The Laws of Tennis


1. Interpretations
1.1 References to the “Laws” shall be references to The Laws of Tennis (2012 Revision) as from time to time amended or supplemented with the approval of the Tennis Committee of the Tennis and Rackets Association.
1.2 From time to time the Association, host club or the organisers of an event may lay down special rules relating to a Court, a match or to a tournament. In such an event, the Laws of Tennis shall prevail except where they are inconsistent with those rules.
1.3 Subject to Law 21 (The REFEREE), the decision of the Marker in any match as to the interpretation of the Laws shall be final. In matches where there is no Marker, all calls or other decisions that would otherwise be made by a Marker shall be agreed between the players and these Laws shall be construed accordingly. If no agreement can be reached, a Let shall be played.
1.4 Without prejudice to Law 1.3, the Association may, from time to time, promulgate guidance notes for Markers and Referees. Such notes shall not form a part of the Laws and, in the event of an inconsistency between the Laws and such guidance notes, the Laws shall prevail.
1.5 In these Laws generally:
    (a) references to the singular shall include the plural and vice versa;
    (b) references to the masculine gender shall include the female; and
    (c) references to a defined term which is a verb shall include all appropriate tenses of that verb.
2. Definitions
In these Laws each of the following terms shall bear the meaning set opposite it in this section.
The Association The Tennis and Rackets Association
Back Walls The walls adjoining the Main Wall between the floor and the penthouse and between the penthouse and the Out of Court Line.
Bandeau The strip of wall immediately below a penthouse, usually made of the same material as the penthouse.
Chase See Law 9, which contains all definitions relating to Chases.
Court The enclosure in which the game is played.
Dead A ball Served becomes dead when:
  • (a) a Service becomes a fault; or
  • (b) a Chase is made; or
  • (c) it is Chase Off; or
  • (d) the point being played for is won or lost in accordance with Law II; or
  • (e) Time is called by the Marker.
Dedans The Opening in the Back Wall on the Service Side.
Drop A ball is said to Drop when, after passing the Net, it bounces for the first time on the floor.
Fall A ball is said to Fall when:
  • (a) after passing the Net, it enters an Opening; or
  • (b) it Drops on another ball or other item on the floor (not being a player’s racket or any item of a players clothing equipment used or carried by that player in the course of that Rest; or
  • (c) after having Dropped and without thereafter being struck, it bounces for the second time on the floor or touches the Net on the far side from that on which the ball was originally struck. A ball landing in the Nick after having Dropped is deemed to have hit a wall before Falling.
Fault Line The line on the floor nearest the Grille and extending from the Service Line to the Grille Wall.
Gallery An Opening below the Side Penthouse. The Galleries are named as follows, starting from the Net:
  • (a) on the Service Side:- the First Gallery, the Door, the Second Gallery, the Last Gallery, and
  • (b) on the Hazard Side:- Hazard the First Gallery, Hazard the Door, Hazard the Second Gallery and the Winning Gallery.
Gallery Post The post between two Galleries. A Gallery Post is considered to be part of the Gallery nearer the Net. The part of the netting that surrounds a Gallery Post is treated as being a part of that post.
Grille The Opening in the Grille Wall.
Grille Wall The Back Wall on the Hazard Side below the penthouse.
Half-Court Line The line on the floor within the Service Court running from the Back Wall on the Hazard Side to the Service Line half-way between the Main Wall and the Side Wall.
Hazard Court The floor of the Court on the Hazard Side from the Net up to, but excluding the Service Line.
Hazard Side The side of the Court on the left of the Net when facing the Main Wall.
In Play A ball served is In Play until it becomes Dead.
Ledge The lower horizontal surface of a wall that surrounds an Opening.
Line The notional line at the Net on the floor of the Court separating the Service Side from the Hazard Side. (It may originally have been the line that supports the Net).
Line Opening An Opening on either side of the Net Post between the Net Post and the First Gallery or Hazard the First Gallery.
Main Wall The wall that has no penthouse.
Net Post The post supporting the Net under the Side Penthouse.
Nick The junction of any wall and the floor of the Court. A ball is also said to be a “Nick” when the ball, as it Drops or Falls, touches a wall and the floor simultaneously.
