Sportsmanship and Fair Play

Bigger than the game

As a tennis player, it is important that in addition to just knowing and following the rules of the game, you also show good sportsmanship on the court. Sportsmanship includes respecting your opponents, playing fair, and doing your part so that everyone is having fun!

 

The USTA provides resources in order to ensure positive play experiences and good sportsmanship. Check out the Friend at Court to learn more about the Rules of Tennis and The Code.

 

Here are some tips on how you could be caught being a good sport.

Before the Match

  • Introduce yourself to your opponents family/coach.
  • Shake officials hand prior to play.
  • Be ready to always try your best.
  • Say hello to your opponent.

During the Match

  • If you are the server, clearly call out the score before the point starts.
  • Wait to serve until your opponent is ready.
  • Always show “Respect” for your opponent, spectators, officials and tournaments staff.
  • Give your best effort no matter the score.
  • Congratulate your opponent’s good shots.
  • Keep your racquet in your hand and avoid dropping or throwing it.
  • Avoid shouting in frustration, especially during your point.
  • Be “Gracious” no matter the circumstances.
  • Act with “Honesty” and “Integrity”.

Calling In or Out

  • Calling shots correctly isn’t considered good sportsmanship. It the RULE the game. Adhering to “The Code” is the responsibility of all players, parents and coaches.
  • Giving your opponent the “benefit of the doubt” or correcting a mistake you made is an example of good sportsmanship. It shows your “ Character” and “Fairness” toward your opponent.

After the Match

  • Before leaving the court, show “Humility” in victory or “Decency” in defeat. first head to the net, look your opponent in the eye, tap racquets (due to Covid-19), and say “good match” or something else positive.
  • Avoid poor behavior - throwing your racquet, complaining about your opponent, or gloating after a win; win or lose, it’s important to end the match on a positive note.
  • Wish your opponent good luck in their future matches either in this event or upcoming tournaments.

For Parents, Friends, Spectators and Coaches

  • Introduce yourself to the opponent’s parents/family if they are in attendance.
  • Be understanding and patient with new players as they learn the game. Teach them how to show good sportsmanship in a fun and positive way
  • Emphasize and reinforce the positive traditions of tennis
  • Play your support roll. Allow the players to make calls and talk out any disagreements  with their opponent
  • Exhibit emotional control 
  • Reinforce having fun and a collaborative spirit of play.
  • A tournament official or monitor can help players with scoring and positioning
  • Avoid being critical or negative about your player’s performance during or after the match
  • If your player is doing something that should be corrected ask the tournament official or a coach about it
  • Later in the day, with a positive focus on having fun and getting better, talk about the match and what your player may have noticed or learned
  • After the match congratulate the opponent and their family and stay positive

What's the Call?

What happens when your racquet crosses the net? Can you still win a point if a ball grazes your partner on the way over? What’s the Call is here to answer your questions! Do you have a question for USTA Officiating?? Email it to the Final Word at officiating@usta.com and it could be featured in the next What’s the Call.


Bill Talbert Junior Sportsmanship Award

Know a player who exemplifies good sportsmanship? You can nominate him or her for the USTA Bill Talbert Junior Sportsmanship Award.


USTA Junior Player Oath

I recognize that tennis is a sport that places the responsibility for fair play on me. I promise to abide by the rules of the game, which require me to give the benefit of the doubt to my opponent. At all times I shall strive to compete with the true spirit of sportsmanship, recognizing that my behavior on the court is a direct reflection of my character. Whether my matches end with my victory or defeat, I promise to conduct myself in a way that honors my opponents, those who support me, and the game of tennis.