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Etiquette Rules For Tennis

Tennis 101: On-Court Etiquette

Welcome back to Tennis 101. In honor of the 2009 US Open this week, I'm serving up a series about the sport, from what to expect at your first lesson to trivia about US Open champs.

Today, we'll tackle the topic of tennis etiquette. Tennis has a reputation for being a very polite sport, and while it's less stuffy than it used to be, there are still many niceties you need to know — especially since, as an amateur, you won't have officiates to make the calls. Here are some manners to keep in mind.

  • If you arrive at a court while other people are playing, wait until the point is over before passing behind to get to your own.
  • If your ball rolls into the adjacent court, don't run after it. Simply say "thank you" and wait for your neighbor to return the ball when it's convenient. If a ball rolls onto your court, toss it back to the player it belongs to.

For more tips on stray balls and making calls,


  • Since stray balls are distracting and potentially dangerous, you should call a "let" if a ball rolls onto the court while the point is in play. A "let" is basically a do-over, and the point should be replayed.
  • When making calls, always speak clearly, loudly, and matter-of-factly to inform your opponents if a ball is out or fair.
  • If you have any doubt about whether a ball is out, you should make the call in favor of your opponent.
  • When playing doubles, communicate with your partner when it's unclear who should go after a shot. Simply say "yours," "mine," or "got it!"
  • Make sure you have two balls when it's your serve, and call out the score before your first serve.
  • At the end of the game, shake hands with your opponents.

Got any tennis etiquette tips to add? Please share 'em in the comments!

Image Source: Getty
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