Opening The Line Opening and any Gallery or Winning Opening.
Opening, entering an A ball In Play enters an Opening when it:
  • (a) touches any post (except the Net Post), netting or Tray of that Opening; or
  • (b) touches any article lying in that Opening or partly lying in or partly extending outside that Opening”, or
  • (c) comes to rest in or on the Ledge of that Opening; or
  • (d) in the case of the Grille, touches the woodwork (or other material) forming the back of the framing of the Grille.
Out of Court Line The line marking the upper limit of the Court.
Passing the Net A ball passes the Net when it crosses from one side of the Court to the other.
Receiver The player who is to take the Service.
Rest A stroke or series of strokes, commencing when the ball is Served and terminating when the ball is Dead.
Server The Server is the player who delivers or is to deliver the Service from time to time.
Service The method of starting a Rest.
Service Court The part of the floor on the Hazard Side that is bordered by the Side Wall, the Grille Wall, the Fault Line and the Service Line (including those two lines).
Service Line The line on the floor of the Court which is nearest and parallel to the Grille Wall.
Service Penthouse That part of the Side Penthouse, which is on the Hazard Side including the line that bisects the Side Penthouse.
Service Side The side of the Court on the right of the Net when facing the Main Wall.
Service Wall The wall above the Side Penthouse up to, but excluding, the Out of Court Line.
Side Penthouse The penthouse opposite the Main Wall up to its junction with the other penthouses.
Striker The player who last struck the ball.
Tambour The projection on the Main Wall near the Grille. (The whole of the projection should be called the Tambour though the term is more commonly applied only to that part of it that is at an angle to the Main Wall).
Tray The inner part of the bottom of an Opening behind the Ledge, usually made of wood.
Winning Gallery The Last Gallery on the Hazard Side.
Winning Openings The Dedans, the Grille and the Winning Gallery.
3. Balls
The balls shall not be less than 2 7/16 inches (62 mm) and not more than 2 9/16 inches (65 mm) in diameter. They shall not be less than 2 1/2 ounces (71 gms) and not more than 2 3/4 ounces (78 gms) in weight.
4. Racquets
Unless, exceptionally, the Association approves another specification, racquet frames shall be asymmetric as traditionally designed for Real Tennis. The internal dimensions of the head shall not exceed 241mm in length by 178mm in width and the overall length of the racket shall not exceed 680 mm. They shall be made entirely of wood or wood based derivatives, but may include laminates made of other materials and essential adhesives, but not of any mineral substances. Strengthening of eyelets is permitted using only natural cellulose based substances, but the frames should not be otherwise be stiffened. (Effective 01 August 2012; Enforced 01 August 2013)
5. Net
The height of the Net above the level of the floor shall be:
  • (a) three feet (0.91m) at the centre of the Court; and
  • (b) five feet (1.52m) at both the Main Wall and below the edge of the Side Penthouse, but subject to Law 1.2
6. Chase Lines
Chase Lines are lines normally painted on the floor to enable the Marker to mark the Chases and are located as follows:
  • (a) on the Service Side, proceeding from the Back Wall towards the Net:- Half-a-Yard, One Yard, One and Two (describing the Half-yard line between the one yard line and the two yard line) and so on up to Six, then Half-a-Yard Worse than Six, the Last Gallery, Half-a-Yard Worse than the Last Gallery, A Yard Worse than the Last Gallery, the Second Gallery, the Door, and the First Gallery, and
  • (b) in the Hazard Court, proceeding from the Service Line towards the Net:- Hazard Half-a-Yard, Hazard One Yard, Hazard One and Two, Hazard Two Yards, Hazard the Second Gallery, Hazard the Door and Hazard the First Gallery.
7. Before Play
7.1 Choice of Sides: The choice of sides at the beginning of a match shall be decided by the spin of a racket or, if preferred by any of the players, by the toss of a coin.
7.2 Warm-up: Players shall be permitted a warm-up period of five minutes commencing from:
  • (a) the scheduled start of play, or
  • (b) the completion of the preceding match; or
  • (c) the arrival of the last player on Court; whichever is the later
8. Serving and Changing Sides
8.1 Service: The player who is on the Service Side always delivers the Service. A Service is good if it is not a fault. Once a serve has become a fault, the ball is dead and may not be returned.
