1) Playing Formats - Updated 10/19/20
1a) Competitive Format (2 out of 3 sets)
TennisHouston uses the best two out of three 6-game pro sets with ads. If a set goes to 6-6 a first to 7-point tie breaker should be used to determine the winner of the set. The tie breaker format should be used for all three sets. Preferred Playoffs and Tourney format if time is not an issue.
1b) 2 sets with 3rd set tie breaker
If the match is tied at 1 set apiece and the match is running too long, the players can agree to play a 10-point super tie breaker to decide the match.
1c) 10 game pro set
If the players agree before the match or you are limited to 1-hour of court time. This means the first to win 10 games. But, if the match is ended because of a time restriction than the score at the conclusion is the score for the match. At 9-9, a best to 7-point tie breaker will be used to determine the winner. This format is played with ads.
For any match to count in the standings at least 1 6-game pro set will have needed to be completed.
1d) Fast Tennis - 4 game pro sets
This comes by many names: NextGen Format is one of them. This format keeps even a full match to no more than 1 hour and 30 minutes. First to 4 games, 3 set format with No ad scoring. Play 7 point tie-breakers at 3-3. At deuce the next point is a golden point with the receiver having a choice of side.
Tennis League Network has been using this format since the 2018 National Championship and it has been a raving success. Fast Tennis has several tension points in comparison to a 10 game pro set which if you go down 6-0, it's nearly impossible to come back. Basically all 3 sets can be contested, leading to a lot of important points throughout the shorter format. Of course a 4-0, 4-0 double bagel could end super quick. Maybe that's a good thing.
1e) Handicap Scoring
In a nutshell it’s a leveling system to help two players of known different levels to have a competitive match. Read More here
2) Tennis Balls
Each player is required to bring a new can of tennis balls to every match. The winning player will take home the unopened can. The other player can take home the used balls. We need to be informed by the players when this rule isn't being followed. Players not following this rule will first be warned and upon the second time they will receive a playing strike towards the leagues 3 strike policy.
3) Honor System
Line calls must be made without delay by the side playing the ball; otherwise, the ball shall be presumed to have been good. In general, no ball can be called out upon less than 100% certainty. The best approach on a call that both players disagree on is to replay the point.
4) Changing court ends
Participants must change court ends after an odd number of games have been played.
5) Choosing court location
The league wants players to choose a location to play that is convenient for both players. We have the best list of tennis courts with player submitted ratings to help with determining where to play. Definitely look at locations with a ton of matches played to know if it's a good location to meet at.
6) Abiding by the rules of the court at which you are playing. Added 8/18/09
Players need to follow the rules of the courts they are playing at. Participating in a TennisHouston matchup doesn't give you privileges to break the rules of the local court. If we receive word that players are improperly using the TennisHouston name in such cases it will lead to immediate removal from the league.
7) Reporting Scores
All scores shall be reported by the winning player using the website developed for the league. If an issue shall arise reporting the score please send an email to email@example.com.
League Only Rule: We now allow players to play a 3rd match against each other if the first 2 match results are split between the players. We will be checking for a 3rd win against an opponent and not allow it to be recorded. We still want players to meet up with as many new partners as they possibly can during the regular season.
8a) If the season is 10 weeks or 63 days long we will allow for a 3rd win to be entered into the standings.
9) Qualifying for the Playoffs
A player who gets 'X' of wins criteria defined by the league during the season will qualify for the playoffs. With 'X' being the win total on the division report. It is usually 5 wins for Male Divisions and 4 wins for Female Divisions. It could be different for each division in a season. No-show wins will count towards the 5 wins to qualify for the playoffs. Qualifiers will be bracketed against the other qualifiers from the same level. Players need to be around for the first 2 weeks of the playoffs to qualify for the playoffs.
9a) New players need to play 6 matches before they are playoff eligible - Updated 4/3/19
A new player will now need to play 6 different opponents before they are playoff eligible. Even if the playoff criteria is 3 wins / 4 matches played or 2 wins / 3 matches played they will need to play at least 6 matches to be entered into their first playoff draw. This rule is only for Singles leagues and not doubles leagues. At 6 matches Tennis League Network is near 95% certain the new player will be in the right playoff level.
10) Playoff Positioning, Tie-Breakers
Regular season ties are broken by this order:
10a) Overall Record, based on matches over .500. So 6-1 is 5 matches, 8-2 is 6 matches and would be better.
10b) In Season Head-to-Head record for players tied at #1
10c) We want to promote players playing matches, so 6-1 would be better than 5-0.
10d) Percentage of games won
11) Home Court and Surface Type for Playoff Matches - Updated 11/22/12
The higher seeded player gets home court and choice of playing surface for their playoff matches. But, just like the regular season we want players to try to choose a location that works for both participants.
12) Enforcing Playoff Deadlines - Updated 3/29/13
Here's the rule that will define what happens when a playoff deadline is missed:
12a) If the deadline passes and neither player reported back to the league both players will be defaulted and the next round opponent will be moved on in the playoffs. If it's a finals match and the players don't report back there won't be a champion crowned for the season.
