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USTA Pacific Northwest | March 17, 2018
Resolving On-Court Disputes in Unofficiated Matches
All USTA Local League matches are unofficiated and 99% of them have little or no conflicts. However, there is occasionally a situation where players simply do not know a rule or are conflicted on a rule. So, what should you do?
If all players on a court honestly do not know a rule or what to do in a certain situation, it is ok to stop play and seek help from captains, someone who may be a certified USTA official, or a teaching pro. In this situation though, it's important that all players agree to ask for help. Just to clarify, this is not an opportunity for someone to make a line-call or correct a call (i.e. was that in or out?) as this would violate The Code #16 which says spectators never make calls. Calls should never be made by spectators, but it is ok to get rule clarifications.ADVERTISEMENT
Spectators who may overhear a dispute on court should never insert themselves into the match unless the players request help, unless there is abusive conduct or physical violence
If the players simply disagree on a rule and both are adamant they are correct, it is always best to refer to the Friend at Court or USTA League Regulations to help resolve the dispute. It is highly recommended that all players have the Friend at Court and USTA League Regulations bookmarked on their phone so they can quickly be accessed. While cellular devices are normally not allowed during a match, it is reasonable to make an exception to look up a rule during a dispute in an unofficiated match. Once the rule is confirmed, the phones should go back in the tennis bag.
Here are links to the Friend at Court and USTA League Regulations.
If you have an “Ask Adam” regulation question or FAQ that you would like answered, please e-mail it to Adam at email@example.com.