Rules & Regulations


ATL Rules

Rules of Tennis

Code of Tennis

Knotty Problems

Division Assignments


Austin Tennis League Rules Handbook
Revised Spring 2009

I. Playing Rules
II. Match Roster and Substitutions
III. Forfeitures
IV. Matches
V. Reporting Match Score and Standings
VI. Disciplinary Proceedings


A. Unless otherwise provided by the ATL rules, the rules of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and the Code of Tennis shall govern league play.

1. Captains are responsible for becoming familiar with USTA rules and the Code of Tennis and conveying this information to their teams.

2. Poor sportsmanship, such as racket throwing, shouting (even at yourself), profanity, delaying play, and so forth are clear violations of USTA rules and the Code of Tennis and can be sufficient to result in a disciplinary proceeding, even if no "official" protest is filed.

3. In accordance with USTA rules, a match, game or point won by inadvertent violation of ATL or USTA rules, if played in good faith, shall stand as played.

4. Teams can field their players in any order between lines 1 and 2. Playing players in order of strength is no longer an ATL requirement.

B. Matches may be rescheduled or made-up for wet, dangerous courts, or court unavailability due to scheduling conflict. Captains are not allowed to postpone matches until 1-1/2 hours (90 Min) before match time, with the mutual consent of both captains. Team captains must set a time and date for the make-up and notify the League Administrator. Unavailability of players does not constitute reason for rescheduling.

C. Make-up matches should adhere to the following guidelines:

1. The League Administrator must be notified of make-up matches not played within one week of the original date.

2. If a team match has not been completed by the Monday nine days after the match had been originally scheduled, the ATL administrator reserves the right to schedule a make-up date, time and location for the two teams involved.

3. Matches must be played within three weeks of the originally scheduled match date or both teams may be subject to forfeit them. Any matches not made up will result in a score of two sets lost for each individual match not completed. However, the score for sets finished are to be counted and reported.

4. Captains are encouraged to schedule the make up match as follows:

· Option 1 - Next day (Sunday) same time, same location. School courts not available til 1:00 pm.
· Option 2 - The following Sunday or successive Sundays. Same time, same Location. School courts not available til 1:00 pm.
· Option 3 - Friday evening, Saturday evening or Sunday evening at municipal tennis centers with reservation privileges. Court fees may be required if the match was not originally scheduled at the same municipal tennis center.
· Option 4 - Monday evening thru Thursday evening. Courts are not guaranteed, so you may incur court fees if you play at a center.
· Option 5 - Individual lines arranged by the players. If both captains agree. Least preferred.

5. Matches originally scheduled at a municipal tennis center may be rescheduled Friday evening, Saturday or Sunday at the original site more than two days in advance with no extra court fees. Courts have been paid in advance. Notify League Administrator of the make-up date. Scheduling matches Monday through Thursday may incur court fees.

6. If the captains cannot agree on a time, the League Administrator shall schedule the make-up match.

7. All matches shall be completed no later than a date set after the end of the season by the ATL Committee and the League Administrator or both teams will forfeit them. Any matches not made up will result in a score of two sets lost for each team for each individual match not completed. However, the score for sets finished are to be counted and reported.


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A. Before the beginning of play in a team match, the team captains must simultaneously exchange a written and complete list of all players and the position they will play for all four matches. This must be done by any "acting captain" if the regular captain is unavailable. Scratch paper is "official."

The name of one additional person may be listed as a substitute to play only in the event a scheduled player fails to appear or for any other reason is unable to participate in the match. No substitutions are permitted in a match after the first point of that individual match is played.

B. Failure of a captain to exchange a written and complete list of all players and the position they will play for all four matches before the beginning of the first point of any match constitutes a forfeiture of the entire four matches.

C. Captains cannot ask another captain to reschedule matches beforehand due to unavailability of players.

D. A captain or designated acting captain must be present at all matches from start to finish, or the team will lose its claim in any protest that may ensue.

