Tennis Etiquette for Players

Tennis has many official regulations that players must abide by but there are also numerous unwritten rules that are also important to know. Being aware of general courtesies in addition to the rules is a good practice, whether you play seriously or just for fun.

During Warm-Up’s

If you are playing singles tennis, it is good manners to warm up with your opponent before the match. This is not the time to play competitively so avoid hitting at full pace, instead placing your shots at the center of the court so your opponent can easily return the ball. If you are playing doubles, it is fine to warm up with your partner rather than your competition.

Ball Management

Extra tennis balls should be lying against the back fence since loose tennis balls rolling around the court can be a hazard. Players should always have a spare ball in their hand, pocket, or clip since waiting for someone to find a ball to serve is frustrating and slows down play. If you notice your opponent searching for a ball, slowly hit one you have so that they can easily catch it without having to jog all around the court.


The server should always announce the set score before the start of each game and the game score before each point. State these loudly and in a clear voice to avoid any confusion. Making this announcement also lets the other player know that you are ready to begin the next point.

Judgement Calls

If you cannot clearly tell whether your opponent’s shot is out or in, then consider it in. You need to be absolutely sure before calling a shot out, so the benefit of the doubt goes to your opponent in a close call. Return all your opponent’s shots to be safe but call the shot out in a loud, clear voice if you know that it’s out. Likewise, you cannot make calls on your own shots that land on the other side of the court. Your opponent trusts you to be an honest player and you must respect your opponent’s decisions in return.


Slowing the game down is considered rude and is also annoying to your opponent. Play at the pace of the server, which tends to be a ten second rest after the last point ended. Make sure you look ready! While you have up to 25 seconds in between points, lots of lag time is unnecessary.

On the other hand, make sure you as the server are not rushing to start each point. The server should re-do the point if the receiver was not ready, however the receiver must claim he was not ready before making an attempt at returning the serve.


Your attitude effects how you play, so no matter how the match is going it is important to stay positive and have fun. Looking miserable after every point, shouting, muttering, or other gestures is disrespectful to your opponent, keep your head up and give them credit for their points. Talking to yourself, muttering, or curse words after a bad shot are also confusing, since your opponent

may think you are calling out a shot. It is best to avoid talking in the middle of a point. Talking is more acceptable for a doubles team and appropriate during a doubles match.


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