12b) If the deadline passes and we heard back from either player then the least available player will need to default the match.
12c) If a player/team cancels a scheduled playoff/tournament match then they default the playoff/tournament match. It's not the other player/team requirement to find another time to play the match or to allow the match to be rescheduled, unless they are gracious enough to do so. Please note that if rescheduled, the match must be played on or before the deadline.
12d) Any unfinished playoff match that isn't complete by the deadline will be recorded as complete at the score the match was stopped at. The winner will be determined by adding up the game score with the player who has won more games.
13) Player Disqualification - Updated 10/21/18
Based on complaints to the organization, Tennis League Network reserves the right to:
13a) Place any player who has violated the standards of good conduct, abuse of tennis club cancellation policy, abuse of league administrators, fair play and/or good sportsmanship on probation for an indefinite period. League fee will not be reimbursement in such player disqualifications.
13b) Ban any player from the league indefinitely.
13c) Any player found submitting a fake win for whatever reason will be banned from the program.
13d) Any player found to completely under-rate their true ability. The league reserves the right to adjust playoff results and prize pool based upon findings that a player found in default of rule 13d.
14) Canceling a scheduled tennis match
A participant is required to make phone calls and send emails to cancel a tennis match. The league is not responsible for canceling matches for players. YOU NEED TO REACH THE PLAYER TO LET THEM KNOW, so to avoid a potential no-show situation. If the player doesn't try all forms of communication to cancel a match a strike will be applied to the offending player.
Any matches canceled through the hours of 12:01AM to 7AM do not count for the 4 hour cancellation window.
15) Withdrawals from league
A participant who withdraws from the league due to injury or time constraints is required to make the administrator aware of the withdrawal. This player will either be removed from the website or receive the '**' Out for the Season flag. The player will not be reimbursed the league fee.
16) Lack of Payment rule
No player shall receive the contact information of other opponents in his/her projected league until they have made payment to the administrator. If a player has started in a league w/o payment, TennisHouston reserves the right to replace that player at any time with a player who has paid League fees.
17) Match Play Official Defaults
A player who is found in violation of any of these will be ruled in default.
17a) For TennisNewYork.com Participants: Late Arrival Penalty
Playing in NYC is especially tough because of the lack of courts and very tough rules such that in most locations if one of you is 5 mins late you lose the court.
This is the new late arrival rule in NYC:
1). If you lose a court because one player shows up 5 mins late that can be submitted as a no-show.
2). If you do not lose the court and only have an hour to play. The warm-up needs to be extremely minimal (5 mins). And the person who is late starts off:
- Down 0-1 for 5 mins late
- Down 0-2 for 10 mins late
- Down 0-3 for 15 mins late
- More than 20 minutes late it's a no-show.
17b) 20-Minute Late Rule without notification: Failure to appear on the court within 20 minutes of the starting time without notification.
17c) 30-Minute Late Rule WITH notification: Failure to appear on the court within 30 minutes of the starting time with notification.
17d) Injury or Walk-off: Matches not completed due to an opponent's injury or quitting before match completion shall award the win to the remaining or non-injured player. Final score will be the final score before the injury or walk-off.
17e) Equipment failure: Should an item of a player's equipment fail for any reason (broken racquet string, sole of shoe comes apart, etc.), and that player cannot continue with the match, the player needs to retire and the score is deemed final with the other player being credited the win.
The league does not give default wins for a match where two players just couldn't get on the courts and play.
18) Non-playing rule
TennisHouston reserves the right to remove a player if they haven't played a match during the season. The finals match needs to be played within 1 month of the last semi-finals match for the free season to be awarded.
19) Resolving on Court Conflicts
All matches that are reported back to the league with an on court conflict will be put on a 24 hour time clock to allow for cooler heads to prevail. If the conflict is reported over the weekend it will be resolved on the next non-holiday workday.
20) No-shows and Late Cancellations, 3-strike policy, updated 11/18/12
Late cancellation within 4 hours of the match: Players now get a 0-0 win for the non-offending player and 1 strike will be recorded to the player canceling within the 4 hour time period. Only exempt reason is rain/wet playing surface. Please refer to rule #14 for cancellation policy
No-show or canceling within 1 hour of the match: If a player doesn't show up to a match without trying to call and send an email, 2 strikes will be recorded against the offending player. If the player contests the 2 strikes, they can appeal and potentially have it decrease to 1 strike. The match will be recorded as a 0-0 win for the non-offending player and the league suggests the players not reschedule the match.
A player who gets canceled within one hour of the match is requested to submit a no-show.
The player left waiting at the courts needs to wait at least 20 minutes before submitting a no-show.
The player who did not show up for the match needs to reimburse any court fees or parking fees before they will be allowed to continue playing.
