Zero Tolerance Policy
January 3, 2020
USTA Heart of America has adopted a new zero tolerance policy in regards to sportsmanship by players, parents, coaches, spectators, and others involved.
The policy includes the following oath for all players:
"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."
The policy also states the following standards given to spectators:
Spectators include parents, other family members, coaches and friends of players, and other tournament guests.ADVERTISEMENT
Spectators must adhere to the principles of good sportsmanship and fair play that include:
• Setting a positive example for players.
• Treating fellow spectators, officials, players and tournament staff with respect.
• Emphasizing the importance of fair play and good sportsmanship to the players with whom they associate.
• Cheering respectfully for winners and good points, not errors and double faults.
• Allowing players to work out on-court disputes
Misconduct by players is governed by the Point Penalty System that assesses point, game and default penalties for misconduct. This zero tolerance policy is official notice of a warning that is typically given before penalties are assessed. Players will no longer be given warnings, but will be assessed penalties under the Point Penalty System on the first occurrence of misconduct.
In junior tournaments, misconduct results in the assessment of suspension points under the USTA Junior Suspension Point System. This includes the assessment of suspension points for conduct on and off the court and conduct by persons associated with the player such as family members, friends, and coaches.
Misconduct also includes withdrawals from a tournament for reasons other than illness, injury or personal circumstance that are not excused. Regardless of whether a withdrawal is excused, the timing of a withdrawal can have a significant negative impact on the players and tournament administration. Part of a player’s oath to conduct themselves in a way that honors their opponents and the game of tennis is to abide by the concurrent tournament rule, only withdraw when it is absolutely necessary, and to give immediate notice of a withdrawal to the Tournament Director and Referee.
Unsportsmanlike behavior by a spectator is prohibited. This includes any attempt by a spectator to challenge an official’s judgment regarding a line call or other ruling during or after a match.
Umpire/Spectator communication about a ruling is prohibited while a match is in progress. Being a parent, coach, or other spectator does not endow special privileges. With the only exception of the right to remove one’s child from competition at any time, a parent or coach is merely a spectator.
The referee (or in the absence of the referee, the site director) is vested with the authority to:
• Determine unsportsmanlike spectator behavior; and
• Impose spectator removal, except that a facility always has the authority to remove a person from the premises.
Unsportsmanlike interaction may also result in suspension of the spectator’s right to attend or play in USTA Heart of America tournaments for a period to be determined by the USTA Heart of America Sportsmanship Committee. Any actionable enforcement of said policy will be recorded and submitted to the Heart of America Grievance Committee.