pointer is adjusted to the mark if necessary. The reading
is then recorded (return deformation). This procedure is repeated on each
ball across the two diameters at right angles to the initial position
and to each other.
Rules of Wheelchair
The game of wheelchair tennis follows the same rules
as able-bodied tennis as endorsed by the International Tennis Foundation
except the wheelchair tennis player is allowed two bounces of the ball.
1. The Competitive Wheelchair
Tennis Player. The only eligibility requirements for an individual
to become a competitive wheelchair tennis player is that he must be medically
diagnosed as having a mobility-related disability. In other words, he
must have substantial or total loss of function in one or more extremities.
If, as a result of these functional limitations, this person would be
unable to play competitive able-bodied tennis (that is, having the mobility
to cover the court with adequate speed), then the person would be eligible
to play competitive wheelchair tennis in sanctioned IWTF tournaments.
(a) Quadriplegic division players shall be
characterized as one who has limited mobility, power and strength in at
least three limbs due to accidents, spinal cord injuries and other related
diseases. Also included in this division are walking quadriplegics, power
wheelchair-users and triple amputees. Players who cannot use both arms
to move the chair are allowed to use their legs. In case of doubt it is
up to the IWTF to make a decision if the player is allowed to use his
If there is reason to doubt an individual's eligibility
to participate as a competitive wheelchair tennis players, the IWTF rules
committee reserves the right to screen any player being considered for
ranking. A verification of quadriplegic status may be required, when in
2. The Ball In Play
In wheelchair tennis the ball is allowed to bounce
twice before being returned.
(a) If the ball is taken on the first bounce,
it must bounce within the bounds of the court.
(b) If the ball is taken on the second bounce,
the second bounce can hit the ground either within the boundaries of the
court or outside the court boundaries before being returned.
3. The Service
(a) The ball served may, after hitting the
ground in the service court, hit the ground once again within the bounds
of the court or outside the court boundaries before being returned.
(b) The server shall throughout the delivery
of the service:
-- Not change position by rolling or spinning. The server shall not by
slight movements of the wheels which do not materially affect the location
originally taken up by him, be deemed "to change his position by
rolling or spinning."
-- Not touch, with any wheel, any area other than that behind the
baseline within the imaginary extension of the self-mark and sideline.
(c) If the player deliberately uses any part
of his lower extremities as brakes or as stabilizers while delivering
service, the service is deemed a fault.
(d) If conventional methods for the service
are physically impossible for a quadriplegic player, then another individual
may drop the ball for such a player.
4. Player Loses Point. The wheelchair is part
of the body. All applicable rules apply. A player loses the point if:
(a) The ball in play touches him or his wheelchair
or anything he wears or carries, except his racket in his hand(s). This
loss of a point occurs regardless of whether the player is inside or outside
the bounds of his court when the ball touches him.
(b) A served ball hits him or his wheelchair
or anything he wears or carries, except his racket in his hand(s). If
the server hits his own partner with the served ball, then it is a fault.
(c) He deliberately uses any part of his feet
or lower extremities as brakes or as stabilizers while delivering the
service, stroking a ball, turning or stopping.
(d) He fails to keep one buttock in contact
with his wheelchair seat contacting the ball.
It is legal for a player to hit a return, fall out of his chair and then
get back into his chair to make the next return.
5. Wheelchair/Able-Bodied Tennis. Where a wheelchair
player is defined in Rule 1 above is
playing with able-bodied persons, then again the rules of tennis
In this instance, however, the wheelchair player
is allowed only one bounce and Rules 2
and 3 above shall therefore not apply.
Tie-Breaks and No-Ad
1. Tie-Break Use Mandatory. Use of the 12-point
tie-break is mandatory in all sanctioned tournaments in all sets.