E. A player may only play on one team per season. However, a player may appear as an eligible player on more than one roster IF that person is captain of at least one of those teams. Co-captain and acting captain do not qualify to allow a player to be listed on more than one team roster. Any player listed on more than one team will be asked to choose the team he/she wants to remain on. Any matches played for the other team that season will be forfeited.


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A. An individual match is subject to forfeiture when a scheduled player or properly designated substitute (from the roster marked "substitute") is unavailable or not ready to play at the scheduled time, regardless of the availability or the "playability" of the courts. Matches will be forfeited in accordance with the following:

1. The number two singles must be forfeited before the number one singles may be forfeited.
2. The number two doubles must be forfeited before the number one doubles may be forfeited.
3. Both singles may be forfeited before either of the doubles is forfeited. Both doubles may be forfeited before either of the singles is forfeited.

B. A player who will not or cannot continue a set in progress shall forfeit that set and all subsequent sets, provided that conditions permit play and the opponent is willing and able to continue.

C. Individual or team matches under official protest are subject to forfeiture by ruling of the League Administrator as recommended by the ATL Committee. Violations of the ATL rules or any other form of misconduct are sufficient cause for forfeiture.

D. Any team permitting a player not listed on its official roster (or one who is otherwise ineligible) to compete on it's behalf in an ATL match shall forfeit that individual match to the opposing team.

E. Any forfeiture of sixteen sets or more during any single season will constitute grounds for suspension of a team captain or entire team from playing in the next season. This action will be at the discretion of the ATL Committee. At the discretion of the ATL Committee, penalties could be applied during the current season such as forfeiture of all sets for the entire season.

F. Singles and doubles must begin at the scheduled time where four courts are used. However, at the schools and other locations where only two courts are available for league play, doubles must start on the hour, and singles must start on the 1 1/2 hour. Ex: Crockett HS 9-12 a.m.

9:00 a.m. start both Doubles matches
9:01 a.m. begin point penalty system
10:30 a.m. start both Singles matches
10:31 a.m. begin point penalty system

The only allowable exception to this rule is that the captains may have the option to determine by mutual consent to allow doubles match(es) to continue beyond the time limit. In this case, the singles match time (including point penalty system) begins at the completion of the doubles match but must be completed by the end of the scheduled match time to allow the next match to begin on time. Any match not completed at the start time for the next scheduled match MUST vacate the court, for ALL MATCHES MUST BEGIN AT THE SCHEDULED TIMES. Matches bumped from courts for reasons of time may be completed on any available court at any time before the date designated at the end of the season, but will take NO PRIORITY over public use. ATL has a limited number of courts reserved for its use and MUST respect the public right to use the remaining courts, or risk the loss of our right to reserve these courts.

G. The USTA POINT PENALTY SYSTEM is used to penalize those arriving late. They are:

· Between 1 and 5 minutes late - loss of toss and 1 game
· Between 6 and 9 minutes late - loss of toss and 2 games
· Between 10 and 15 minutes late - loss of toss and 3 games

(Captains could select a bystander with a watch, and then both captains agree to go by the time on the watch to determine the point penalties.)

H. Forfeited individual matches are scored as two sets won, no sets lost for the team whose player did not forfeit, and two sets lost, no sets won for the team whose player did forfeit. However, the score for sets finished before an injury, etc. occurs, are to be counted and reported.

I. Forfeited team matches are scored as eight sets won, no sets lost for the winning team, and eight sets lost, no sets won for the losing team.

J. In the case of a double forfeiture, both teams are considered losing teams. A double forfeiture of an individual match is scored as no sets won and two sets lost for both teams. A double forfeiture of a team match is scored as no sets won and eight sets lost for both teams.

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A. A team match shall be played by six different players. Two singles and two doubles matches will be played.

B. An individual match is started with the first serve on the first point of that individual match.

C. Make-up matches do not have to include the players scheduled to play the original match; however, matches that were started and not completed must continue with the same players.