A Service is a fault:
  • (a) if the Server, at the time of striking the ball, fails to maintain contact with the floor or touches the Second Gallery Line or any part of the Court between the Second Gallery Line and the Net; or
  • (b) if the Server misses the ball or does not definitely strike it or makes a double hit as defined in Law 11.2(e); or
  • (c) if the ball served, before touching the Service Penthouse, touches any part of the Court except the Side Penthouse or Service Wall; or
  • (d) if the ball served touches the edge of the Side Penthouse before touching anything else; or
  • (e) if the ball served leaves the Side Penthouse or Service Wall without touching the Service Penthouse or touches the edge of the Service Penthouse without first striking the Service Wall or another part of the Side Penthouse; or
  • (f) if the ball served goes Out of Court; or
  • (g) if the ball served, after striking the Service Penthouse and without then having first been volleyed, strikes the Main Wall or Tambour before Dropping; or
  • (h) if the ball served, after striking the Service Penthouse and without then having first been volleyed, Drops anywhere except in the Service Court or in the Winning Gallery.
If the Receiver is not ready for a Service and does not attempt to take it, a Let (Law 10) shall be allowed, subject always to the provisions of Law Law16a) - Continuous Play.
8.2 Changing Sides:
  • (a) During a match the players shall change sides when two Chases have been made or when any player is at forty or advantage and one Chase has been made.
  • (b) If the players change sides before they should, or do not change sides when they should have done, the following provisions shall apply:
    • (i) any points completed on the wrong side shall stand as if no mistake had been made;
    • (ii) no more than two Chases, or one Chase if either player is at forty or advantage, shall be played for after the players change sides;
    • (iii) any Chase, in excess of the proper number, that is discovered before it has been played for shall be annulled;
    • (iv) any Chase outstanding after either player has won the game shall be annulled.
9. Chases
The Chase, as defined in Law 9.1, is the procedure by which players gain or lose the Service Side. When a Chase is made, the score in strokes is unaltered but that Chase is marked and played for when the players change ends. The players change ends when two Chases are made or when one chase is made and the score of any player is forty or advantage. When the players have changed ends, the Chases are played for in the next one or two (as the case may be) Rests in the order in which they were made. Once those Chases have been played for, the game continues normally.
9.1 Definitions Relating to Chases
Better than One Chase is Better than another if it is made nearer to the Back Wall on the same side of the Court. In marking Chases, “Better than” means that the ball makes a Chase:
  • (a) nearer to the Back Wall than the line mentioned; and
  • (b) nearer to that line than to any other yard or Gallery line.
Chase A Chase is made whenever the ball Falls in the Hazard Court, or Falls anywhere on the Service Side, or enters the Line Opening or any Gallery, except the Winning Gallery.
Chase the Line The Chase made when the ball enters the Line Opening. On the floor it is the area between the Net and the First Gallery Line excluding that line. A ball which Drops on the Service Side and then Falls on the Hazard Side is also marked Chase the Line.
Hazard Chase A Chase made on the Hazard Side of the Court.
Hazard Chase the Line The Chase made when the ball enters the Line Opening on the Hazard Side. On the floor it is the area between the Net and Hazard the First Gallery Line, excluding that line. A ball which Drops on the Hazard Side and then Falls on the Service Side is also marked Hazard Chase the Line
Marking a Chase A Chase is marked at the point where the ball Falls.
Worse than One Chase is Worse than another if it is made further away from the Back Wall on the same side of the Court. In marking Chases, “Worse than” means that the ball makes a Chase:
  • (a) further away from the Back Wall than the line mentioned; and
  • (b) nearer to that line than to any other Yard or Gallery line.
9.2 Making Chases:
  • (a) When no Chase is being played for, a Chase is made if the ball, whilst In Play, enters the Line Opening or any Gallery (except the Winning Gallery) or Falls on the floor of the Court anywhere on the Service Side or within the Hazard Court. When a Chase is made the score in strokes relating to that Rest shall be unaltered until that Chase is played for (Law 9.3).