2. Twelve-Point Tie-Break
Singles. Player A, having served the first game of
the set, serves the first point from the right court; Player B serves
points 2 and 3 (left and right); A serves points 4 and 5 (left and right);
B serves point 6 (left) and after they change ends, point 7 (right); A
serves points 8 and 9 (left and right); B serves points 10 and 11 (left
and right); A serves point 12 (left). A player who reaches seven points
during these first 12 points wins the game and set. If the score has reached
six points all, the players change ends and continue in the same pattern
until one player establishes a margin of two points which gives him the
game and set. Note that the players change ends every six points and that
the player who serves the last point of one of these 6-point segments
also serves the first point of the next one (from right court). For a
following set the players change ends and B serves the first game.
Doubles. The same pattern as in singles applies, with
partners preserving their serving sequence. In a game of A-B versus C-D,
with A having served the first game of the set, A serves the first point
(right); C serves points 2 and 3 (left and right); B serves points 4 and
5 (left and right); D serves point 6 (left) and after the teams change
ends, D serves point 7 (right); A serves points 8 and 9 (left and right);
C serves points 10 and 11 (left and right); B serves point 12 (left).
A team that wins seven points during these first 12 points wins the game
and set. If the score has reached six points all, the teams change ends.
B then serves point 13 (right), and they continue until one team establishes
a two-point margin and thus wins the game and set. As in singles, they
change ends for one game to start a following set, with team C-D to serve
3. Experimental 12-point tie-break. The experimental
12-point tie-break is the same as the present 12-point tie-break except
that ends are changed after the first point, then after every four points,
and at the conclusion of the tie-break game.
4. When experimental 12-point tie-break is
authorized. For experimental purposes, a section may authorize any tournament
below the National Championship level to use the experimental 12-point
tie-break. For experimental purposes, the USTA Sanctions and Schedules
Committee may authorize the use of the experimental 12-point tie-break
for any other tournament. Any tournament electing to use the experimental
12-point tie-break must announce the election before the start of tournament
5. Recording the tie-break score. The score
of the tie-break set will be written 7-6(x) or 6-7(x), with (x) being
the number of points won by the loser of the tie break. For example, 7-6(4)
means the tie-break score was 7-4, and 6-7(14) means the tie-break score
6. Changing ends during the tie-break. Changes
of ends during a tie-break game are to be made within the normal time
allowed between points.
7. Ball changes. If a ball change is due on
a tie-break game, it will be deferred until the start of the second game
of the next set. A tie-break game counts as one game in determining ball
8. No-Ad scoring. The No-Ad procedure is simply
what the name implies; the first player to win four points wins
the game, with the seventh point of a game becoming a game point
for each player. The receiver has the choice of advantage court
or deuce court to which the service is to be delivered on the seventh
point. No-ad scoring is authorized for tournaments at the sectional
championship level and below. A tournament electing to use no-ad
scoring must announce the election before the start of the tournament
play except as set forth in paragraph 9
Note: The score-calling may be either in the conventional
terms or in simple number, i.e., "zero, one, two, three, game."
Cautionary Note: Any ITF-authorized tournament should
get special authorization from ITF before using No-Ad.
9. Change to No-Ad scoring.
The referee can switch to no-ad scoring from regular scoring in any round
without prior notice on the entry blank when in the referee's discretion
the change is necessary to complete the tournament after inclement weather
or other factors cause the tournament to fall behind its published schedule.
The Rules of Tennis Explanatory Note The following Rules and Cases and
Decisions are the official Code of the International Tennis Federation,
of which the United States Tennis Association is a member. USTA Comments
have the same weight and force in USTA tournaments as do ITF Cases and
When a match is played without officials, USTA Regulation I.N. shall apply
in any situation not covered by the rules. The Code shall apply to any
situation not covered by USTA Regulation I.N.
Except where otherwise stated, every reference in these Rules to the masculine
includes the feminine gender.
Amendments to the USTA Comments may be made in accordance with USTA Regulation
XII provided such amendments are not inconsistent with the Rules of Tennis
of the International Tennis Federation.
If you have a rules problem, send full details, enclosing a stamped self-addressed
USTA Tennis Rules Committee
c/o Officials' Department
70 West Red Oak Lane
White Plains, NY 10604-3602