Return to Play Guidelines: Tournament Directors and Staff

January 07, 2021

In accordance with the latest rules and government regulations, the USTA Eastern section has created additional guidelines and recommendations to help parents, players and other spectators prepare for competitive play.   


The section recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected different parts of the section in different ways and with different timing. Therefore, governmental restrictions placed upon players may vary by localities, cities and states. The additional guidelines below delineate specific health and safety measures for those participating in or administering a USTA Eastern tournament or Junior Circuit event.


We know many play tennis to stay mentally and physically fit and active. Luckily, the sport is a natural social-distancing activity that limits close person-to-person contact. But the section needs your help to ensure play stays safe and healthy. Please keep up-to-date with evolving federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations regarding COVID-19. USTA Eastern will make every effort to revise its own guidelines based upon the most current updates. 


To review the most recent state and federal information, please visit the following links: 



  • If you are exhibiting any symptoms of the coronavirus. According to the CDC, people with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported—ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus: fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell.
  • If you have been in contact with someone with known or suspected COVID-19 in the last 14 days. 

For non-sanctioned tournaments listed on USTA digital platforms all of the below are strongly recommended but not required. 


Under the current conditions, we ask that tournament directors focus primarily on helping players ease into competition safely. We have created a full menu of new tournament pathways with tournament formats that abide by government regulations and social distancing recommendations. As restrictions are eased, new formats of competition will be offered.


Printable PDF Checklist


Tournament Director and Court Monitor Recommendations


  • Tournament Directors shall communicate with players and parents via email and tournament website.

  • Tournament Directors should ensure that facility guidelines are posted on the tournament homepage.


  • Use alternate scoring formats and stagger the match times to decrease the amount of time a player is on-site.

  • Use alternate match courts when possible to implement social distancing.

  • Use USTA Officials when possible to assist with your event.

  • Organizers must determine the permissible size of events at their facilities given local and state restrictions. They must adhere to that regulation when determining draw sizes and the number of spectators, and when generally managing numbers on site at all times. Draw sizes and match formats shall be confirmed with USTA Eastern Section staff.


  • All tournament directors, officials and court monitors should wear masks and gloves. 

  • Staff should wash hands (and/or wear gloves) often and after touching items.

  • Recommend only one or no parent/guardian accompany younger children to the facility when possible.

  • Place two sanitized clipboards with paper on each court for scorekeeping 

  • One can of balls should be open and left on each court.


  • Players should not enter the facility before their match unless they need to use the bathroom.

  • Players should bring their own water bottles, towel, masks, gloves or any other personal equipment and store them inside their tennis bag when not in use.

  • Players should use headbands, hats and wristbands to avoid touching their faces during play. 

  • Players are responsible for bringing their own sharpie or magic marker to keep the score.  

  • Players should set up on one side of the court and switch sides on that side of the court only.

  • Players should maintain physical distance during the racquet spin at the start of a match.

  • Players should clearly verbalize the score at the start of each point.

  • Players should not touch the balls during the games their opponents are serving. They can use their racquet to send the ball to their opponent. 

  • When playing doubles, players should maintain proper physical distance.

  • Trophies should be left on the court. As an alternative, e-gift cards could be awarded.   

  • If there is a dispute, players should look out for the tournament director. 

  • Offer an acknowledgment such as a nod, a thumbs up or a “good match” instead of shaking players’ hands.

  • Once the match is completed, the winner will email the tournament director the final score. 

  • Players should discard the tournament balls and the gloves used during the match.

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