  • (b) A Chase is made at the Line Opening or Gallery which the ball enters or at the Chase Line on which it Falls, provided that if the ball Falls between two Chase Lines, it makes a Chase Better than or Worse than the yard or Gallery line nearest the spot where it Fell, except that:
    • (i) it makes chase Better than Half-a-Yard or Better than Hazard Half-a-Yard when it so Falls;
    • (ii) when it Falls Better than or Worse than the Chase Line which is A Yard Worse than the Last Gallery, the Chase is called “Nearly a Yard Worse than the Last Gallery” or “More than a Yard Worse than the Last Gallery” as applicable;
    • (iii) when it Falls Worse than the First Gallery Line or the Hazard First Gallery Line it makes Chase the Line or Hazard Chase the Line, as applicable;
    • (iv) when it Drops or Falls in the Net on the opposite side of the Court from the Striker, or Drops on that opposite side and then Falls on the side from which it was last struck, it makes Chase the Line on the opposite side from the Striker,
    • (v) when it Drops or Falls on another ball or other item on the floor (not being a player’s racket or any item of a player’s clothing or equipment used or carried by that player in the course of that Rest), it makes a Chase as if it had Fallen where that ball or item was lying.
    • (vi) when it strikes the Marker, having previously passed the Net, it makes a Chase as if it had Fallen where the Marker was situate at the time of impact.
9.3 Playing Chases
  • (a) When the players change sides in accordance with Law 8.2 the Chase or Chases shall be played for immediately in the order in which they were made. The winner of each Chase shall win the point. Unless there is a Let (law 10) a Chase shall be played for once only.
  • (b) When a Chase is being played for:
    • (i) the opponent of the player who made the Chase (being the Server in the case of a Hazard Chase and the Receiver in each other case) is said to be “Attacking the Chase”. The player who made the Chase is said to be “Defending the Chase”;
    • (ii) the player Attacking the Chase wins the Chase if he makes a Better Chase or loses the Chase if he makes a Worse Chase, in either case than the one being played for, or
    • (iii) if that Chase is on the Service Side; the player on the Hazard Side will lose the Chase to a Chase made on the Hazard Side; or
    • (iv) if that Chase is on the Hazard Side; the player on the Service Side will lose the Chase to a Chase made on the Service Side; or
    • (v) if a player loses the point in accordance with Law 11.2, the Chase is annulled and that Law shall apply, or
    • (vi) if the player Attacking the Chase makes a Chase equal to the one being played for it is Chase Off and the score remains unaltered.
  • (c) In cases where it is thought that a Chase may have been wrongly called or there has been a misunderstanding or a mistake:
    • (i) if it is thought that a Chase has been wrongly called by the Marker, the Server may appeal before delivering the Service, and the Receiver may appeal before attempting to take it. If there is no such appeal, the Chase played for shall be that called by the Marker immediately before the Service is delivered, notwithstanding that this may be different from that marked when the Chase was made; or
    • (ii) if there has been any misunderstanding as to what Chase the Marker called, the Rest as played shall stand or a Let (Law 10) may be allowed, whichever the Marker considers equitable in view of all the circumstances; or
    • (iii) if through any mistake, at the end of a game there is a Chase that has been made and not played for, that Chase is annulled.
10. Let
  • (a) The Marker may, at his sole discretion, call “Time” at any stage during a Rest and the players shall then play a Let. The Marker may also allow a Let promptly upon completion of a Rest if he considers it equitable so to do. No appeal shall be allowed by any player against such decision.
  • (b) In the case of a Let:
    • (i) the Rest to which it refers counts for nothing;
    • (ii) if a Chase was being played for, it shall immediately be played for again; and
    • (iii) if there was a previous Service fault, that fault is not annulled.
11. Points: How Won and Lost
11.1 Player Wins the Point.
A player wins a point if, during the relevant Rest:
  • (a) he wins a Chase; or
  • (b) a ball In Play struck by him after passing the Net, enters a Winning Opening or Falls on the Hazard Side between the Service Line and the Grill Wall or on the Service Line.
