Tournament dos & don’ts…
The following dos and don’ts are useful tips for players, parents and coaches.
When applying for a tournament / competition
DO apply early. All competitions have published closing deadlines and some popular tournaments accept players on a first-come basis. Many tournaments will insist on receiving an application and payment prior to the closing deadline. Some tournaments do not accept applications by telephone. Bear in mind that the number of players that can be accepted is limited by, for example, the type of draw, the number of courts available, the time span of the competition etc.
DO read tournament literature, including entry forms and information sheets. These set out all the conditions and rules of the event and should answer most questions you may have.
DO check with the tournament organizer or referee if there is anything at all that you are not sure about. They are there to help you.
DO check cancellation and withdrawal deadlines. Organizing draws is a very complicated, time consuming exercise. Players pulling out at the last minute can throw out a whole competition requiring a new draw to be made therefore you should not expect a refund if you are unable to play after the draw has been made and in some circumstances you may also be penalized by the LTA.
DO make sure you are available for the whole period of the competition. If a tournament is a week long you may be required to play on any of the days. An event cannot be organized around an individual player’s requirements.
DO keep a record of the competitions you have entered. Remember, it is your responsibility to check whether you have been accepted and the date and time you are needed to report for play.
DON’T enter more than one competition which could require you to play on the same day. You are likely to be penalized if you do this. Check with the organizers BEFORE the cancellation/withdrawal deadlines, if you are in doubt.
Preparing for the tournament
DO allow enough time for your journey including allowances for delays.
DO arrive by the time you have been asked to report, normally 15 minutes before your first match. You will probably be expected to sign in with the referee on arrival and you must do this in person.
DO remember that tennis matches vary in length, so be prepared for a possible wait, particularly if a tournament has been affected by bad weather.
DO remember to check in advance if there are any rules about what you should wear. Indoor venues may have strict rules about the sort of tennis shoes you need to wear and some may have an all white rule. You may not be allowed to play if you don’t comply.
DO contact the referee if you are running late. If the referee knows then it may be possible to delay your match. Tournaments wont just wait for you to turn up.
If you are unable to play
DO make sure that you contact the referee or organizer as soon as you know you wont be able to play and that they acknowledge your withdrawal. Late withdrawals can cause great problems for organizers and let down other players.
DON’T forget that once the draw has been made, you are expected to play unless ill or injured. It is possible for players who withdraw to be penalized by the LTA so you may be asked to provide some form of evidence. In some cases, you may need to complete a withdrawal form – the tournament referee will advise you what you need to do.
Before your match
DO remember to take everything you need with you on court. You should not leave the court for any reason during a match other than to ask for the referee. A toilet break should only be taken at the end of a set.
DO make sure you know which match format is being used. Even within a tournament there are sometimes several different formats e.g. short-sets, third sets being replaced with a match tiebreak, final sets being played without tiebreaks. If in doubt, always ask the referee, they are there to help.
DON’T walk across the back of other courts whilst play is in progress. Wait until a suitable break in play.
DO make sure you warm up properly before you go on court for your match, remember you usually only get 5 minutes before play actually starts.
During your match
DO call the score, after every point, if you are serving. You are also responsible for calling all out-balls on your side of the net. Make sure your calls are loud, clear and prompt. (If your match is umpired then they will take care of all calls and scoring).
DO treat your opponent, officials and spectators with courtesy and respect.
DO remember that if you have a problem during the match which you cannot resolve yourself, the referee (or assistant) is there to help you.
DON’T swear, throw rackets/balls in temper or behave in an unsportsmanlike manner. This is discourteous and can result in you being penalized.
DON’T talk with parents, coaches or friends during a match. It is against the rules.
After your match
DO remember to shake your opponent’s hand, even if you have had a difficult match.
DO leave the court quickly and report your result to the referee, even if you lost the match.
DO remember to find out when you are playing next. Even if you have lost you might be able to take part in bonus, plate or consolation rounds. This is sometimes compulsory.
DO remember to thank the tournament officials. They are generally hard working and dedicated people – many are volunteers.
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