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Match Etiquette

The vast majority of Hartswood tournament matches are played without a chair umpire so players have to make their own line calls and keep score. Inevitably there will be some bad calls and players will sometimes forget the score. Remember that you're not playing at Wimbledon and the main objective is to have a fun test of your tennis in a competitive context. To this end the LTA have clear rules about how to deal with such situations so that everything can remain amicable.  

Members taking part in Club tournaments should be familiar with, and abide by, the relevant section of the LTA's Competition Regulations and the Settling Disputes documents with regard to making line calls, keeping score and resolving disputes. Complete versions of the Settling Disputes and LTA Competition Regulations documents are at the bottom of this page but the salient sections are:


  • You must immediately call a let if you suffer interference due to a ball or player encroaching from another court.

  • The only exception to the above is should a ball pose a risk of injury because a player might step on it. For example a ball might come behind your opponent but they don't see it which case you should call a let on their behalf as soon as you notice

  • You can't ask for a let once a point has finished

Score Disputes

Scoring disputes are either a genuine mix up or a deliberate act. In both situations you should use the same procedure:

1. Establish what each player thinks the score is. If the dispute is: a. over the score in a game, work through the game, point by point. b. over the score in a set, go through the set, game by game.

2. Establish which point(s) or game(s) the players cannot agree on. These point(s) or game(s) should be disregarded and the score adjusted to include the points or games they agree on.

3. Play resumes from the station according to the new score.

4. Following all disputes remind the players that the server should call the score clearly before every point.

Eg. Player A (serving) says score is 40/30, Player B says is 30/40. They agree they have each won 2 points. Play should resume from the score 30 All.

Eg. Player A (serving) says she won the game, Player B says score is 40/30. They agree that Player A won the first 2 points of the game, then Player B won 1 point, they disagree on who won the next point, and agree that Player A won the last point. Your decision is that play resumes from 40/15.

Line calling in matches played without a Chair Umpire

5.55 In matches played without a Chair Umpire:
(a) each Player or doubles pair is responsible for all calls on his/her/their side of the net;

(b) “out” and “fault” calls must be made promptly after the ball has bounced and loudly enough for the opposition to hear;

(c) each Player must, where he/she is in doubt, give the benefit of the doubt to the opposition;

(d) subject to paragraph 5.55(g), below, if a Player incorrectly calls a “fault” or calls the ball “out” and then realises that the ball was good, the point should be replayed unless it was clearly a point-winning shot (i.e. a shot that the Player could not have successfully returned had he/ she known the ball was good) or unless that Player has made one or more incorrect “fault” or “out” calls earlier in the match pursuant to this sub-paragraph, in which case that Player loses the point;

(e) the server must call the score before each first serve, loudly enough for the opposition to hear;

(f) if a Player is unhappy with the decisions or actions of the opposition, the Player may call the Referee, the assistant Referee or the Court Supervisor. Spectators should not attempt to resolve the issue or influence any decision; and Explanatory note: Where there is a dispute regarding lets, ‘not-ups’ or ‘foul shots’, the Referee, assistant Referee or Court Supervisor should ascertain what has happened and either confirm the call or replay the point, as he/she deems appropriate. Foot faults may only be called by an on-court official and not by the opposition.

(g) for matches played on clay courts, a ball mark may be checked on a point-ending shot, or when play is stopped (a reflex return is allowed). If a Player is unsure of the opposition’s call, the Player may ask the opposition to show the ball mark and the Player may cross the net to look at the ball mark. If a Player in those circumstances then erases the ball mark, the Player will be deemed to have conceded the point. If there is disagreement over a ball mark, the Referee, the assistant Referee or the Court Supervisor may be called to make a decision. If a Player incorrectly calls a ball “out” and then realises that the ball was good, that Player loses the point.
5.56 A breach of paragraph 5.55, above, may (among other things) result in the application of the ‘hindrance rule’ (as set out in the Rules of Tennis) and/or may constitute a violation of paragraph 1(j) of the LTA Code of Conduct.