11.2 Player Loses the Point
A player loses a point if, during the relevant Rest:
  • (a) he loses a Chase; or
  • (b) as Server he serves two consecutive faults for that point; or
  • (c) a ball In Play struck by him does not Pass the Net. (A ball does not pass the net if it has previously entered an Opening or touched the floor or anything lying on the floor, or touched the Marker or the Net Post, or any wing net between the Net Post and the Net); or
  • (d) a ball In Play struck by him goes Out of Court; or
  • (e) he makes a Double Hit. A Double Hit is not made if the player has made one continuous stroke at the ball, unless:
    • (i) during the course of such stroke the ball has struck another surface of the Court between one contact with the racket and another, or
    • (ii) the ball remains in contact with the racket for such a time as to constitute a throw in the opinion of the Marker, or
  • (f) a ball In Play touches that player or anything he wears or carries, or has worn or carried in the course of that rest, except his racket held by him in the act of striking the ball; or
  • (g) he strikes a ball In Play on the side of the Net from which it was struck, except that a ball which has Dropped on the player’s side of the Court and bounced back over the Net may be followed and struck by the player as long as he does not break any other Law, or
  • (h) he touches the Net when the ball is In Play either before or after striking the ball except that if, in the opinion of the Marker, he deliberately strikes the Net in order to prevent a Chase being made, the Chase shall stand as if he had not struck the Net; or
  • (i) as Receiver he volleys a serve, which might otherwise have been a good serve, before it has touched the Service Penthouse; or
  • (j) a ball In Play struck by him, after Passing the Net, comes back and Drops on the side of the Court from which it was struck by that player (even if the ball touches the Net before so Dropping).
12. Games How Scored
12.1 Calling the Points
  • (a) In each game, when either player wins his first point, his score is called fifteen; when he wins his second point, thirty, when he wins his third point, forty and when he wins his fourth point, he wins the game except that:
    • (i) when both players have won three points, the score is called deuce and it is called advantage to the player who wins the next point; and
    • (ii) if the player who is at advantage wins the next point, he wins the game. If he loses it, the score is again called deuce and so on until the player who is at advantage wins a point and the game;
  • (b) In all matches where a Handicap is played and in such other matches where the tournament rules so provide, the score shall be called “forty all” instead of deuce and the player who wins the next point shall win the game.
12.2 The Order of Calling the Score
The score of the player winning the point shall be called first.
13. Sets How Won
The player who first wins six games in a set wins that set, unless a different number of games has been stipulated.
14. Doubles Play
The Laws for singles matches apply equally to doubles matches and players are, with the following variations, in all cases subject to the same Laws as a player in a singles match.
14.1 Choosing Server and Receiver
Before commencing each set the players on the Service Side shall select which player is to serve. The players on the Hazard Side shall then select which player is to receive Service. The selected players are then the Server and Receiver for their sides throughout the first game and for odd games throughout the set. Their partners are Server and Receiver in the even games.
14.2 Returning Service
A return of Service is not good if made by the Receiver’s partner, unless the ball has Dropped in the Service Court between the Half-Court Line and the Fault Line or on either of those lines.
14.3 Clear View of Server
The Servers partner shall not stand in such a position, when the Server is serving, as to prevent the Receiver from having a clear view of the Server and the ball. If the Receiver’s view is obscured and he does not attempt to take the serve, a Let shall be allowed.
14.4 Errors in Player Serving
If an incorrect player serves, whether or not the correct Receiver returns the Service, the Marker shall call a fault, but if the error goes unnoticed, then all completed Rests shall stand as if correctly scored.
14.5 Error in Player Receiving Service
If an incorrect player returns Service from the correct Server, the Marker shall call a stroke against that player except in cases where the ball Drops in the Service Court between the Half Court Line and the Fault Line or on either of those lines. If an error goes unnoticed, then all completed Rests shall stand as if correctly scored.
14.6 Partner Struck by Ball
In addition to the circumstances described in Law 11.2, a player loses the point if a ball struck by him hits his partner or anything his partner is wearing or carrying.
15. General Guide to the Conduct of Players
Players shall conduct themselves, both on and off the Court, in a manner consistent with the etiquette, sportsmanship and exemplary standards of behaviour and dress expected of the sport. In particular, players should:
  • (a) Abide by the laws and spirit of the game;
  • (b) Accept the decisions of Referees, Markers and other officials without question or protest and treat them with due respect at all times;
  • (c) Exercise self control at all times;
  • (d) Treat their opponents and fellow participants fairly and with due respect at all times and not seek in any way to intimidate or belittle them;
  • (e) Accept success, failure, victory or defeat with good grace and without excessive display of emotion;
  • (f) Not behave in any way likely to bring the game into disrepute.
