While watching tennis recently, I began to think about the etiquette of tennis. Both the players and the spectators willfully abide by certain unwritten rules which are governed by the laws of etiquette. It really is a spectacular display of tradition in action, and tennis etiquette is truly something that sets the sport apart. Etiquette adds to the romance of the spectator’s experience, to the grace of the player’s performance and to the elegance of tennis.
But what if you’re planning to attend a match for the first time, or you’re a beginner player who is not familiar with the etiquette of tennis? It can be a bit intimidating and no one wants to be that one person out of sync. In addition, disregarding courtesies and deep-rooted tennis customs is considered disrespectful and can sometimes lead to altercations. Thus, whether new to the sport or a veteran, learning the rules of tennis etiquette is crucial.of the sport.
I compiled a helpful list of etiquette essentials for both the tennis player and spectator. With this knowledge you will be equipped and cultured in the ways of tennis etiquette, which will give you confidence whether playing or observing, and ensure you are upholding the tradition and the spirit of the sport.
As a Spectator:
• Refrain from making noise or speaking loudly during play.
• Keep cell phones on silent.
•In a professional match, remain in your seat until the end of play and leave your seat only during a player changeover.
•Do not use flash photography.
•Speaking directly to players or coaching during a match is not permitted.
As a Player:
• Warm-ups are not the place to play competitively with your opponent.
• If you are not 100% sure that your opponent’s ball was out, you must give them the benefit of the doubt and call it in.
• Always keep a tennis ball in your pocket, hand or against the fence when serving, so that your opponent doesn’t have to wait for you to find one when needed.
• Play should stop if a ball from another court rolls onto your court and the point should be re-started. Return the ball by rolling to the back of the court but never when play is in progress.
• The server should announce the set score in a clear voice before each game and the game score before each point.
• Never walk across or behind a court when the ball is in play. Wait until play ends and move quickly, walking behind the court only.
• Refrain from shouting, vulgar language, bad attitude, negative body language and behaviour. Treat your opponent with respect.
•Players should shake hands at the net after a match with the loser offering congratulations and the winner saying “Nice Match”.
The etiquette of tennis makes watching and playing it different than most other sports but it also fosters a respectful atmosphere of sportsmanship and enjoyment for all of us who love the game.