Etiquette

The atmosphere at our club sessions is relaxed and informal but it is still good practice to follow a few basic guidelines to ensure maximum enjoyment by everyone.

Clothing

For your own comfort sports clothing of any colour but suitable for tennis should be worn on court. Proper tennis shoes must always be worn to protect yourselves and the court surfaces. We request that adults do not wear football shirts.

Club Sessions - Court Etiquette

Don't walk behind a court when a point is in progress. Wait until the point is over and then cross or retrieve your ball as quickly as possible.

Retrieving Balls

Avoid wasting time collecting balls between points. If your opponent has to walk a significant distance to get a ball, look around your side to see if you can use that time to collect a ball that is a similar distance away. If the server needs a ball, the player closest to a ball should get it. Always look first before hitting balls toward the server's side and never hit them hard. Always hit the ball towards the server so that he/she does not have to run after it. Do not send balls back to the server in between first and second serve unless a let was called and the server requires an extra ball. If the first serve goes in the net the net player should ensure the ball is out of the way by pushing it towards the net or by picking it up. If you hit the ball into the net you or your partner should take responsibility for retrieving it after the point. If you've got more than your share of balls on your court, return the extra ones to a neighbouring court. When you do this, roll them to the back of the court and don't send them back while play is in progress.

The server should always make sure he has two balls at the start of each point. We strongly advise wearing tennis clothing with pockets, skirts with ball shorts, or a ball clip for keeping the second ball (it is best not to play with a ball in your hand). Never leave your second ball by your feet - it is dangerous!

Line Calls

Be responsible for calls on your side of the net. Make sure your opponents hear the call. If the ball is good say nothing and play on. Always give your opponents the benefit of any doubt. If you are not sure if your opponent's shot is in or out, it is in! You should not call balls wide when they land near the far sideline (because you do not have a good enough view) unless the call is obvious and your partner was somehow hindered from seeing the ball land. If you are the receiver and your partner is on or near the service line at the start of a point, your partner has the best view of whether a serve is in or long. You can make a call if he/she doesn't, but always defer to his/her judgment. You generally should not disagree with your partner's calls anyway unless he/she has made a very clear mistake. Always respect your opponent's calls. Except in the case of a first service, if you see that your shot was out you should say so and concede the point. You or your partner must never call your own first service out, this has to be left to your opponent, who in playing may be giving you the benefit of any doubt. If you call your own serve out, your opponent could overrule and, having returned the ball, claim the point.

Balls are often called out when they land on the outer edge of the line, this is wrong! The rule is that the part of the ball that touched the ground must be entirely outside the line to be called OUT. Note: on shale/clay courts the mark may be checked. If any part of the mark touches the line the ball must be called in. If in doubt call it IN!

If a ball is 99% out it is 100% good!

If the point is interrupted (often by a stray ball from a neighbouring court) and you wish to call for a let, do so immediately and raise your hand, otherwise play on. You cannot claim a let after the point has been lost!

Call and agree the game score at the start of each point and the set score at the start of each game. The server should take responsibility for calling the score clearly.

Club Sessions - Peg Board System

We use a peg board system for fair and easy rotation of players and it works like this ...

Each member has their own peg with their name on it. As players arrive they place their pegs in the queue to play. There is a section on the board for each of our 7 courts. When a court becomes available the player at the front of the queue picks three others from the next seven pegs to play with (assuming it is doubles). Those players' pegs are then placed on the appropriate court section while they play a set. When they return their pegs are placed at the back of the queue.

When you are a new member picking a suitable four can seem a little daunting - don't be afraid to ask for help! It is generally good etiquette to pick the player who has been waiting the longest but also try to pick an even set. For example it is not normally a very good idea to mix very strong players and very weak players - neither will thank you for it! However if you have two strong players and a weak player try to choose another fairly weak player to even it out. We normally pair the strongest with the weakest to make the set as even and therefore as competitive as possible. If your four has just come off court and there are only four or five players in the queue it can be a good idea to wait for another court to finish so that players can be mixed up a bit and you do not end up playing with the same three all afternoon.

Club Sessions - Children

Parents with young children and babies are welcome to bring them along to club sessions. Children can play in the clubhouse or in the grounds while parents are on court. For very young children use of a playpen or baby chair is recommended.

Your Questions

If there are any other aspects of club etiquette which you would like included on this page please email us with your question.

Rules & Useful Information

In club, match and tournament play all players should play by the ITF Rules of Tennis and always comply with The Code of Tennis available below. The Code of Tennis gives a guide to default behaviour for all unofficiated matches on matters that are not covered by The Rules of Tennis such as line calls, interrupted points etc.