On Court Player Towel

Speed Logo Zone Hat


Peace & Love T-shirt

Medical Timeouts

Q. How should medical timeouts be handled in league matches that are not officiated? Most players tend to be courteous in these situations, but how should players handle this when a player is taking repeated "medical" timeouts and taking too long on changeovers? Isn't there a point where the player should be required to retire if they are too sick or too injured to continue the match?

A. Yes. When an opponent is violating the “play shall be continuous” courtesy, then this presents a quandary. You do not want to force a wounded player to risk serious injury by continuing, but nor do you want to be taken advantage of by potential gamesmanship.

The rule states: “No extra time shall be given to allow a player to recover condition. However, a player suffering from a treatable medical condition may be allowed one medical time-out of three minutes for the treatment of that medical condition.”

On changeovers, players are allowed 90 seconds (timed from the moment the last point ends until the first serve is struck for the next point) and 120 seconds between sets. After the first game of a set and during the change-of-ends in a tiebreaker, players should switch sides without taking a rest. If the opponent is taking additional time to nurse a medical condition, then he/she is breaking the rule.

Q. I have a 17 year old daughter that plays tennis, she also has asthma. She very rarely has attacks but of course they come during the most intense matches and at very important tournaments. What is the proper procedures for handling this type of medical emergency. She has only had about 5-6 attacks in her life so they really affect her when they occur. I cannot help but run on the court to make sure that she is OK, the doctor said that these kinds of attacks can be life threatening, so the match is not as important to me as making sure she is ok, but I want to make sure of what her rights are and how to handle this situation. Is it true that she gets one medical break and for 3 minutes?

Thank you so much as this is very important.

A. Your daughter is entitled to one medical time out for this condition. If this happens numerous times and it cannot be handled during the changeover, she would not be entitled to additional medical time outs.

It would be best to notify the referee prior to a match of the situation so it can be monitored fairly and consistently.

Print Article Email Article Newsletter Signup Share

Whit's Tennis Tips doesn't work without your questions, so please send those tennis related questions you've always been trying to get answered to AskWhit.

Knowledge Areas:

Improve Your Game Homepage

USTA Membership
Learn More or Login
Learn More or Login
Newsletter Signup

Copyright 2017 by United States Tennis Association. All Rights Reserved.

Online Advertising | Site Map | About Us | Careers | Internships | Contact Us | Terms of Use | Umpire Policy | Privacy Policy | AdChoices

Connect with us! Facebook-38x39 Twitter-38x39 Youtube-38x39