16. Continuous Play
  • (a) After the first Service has been delivered, play shall be continuous and, having regard to all the circumstances, reasonably expeditious unless the Marker (or the Referee if this task has been allocated to the Referee) decides otherwise.
  • (b) No player may leave the Court without the express permission of the Marker (or the Referee if this task has been allocated to the Referee) and then only for a good reason and for the shortest possible time.
17. Players Have No Right to Appeal
Unless specifically otherwise provided in the Laws, the players shall have no right of appeal to any person in respect of any marking decision (whether or not a Referee has been appointed under the provisions of Law 19). Notwithstanding the foregoing, the players may:
  • (a) check the accuracy of the score;
  • (b) check the calling of a previously marked Chase;
  • (c) seek clarification from the Marker or the Referee (if this task has been allocated to the Referee) on points of law.
18. Control of the Match
Save only to the extent that certain specific powers or duties have been delegated to a Referee appointed in accordance with Law 19.2, the Marker shall have full control of the match and his decisions shall be final. Even where a Referee has been appointed, those powers set out in Law 20.1 that have not been delegated to a referee shall be exercised by the Marker.
19. Appointment of Officials
19.1 Appointment of the Marker
Markers and Referees shall be appointed by the Event Organisers.
19.2 Appointment of a Referee
A Referee may be appointed at any time considered appropriate by the Event Organisers or whenever the Marker requests one. If a player wishes a Referee to be appointed, he shall make such request before the start of a match to the Event Organisers whose decision, whether or not to appoint a Referee for that match shall be final.
20. The Marker
20.1 The Duties and Responsibilities of the Marker
The principal duties and responsibilities of the Marker shall be:
  • (a) to be well versed in the Laws, any guidelines for Markers and Referees promulgated from time to time by the Association and any specific rules relating to the relevant match or tournament;
  • (b) to notify the players whenever a Referee is appointed and inform the players of any variation in the duties delegated to the Referee from those set out in Law 21.1.
  • (c) to carry out the principal duties set out below to the extent that they are not delegated to a Referee for a specific match:-
  • Before the start of and throughout the match the Marker shall, to the extent reasonably possible in the circumstances:
    • (i) ensure that the Net at the centre is at the correct height;
    • (ii) ensure that the court is fit for play,
    • (iii) ensure that balls lying on the floor are removed between rests;
    • (iv) ensure that the ball troughs used by the Server are replenished.
  • The Marker shall, to the extent reasonably possible in the circumstances, be responsible for the conduct of the match generally and in particular for:
    • (v) calling service faults;
    • (vi) marking and calling Chases;
    • (vii) directing the players to change sides at the appropriate time and calling each Chase before it is played for,
    • (viii) calling points won and lost;
    • (ix) keeping and calling the score;
    • (x) giving clarification, when asked to do so, on points of law.
  • (d) The Marker shall, to the extent reasonably possible in the circumstances, ensure compliance with the Laws relating to the Conduct of Players (Law 15) and Continuous Play (Law 16).
  • (e) The Marker shall, to the extent reasonably possible in the circumstances, ensure that spectators do not disturb the players.
20.2 The Position of the Marker
Unless the conditions of a match or tournament regulations allow otherwise, the Marker shall stand in the Markers Box at the entrance to the Court, as is required for top flight matches. If the Marker is marking from the Dedans, the player on the Hazard Side shall mark Hazard Chases except where an additional Marker is appointed for that purpose.
21. The Referee
21.1 The principal duties and responsibilities of a Referee shall be:
  • (a) to be well versed in the Laws, any guidelines for Markers and Referees promulgated from time to time by the Association and any specific rules relating to the relevant match or tournament.
