Two tennis players

What Are the Unwritten Rules of Tennis? (Complete Overview)

Every sport has some series of unwritten rules. The unwritten rules are considered logical guidelines that dictate sensible interactions between players. They are about etiquette, fair play, and respect towards the opponent.

Most people associated unwritten rules with baseball, as that sport has dozens of rules that have developed, like not bunting to break up a no-hitter.

But many other sports have unwritten rules that people often follow. Tennis is one such sport, as that sport has unwritten rules that focus on ensuring each match runs smoothly and with respect.

This brief guide will highlight some of the unwritten tennis rules that all players should follow out of courtesy.

Unwritten Rules of Tennis During the Start the Match

The first unwritten rules of tennis involve starting the match the right way. These rules focus on respect for the opponent and in ensuring everything starts out well:

  • Always ensure a match starts on time if you make a date for the event to start.
  • Do not start play until the match at a court next to you ends.
  • Never walk on or near a court while a point is in progress.
  • Greet your opponent before you start your match. Make sure everyone is friendly and ready to start.

Unspoken Warming Up Ruelse

The unwritten rules of warming up before a tennis match state that each player should provide one’s opponent about five to ten minutes to warm up before the match begins.

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The effort includes serving and hitting shots directly to the opponent. Warming up is about allowing both sides the time to prepare for the match.

This should not be confused with traditional practice, as warming up entails ensuring both sides are fully ready to compete before the match begins.

Rules For Keeping Score in a Tennis Match

All people in a tennis match must keep score during the event with a few rules:

  • The point should be announced before the serve.
  • If there is a discrepancy between players over the score, they should meet at the net to discuss what happened recently and agree on the score.
  • Any cases where people cannot agree upon a score should end with the match going back to the last score that both opponents can agree.
  • Spectators should not keep score or try to dictate the results of serves or returns.

Managing the Lines in Tennis

You and your opponent must call the lines the right way. Here are some unwritten rules for everyone to follow:

  • You will officiate your own side of the net if there are no officials. Your opponent must also do the same on his or her side.
  • A ball that touches a line is good regardless of how much of the ball touches that line. A ball where 99.99% of it is out remains good.
  • Any ball that cannot be called out is good. If someone cannot call the ball out and be certain, the ball remains good. You shouldn’t play a let to settle something if you or your opponent cannot be certain about whether or not the ball was out.
  • Your opponent should be given the benefit of the doubt when something is called.
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Serving the Right Way

There are many unwritten rules to serving that all people must follow:

  • Avoid foot faults when serving. A foot fault occurs when the foot touches the baseline or the center mark. Committing foot faults is a sign you’re not ready to compete against someone fairly, or you are trying to obtain an unfair advantage.
  • Foot faults should only be called by the opponent when all other efforts to alert the person committing those faults haven’t worked.
  • Anyone can call a service let before the return of serve is out of play or the ball is hit by the server or that person’s partner.
  • Both sides should be prepared for the point when serving. The receiver must play at a reasonable pace alongside the server. The receiver should not be forced to try and return a server if that person isn’t ready.
  • A receiver will be considered ready if that person attempts to return the serve, even if that person doesn’t try to return it until later than expected.

Managing Delays In Service

A server should be entitled to two servers if the second service motion is interrupted due to a ball from another court entering the playing field. But the server will only get one serve if that server was the main cause of the delay and the receiver had nothing to do with the issue.

Are Coin Tosses Alright?

A coin toss can determine a dispute between players in a match in a few circumstances:

  • No one can agree on who was the server in one game.
  • There is a dispute over who served a point in a tiebreak.
  • The players disagree on which side of the court they will play on.
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Celebrating and Sportsmanship

The next of the unwritten rules of tennis involves how you can celebrate your success. Do not celebrate any of your opponent’s errors. These include poor serves, double-faults, or anything else an opponent does that contributes to your victory. You can show satisfaction when you do something good, like complete a strong safe that your opponent cannot return. Celebrating your efforts and not your opponent’s failures is a common sign of courtesy.

Cleaning the Court

The final unwritten rules are about managing the court after you finish play:

  • Clean up all the empty ball cans, wrappers, and anything else left behind while playing.
  • Do not act all alarmed when you see someone placing a racket in the fence to show that they’re waiting for you to clear the court. Be respectful of anyone who wants to play at the court next.
  • Always follow whatever rules are posted at the entrance to your court surrounding how you should behave here.

You will show your opponent, everyone else on the court, and the game of tennis respect when you follow these unwritten rules.

Always ensure you show a sense of support and respect for everyone when getting a game up and running.

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