17 Tennis Etiquette Rules For Players and Spectators

Tennis Etiquette
Tennis etiquette for players and spectators includes respecting opponents, not distracting other players, keeping quiet during play, and being courteous. Players should also shake hands at the end of a match, avoid gamesmanship, and dress appropriately. Spectators should refrain from shouting and moving during play.

11 Tennis Etiquette Rules For Players

1. Turn Off Cell Phone 

Being sidetracked in the middle of a point when you’re trying to be competitive and focused is one of the most annoying things for a tennis player.

If you bring your cell phone to the tennis court, turn off the ringer or put it on silent mode.

2. Warmups Are Not For Practice

The primary purpose of a warm-up is to increase blood flow and raise the body’s temperature to reduce the risk of injury and improve performance.

According to International Tennis Federation (ITF) official rules, warmups should last at least five minutes.

3. Warmup Serves

Illustration of tennis player serving
Illustration of tennis player serving

Warmup serves involve serving the ball gently and slowly to increase blood flow to your muscles, loosen up the joints, and improve reaction time.

They are used to help you get into the game’s rhythm and improve your accuracy and control.

4. Visual And Verbal Distractions

In tennis, players must observe proper etiquette, including avoiding visual and verbal distractions that could affect their opponents’ play. Here are some guidelines to follow:

Visual Distractions:

  • Avoid moving or walking around during points. 
  • Do not stare or glare at your opponent during points. This can be intimidating.
  • Avoid using your mobile phone during the match.

Verbal Distractions:

  • Do not talk or shout (even at your racquet) during points.
  • Avoid making noise or grunting when hitting the tennis ball. Loud noises can distract your opponent and may be considered unsportsmanlike conduct.
  • Do not use offensive or abusive language, as this disrespects your opponent and may result in a penalty.

5. Line Call Manners

  • Be honest: Always make the call you believe is accurate, even if it goes against your interests.
  • Be timely: Make the call as soon as the ball lands on your side of the court, without hesitation, to avoid giving your opponent any reason to question your call.
  • Be clear: Make a loud call so your opponent can hear you. If your opponent questions your call, repeat it clearly and confidently.
  • Be respectful: Whether you’re making a call or questioning a call made by your opponent, always be respectful. 
  • Admit your mistakes: If you realize you made a mistake, correct your call immediately and apologize to your opponent. 
  • Use technology: If available, use technology such as Hawk-Eye to make accurate calls. However, if technology is unavailable, rely on your judgment and integrity.

6. Remove The Balls

Removing the ball from the court shows respect toward your opponent and the game. When a ball rolls onto the court during a point, it can distract you and affect the outcome of a point. 

7. Target Open Court, Not The Opponent 

By hitting the open spaces, you give your opponent a fair chance to make a play on the ball rather than putting them in a dangerous or uncomfortable position. 

Targeting the open court can lead to longer rallies and more exciting points, making the game more enjoyable for players and spectators.

8. Calling Out Scores

  • Wait for the server to call the score: In tennis, the server is responsible for calling out the score before each point. 
  • Be clear: When calling out the score, use clear and concise language so your opponent can understand you. 
  • Repeat the score: After the server calls out the score, repeat it to confirm that you heard it correctly. 
  • Call out the score loudly: When calling out the score, ensure you’re loud enough for your opponent and any spectators to hear. 
  • Break in play: If you need to call out the score during a point, wait for a break in play. 
  • Be honest: Be honest when calling out the score. It’s essential to maintain good sportsmanship and play the game with integrity. 

9. Waving During Mishits

When you unintentionally mishit the ball, it may harm your opponent or disrupt the normal flow of the game.

In such instances, wave your hand to acknowledge your mistake and apologize to your opponent.

10. Humble Celebrations

If you’ve won a tennis tournament, it’s fine to celebrate and feel proud of your achievement, but it’s important to do so humbly and respectfully.

Be gracious and thank them for the match by shaking hands.

11. Hand Shakes

tennis players shaking hands
Tennis players shaking hands post match

Shake hands with your opponent after the match. It’s customary to shake hands with your opponent and acknowledge their efforts.

6 Tennis Etiquette Rules For Spectators

1. Dress Appropriately

If you want to make a good impression, wear appropriate attire for Wimbledon or the club where you are spectating, and keep your appearance neat.

Dressing appropriately demonstrates respect for your team.

2. Snacks And Drinks 

You can bring food and beverages but don’t do it in a hard-sided cooler. You may bring alcohol, but it’s limited to one bottle of wine, champagne, or two cans of beer or mixed drinks per person.

Keep it formal, or they’ll ask you to leave.

3. Be Silent During A Point

Tennis requires a high level of concentration and focus from the players, and any noise or distractions from the audience can disrupt their performance.

Ultimately, the goal is to create a respectful and supportive environment for the players while allowing them to perform at their best.

4. Cheering

spectators cheering in tennis game
Spectator cheering for their team

While applauding or cheering your team after winning a point is acceptable, do so respectfully and not excessively.

5. Don’t Abuse Players

It is not acceptable to verbally or physically abuse players. Remember that players are often under great pressure and do their best to perform to the best of their ability. 

It’s good etiquette to positively show your support and enthusiasm, such as cheering them on and encouraging them. 

6. Loo Breaks 

Spectators at a tennis match can take bathroom breaks during changeovers or between sets. Players switch sides at the end of the first game, so you’re free to take a break. 

However, it’s important to remember that leaving the court during a match can be disruptive to the players and the other spectators. Plan breaks accordingly and try to minimize the number of trips to the bathroom.

Also Check: 13 Concert Etiquette Rules

What Is The Proper Way To Handle A Ball That Hits your Foot?

  • If the ball hits your leg, but you cannot make a play on it, the point is considered over, and your opponent wins.
  • If the ball hits your leg and you could have made a play on it, you would lose the point, and the point would be awarded to your opponent.
  • If the ball hits your leg unintentionally, the play would continue, and the point will continue as normal.

What Are The Unwritten Rules Of Tennis?

  1. Respect the opponent: A good tennis game involves skill, technique, and strategy. 
  2. Observe etiquette on the court: Tennis has its own set of etiquette that players and spectators should follow.
  3. Control emotions: Tennis can be a highly emotional game, and players should always maintain composure. 
  4. Take care of the court: Players should be careful not to damage the court during play. 
  5. Be fair and honest: Tennis is a game of integrity; players should play fairly and honestly. 


Tabitha is a curious and enthusiastic writer who believes in the power of words and the importance of good manners. Etiquette is her passion, and she enjoys sharing her knowledge with others. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her family.

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