  • (b) to carry out those duties of the Marker set out in Law 20.1 which are delegated to the Referee for a specific match. Unless the Event Organiser in consultation with the Marker and Referee shall decide otherwise the duties to be delegated to the Referee shall be:
    • (i) to keep a written record of the score and of Chases and to correct any errors in the calling of the score or previously marked Chases;
    • (ii) to call Service Faults on or above the Service Penthouse;
    • (iii) to advise the Marker on all marking decisions where the Marker is uncertain or unsighted, but only in cases where the Marker requests the assistance of the Referee;
    • (iv) to give clarification when asked to do so on points of law.
    • (v) With the assistance of the Marker, to be responsible for all matters involving breaches of Law 15 (Conduct of Players) and Law 16 (Continuous Play);
    • (vi) to ensure that spectators do not disturb the players.
21.2 The Position of the Referee
Unless the conditions of a match or tournament regulations allow otherwise, the Referee shall be seated to the right of centre in the Dedans.
22. Powers of the Marker and Referee
22.1 Breach of Law 15 (Conduct of Players)
If, in the opinion of the Marker or the Referee (if this power has been delegated to a Referee), the behaviour of a player is contrary to the letter or spirit of the provisions of Part VI, he shall warn the offending player that a continuation of such behaviour would result in forfeiture of the match. Should that player continue to offend, the Marker or (as the case may be) the Referee shall award the match to his opponents) forthwith. In the case of gross misconduct on the part of any player, the Marker or as the case may be the Referee may, at his sole discretion, award the match to that player’s opponent(s) without a warning.
22.2 Breach of Law 16 (Continuous Play)
The Marker or (if such power is delegated to a Referee) the Referee has the power:
  • (a) to order any player who has left the Court with or without permission under Law 16, to return and play on;
  • (b) to order any player to resume or to expedite play, and
  • (c) At his absolute discretion taking account of all the circumstances, to give a warning to any player and, if that warning is not heeded, to award the match to that player’s opponent.
The Marker or, as the case may be, the Referee shall be free to exercise any or all of the foregoing powers at such time or times as he considers appropriate.
23. Handicaps
The Handicaps most commonly used are those set out in this Law. In addition there are a number of long established Handicaps, which are set out under the heading “Cramped Odds” in the Glossary, but which are now infrequently used.
23.1 Quarter Odds
Quarter odds are played for in every fourth game of each set where they apply.
23.2 Half Odds
When half odds Handicaps are played, the Handicap in the first game of each set is always that most favourable to the player conceding the Handicap. If a Handicap involves half odds received and owed, full odds when received will alternate with, rather than coincide with, full odds owed and vice versa, (e.g. receive half 15 owe half 30 is played love owe 30 in the first game, receive 15 owe 15 in the second game and so on).
23.3 Bisque
A “Bisque” is one point in a set conceded to an opponent. The player receiving the Bisque may take it to win one point in each set at any time subject to the following:
  • (a) he may not take it during a Rest;
  • (b) if Server, he may not take it after serving one fault;
  • (c) if he takes it to win or to defend a Chase, he may not do so before the time comes to change sides. Then, if there is only one Chase, he may take it and need not change sides or he may take it after changing sides but, after he has passed the Net, he may not go back again; and
  • (d) if there are two Chases the players must change sides before the Bisque is taken to win or to defend either of them.
23.4 Half-Bisque
The player receiving a Half-Bisque may take it:
  • (a) to call Chase Off and so to annul a Chase about to be played for, or
  • (b) to annul a first fault served by him; or
  • (c) to add a second fault to one served by his opponent.
Apart from (c) the conditions regarding taking a Bisque apply equally to a Half-Bisque.
The Handicapper may give a Half-Bisque as being one Bisque in every alternate set, in which case the Bisque must be taken in the odd sets.
23.5 One Serve
The player giving the Handicap shall only be allowed one serve in each Rest.
23.6 Banned the Tambour
The player giving the Handicap shall lose the point if a ball struck by him before Falling, hits the oblique face of the Tambour.
23.7 Chase Restriction
When a player gives a specified Chase, this applies only to a Chase on the Service Side unless the player is also giving a Chase on the Hazard Side. Any Chase made by the giver of the odds Worse than the one specified loses him a point (even when playing off a Hazard Chase). Any Chase made by the Receiver of the odds Worse than the one specified is considered equal to the one specified.

Revised by the Tennis and Rackets Association 2006
Revised 2011
Revised 2012

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