Everything You Should Know About Basic Tennis Etiquette

Do you wear black soled shoes that scuff the courts? Or shout loudly at your neighbour across the street when people are trying to play? While this post certainly won’t teach you how to actually play tennis (you’ll have to figure that one out on your own), it will give you some much-needed insight into proper tennis etiquette. This is simply the basic untold rules of behaviour on and around the court. It’s in your best interest take note of these tips, so that every match and is fun for everyone and no one will “un-invite” you to the next practice.

All jokes aside, tennis etiquette is about mutual respect for your opponents, the court and the surrounding community. Here are a few examples of situations in which etiquette is required:

When Getting Ready to Play

Tennis etiquette doesn’t only include the times you are actually playing. When you arrive at the court and other people are playing, respect their play time by:

  • Speak quietly to avoid disturbing the match
  • Don’t interrupt play
  • Don’t walk onto or behind the court during a point
  • If you need to walk across after a point, do so quickly

When other the time slot is up for the other players, and it’s your turn to enter the court, ensure these few things:

  • You are ready
  • You have all your equipment (balls, racket, towels, water, etc.)
  • You have the right shoes on that won’t damage the court (with white under soles)
  • You have all your equipment neatly packed, out of the way

When Keeping Score

During play, keep in mind that a sport is meant as a fun activity. While it’s okay to take it seriously, don’t go overboard. No matter how frustrating a game gets, stay a good sportsman and avoid throwing an Andy Murray-sized tantrum. Keeping score can be one of those things that make your blood boil, but the proper score etiquette to avoid this includes:

  • Call the score before every point so that your opponent knows you are ready
  • Don’t call out the score if you are the one receiving the serve( that’s the server’s job)
  • When people make score mistakes, don’t just assume they are cheating (we are all human)
  • Be honest about the score from your side

When Judging Lines

This one can be tough because casual games require players to judge their own lines. It requires honesty and trust. When everyone can be considered a fair player, the match is far more enjoyable. Here are a few tips when judging the line fairly:

  • When your opponent calls the ball out, accept it and move on
  • In the same way, be truthful about your own line judgements
  • If you are unsure if the ball was in or out, be fair and call it in

When Playing Alongside Others

When you are not the only players on the court, there isn’t a reason why play should continue without a hitch. As long as you follow these tips:

  • If your ball bounces into another court, don’t fetch it until the end of a point
  • Be polite when fetching a ball
  • Don’t interrupt play

When Watching Tennis

When you are sitting at home, watching tennis on the telly, feel free to scream and shout at the players all you want. But when you are enjoying a live match on the court, it’s important to stay respectful. You are there for support, not to be a distraction or interrupt the match.

While official games may require a more extensive use of etiquette, understanding the basics will help to end confusion on the small scale. The main reason to always have proper etiquette is so that everyone can have a better time and we can all play a little more considerately.

Do you have any tennis etiquette guidelines you feel could add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.

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