Category: Competition Tennis Rules

Read about: Competition Tennis Rules

Continuous Play

As a principle, play should be continuous, from the time the match starts (when the

first service of the match is put in play) until the match finishes.

 

a. Between points, a maximum of twenty (20) seconds is allowed. When the

players change ends at the end of a game, a maximum of ninety (90) seconds

are allowed. However, after the first game of each set and during a tie-break

game, play shall be continuous and the players shall change ends without a

rest.  At the end of each set there shall be a set break of a maximum of one hundred

and twenty (120) seconds.  The maximum time starts from the moment that one point finishes until the first service is

struck for the next point. Event organizers may apply for ITF approval to extend the ninety (90)

seconds allowed when the players change ends at the end of a game and the

one hundred and twenty (120) seconds allowed at a set break.

 

b. If, for reasons outside the player’s control, clothing, footwear or necessary

equipment (excluding the racket) is broken or needs to be replaced, the player

may be allowed reasonable extra time to rectify the problem.

 

c. No extra time shall be given to allow a player to recover condition. However,

a player suffering from a treatable medical condition may be allowed one

medical time-out of three minutes for the treatment of that medical condition.

A limited number of toilet/change of attire breaks may also be allowed, if this

is announced in advance of the event.

 

d. Event organizers may allow a rest period of a maximum of ten (10) minutes if

this is announced in advance of the event. This rest period can be taken after

the 3rd set in a best of 5 sets match, or after the 2nd set in a best of 3 sets

match.

 

e. The warm-up time shall be a maximum of five (5) minutes, unless otherwise

decided by the event organizers.

Correcting Errors

 As a principle, when an error in respect of the Rules of Tennis is discovered, all

points previously played shall stand. Errors so discovered shall be corrected as

follows:

 

a. During a standard game or a tie-break game, if a player serves from the

wrong half of the court, this should be corrected as soon as the error is

discovered and the server shall serve from the correct half of the court

according to the score. A fault that was served before the error was

discovered shall stand.

 

b. During a standard game or a tie-break game, if the players are at the wrong

ends of the court, the error should be corrected as soon as it is discovered and

the server shall serve from the correct end of the court according to the score.

 

c. If a player serves out of turn during a standard game, the player who was

originally due to serve shall serve as soon as the error is discovered.

However, if a game is completed before the error is discovered the order of

service shall remain as altered. In this case, any ball change to be made after

an agreed number of games should be made one game later than originally

scheduled. A fault that was served by the opponents(s) before the error was discovered

shall not stand. In doubles, if the partners of one team serve out of turn, a fault that was

served before the error was discovered shall stand.

 

d. If a player serves out of turn during a tie-break game and the error is

discovered after an even number of points have been played, the error is

corrected immediately. If the error is discovered after an odd number of

points have been played, the order of service shall remain as altered.

A fault that was served by the opponent(s) before the error was discovered

shall not stand. In doubles, if the partners of one team serve out of turn, a fault that was

served before the error was discovered shall stand.

 

e. During a standard game or a tie-break game in doubles, if there is an error in

the order of receiving, this shall remain as altered until the end of the game in

which the error is discovered. For the next game in which they are the

receivers in that set, the partners shall then resume the original order of

receiving.

 

f. If in error a tie-break game is started at 6 games all, when it was previously

agreed that the set would be an “Advantage set”, the error shall be corrected

immediately if only one point has been played. If the error is discovered after

the second point is in play, the set will continue as a “Tie-break set”.

 

g. If in error a standard game is started at 6 games all, when it was previously

agreed that the set would be a “Tie-break set”, the error shall be corrected

immediately if only one point has been played. If the error is discovered after

the second point is in play, the set will continue as an “Advantage set” until

the score reaches 8 games all (or a higher even number), when a tie-break

game shall be played.

 

h. If in error an “Advantage set” or “Tie-break set” is started, when it was

previously agreed that the final set would be a match tie-break, the error shall

be corrected immediately if only one point has been played. If the error is

discovered after the second point is in play, the set will continue either until a

player or team wins three games (and therefore the set) or until the score

reaches 2 games all, when a match tie-break shall be played. However, if the

error is discovered after the second point of the fifth game has started, the set

will continue as a “Tie-break set”.

 

i. If the balls are not changed in the correct sequence, the error shall be

corrected when the player/team who should have served with new balls is

next due to serve a new game.  Thereafter the balls shall be changed so that

the number of games between ball changes shall be that originally agreed.

Balls should not be changed during a game.

Tennis Rules on Hindrance

If a player is hindered in playing the point by a deliberate act of the opponent(s), the

player shall win the point.

However, the point shall be replayed if a player is hindered in playing the point by

either an unintentional act of the opponent(s), or something outside the player’s own

control (not including a permanent fixture).

 

An unintentional double hit is not a hindrance.

It is not a hindrance if a player stops playing a point because he believed his opponent is being hindered. In this case the player loses the point.

If a ball in play hits a bird, this is considered a hindrance and the point is replayed.

It is not considered a hindrance if a ball, or other object, which was on the player’s side of the court at the beginning of the point hinders play.

In doubles the server’s partner may stand anywhere on their side of the net (inside, or outside of the court lines). However if a player is creating a hindrance to the opponent the hindrance rule is to be observed.

Ball Changes in Competition

Ball changes, if any, can be made either:

  1. After an agreed odd number of games. If this is the case the first ball change in the match is to take place 2 games earlier than the rest of the match to allow for the warm-up. A ball change shall not take place at the beginning of a tie-break game. In this case, the ball change is delayed until the beginning of the second game of the next set.
  2. At the beginning of a set.