D. An individual match shall consist of the best two out of three sets, regular scoring, with a 12-point tiebreaker at 6-all in each set. A "match tie break" may be played in lieu of a third set if all players in an individual match agree. The match tie break is first player or team to reach 10 points that is ahead by 2. If all players on the court cannot agree, then the 3rd set must be played using regular scoring. Additionally, if opponents cannot agree on whether to switch after every six points or using the Coman tiebreak, the default is to switch after every six points.

E. The 12-point Coman tiebreak scoring is as follows:

· Singles: A player who first wins seven points shall win the game and the set provided he leads by a margin of two points. The player whose turn it is to serve shall be the Server for the first point. His opponent shall be the Server for the second and third points and thereafter each player shall serve alternately for two consecutive points until the winner of the game and set has been decided.

From the first point, each service shall be delivered alternately from the right and left Courts, beginning from the right Court. If service from a wrong half of the Court occurs and is undetected, all play resulting from such wrong service or services shall stand, but the error should be corrected as soon as it is discovered. Players shall change ends after the first point, then after every four points, and at the conclusion of the Tiebreak.

· Doubles follows the same procedure. The player whose turn it is to serve shall be the Server for the first point. Thereafter each player shall serve in rotation for two points, in the same order previously in that set, until the winners of the game and set have been decided.

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A. The number of sets a team has won and lost shall be used to compute that team's average, rounded to the nearest thousandth of a point. The team's average shall determine its standing in its division.

B. The winning captain or acting captain shall report the number of sets won and lost in a match as well the players playing in that match by entering the information onto the ATL website within 48 hours after the match. It is the responsibility of each team captain or acting team captain to verify the scores online. Incomplete match scores should be entered onto the website and updated when the match is complete.

C. Forfeitures, rescheduled and postponed matches must also be reported. Failure by teams in reporting within one week may result in the team forfeiting all sets of the match.

D. Forfeited sets should be noted as such on the scorecards.

E. The League Administrator will post forfeitures as part of the scores and percentages.

F. Standings are available in the Standings section.

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A. Protests. Protests must be in writing to the League Administrator within three working days on the form provided by the league. If an event occurs during the course of an individual match that a team captain considers serious enough to justify a formal protest, the protesting team captain must notify the opposing team captain that the match is being continued under protest. The match should be completed. Within three working days following the day of the match, the protesting team captain shall use the ATL Complaint Form to file a complaint with the League Administrator outlining all circumstances relating to the incident and requesting the ATL Committee to rule on the complaint. The league will contact the opposing team for a response.

If you have trouble with an opponent, notify your team captain, who will discuss the problem with the other team captain. If the two team captains cannot resolve the problem, they should try to obtain an observer to document incidents.

B. Suspension. For just cause, the ATL Committee has the authority to suspend a player or team from league competition for a set length of time. The Committee may exercise this authority and may hold disciplinary hearings regardless of whether a formal protest has been filed. Reasons for suspension may be, but are not limited to, cheating, taking a bribe, poor court conduct, throwing a tennis racket, profanity, and disrespect to officials.

C. Disciplinary Hearings. The ATL Committee shall rule on any complaint properly filed. The ATL Committee shall conduct a disciplinary hearing to decide the matter.

D. All decisions of the ATL Committee shall be by majority vote of the members present and voting. The vote shall be made in closed session, and the League Administrator shall report the decision within 24 hours of the vote. Persons concerned with the alleged violation will be asked to appear at the disciplinary hearing to give evidence. These persons shall be allowed a maximum of 15 minutes each to speak before the Committee. Once all evidence has been presented, the Committee will deliver a ruling.

E. Deliberate Forfeitures. Deliberate forfeiture or the soliciting of forfeiture shall be grounds for team or individual suspension or other disciplinary measures to be assessed by the ATL Committee.

F. Team Penalties. The ATL Committee has the authority to assess penalties that alter a team's standing in its division for an infraction of league rules.

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