A player may receive strikes for poor sportsmanship. If a player attains 3 strikes in a calendar year, they will be removed from the current season and they need to take the following season off. This player's league fee will not be reimbursed.
21) Court Fees need to be reimbursed upon No-show.
If a player no-shows to a match and a court fee was paid for the court, the player who no-shows will be retired from the season until the court cost is reimbursed.
22) Reasonable Expectation a result will be recorded - Updated 10/16/20
When two players meetup to play a regular season match it is reasonable to believe a final result is expected that day. In some cases we've had instances where a match is near complete and for some reason (lights going out, someone needs to leave, weather or other) a player is requesting to meet up at a later date to finish the match. When a disagreement arises . . .
This rule here is that the league is stating in most instances this is a final result at the time play stopped. It is not reasonable for a player to be forced to meet up again to finish a near completed match.
If the players are playing 2 out of 3 sets then the total game score should be counted and the player with more games will be determined the winner. If they are playing a 10 game pro set then the score is final. If the game score is tied then the match will be submitted as a tie.
Our league allows rematches between players so that alone reduces the stress of this rule adversely affecting a player. If a player is found to abuse this rule for their advantage they will be issued a non-sportsmanlike playing strike.
The match needs to have at least 1 completed set to be eligible for this rule.
23) Your registration fee does not include the right to play in the playoffs.
The entry fee is for the regular season. The playoffs are for players that qualify and will be around to participate within the deadlines established by the league.
24) 1/3 credit for Season/League referral, 1/4 credit for Tennis Partner referral
Anybody that refers a tennis friend that joins a league will get 1/3 off their next season.
If they refer a friend that joins a paid version of the tennis partner program, they will get a 1/5 off their next season.
If the player only joins to be part of a doubles team the referrer gets a 1/5 credit off their next season.
A referral is only counted once at the highest referral credit they reach.
25) To get credit for a Referral bonus
The proper method to getting a referral bonus is to have the NEW member go to the join page and put the referred player in the "How did you find out about Referral" field. If this doesn't happen upon initially signing up then a referral bonus can't be credited to the member.The referred player needs to play a full season without dropping out due to injury or by the Lack of Participation rule. Doubles partner don't count towards the referral bonus. No Double discounts are given.
26) Gift Card Expiring
Gift Cards issued by Tennis League Network has a 1 year expiration date set. Players will not be re-issued a gift card that has gone past this 1 year expiration.
27) Purity of Competition Rule Updated 2/25/19
TennisHouston reserves the right to move a player up or down a level in a season based on how they performed in the previous season or
during the current season.
A player CAN get promoted several ways. (Doesn't mean they will get promoted) 1) By making the finals of their division's playoffs. Unless they make the finals with a losing record during the season they will not be promotion eligible. 2) A player can also be moved up or down during the season based on how they have performed during matches in the season.
If a player plays in several matches where the score is 12-4 or less/better they will be reviewed for promotion/demotion. The league reserves this right to promote/demote a player in season. 3) Teaching pros, tennis professionals or even high level college players will be allowed to participate in the league/season but if their level is determined to be superior to the base of the current community they will not be allowed to participate in the playoffs.
28) League record stays with player throughout the season
If a player is promoted or moved down during the season their record will not be reset. This gives the player the chance to qualify for the new skill levels playoffs.
29) New players and players who haven't played in 3 more years
In the larger cities, new players or players who haven't played in 3 years ratings will be adjusted down a rating. This adjustment has proven essential to maintain the proper rating categories. The league will manage the rating after several matches and move players up or down based upon the submitted results.
TennisHouston offers a "no questions asked" money back guarantee for up to 7 days after the league's start date.
If you signed up for the tennis partner program it would be 1-week from your payment day or start of the program.
If we can't get you at least 6 tennis partners we will also reimburse your money.
The 7-day money back guarantee refund policy isn't valid after the kickoff of the tournament.
The league is all about players getting out there and playing during the regular season.
If a player plays 8 matches in a season not including the playoffs, they will get 8% off their next season.
If a player plays 12 matches in a season not including the playoffs, they will get 15% off their next season.
If a player plays 16 matches in a season not including the playoffs, they will get 25% off their next season.
If a player plays 20 matches in a season not including the playoffs, their next season is free.
We are now automatically applying this discount on the player's shopping cart.
No-shows don't count as a match played for this discount. Non-League matches also don't count. Only the most recent season is valid for the discount. The referral discount will override this discount, meaning no double discounts. Results after the season end date do NOT count towards the calculation for the free season.
32) Splitting of all Court fees
The majority of all matches are played on courts freely available in town. But in the cases where the match is played at a pay facility the players are expected to split all fees including SPLITTING the GUEST FEE.
33) Refund Policy - Updated 10/25/19
If TennisHouston can't provide the service or doesn't provide a quality service a full refund will be provided to the participant. If the player requests a refund the league reserves the right to provide a refund minus the credit card processing fees charged by the credit card processing company. This fee can be anywhere from 79 cents to $2.50+.
34) Coaching - Updated 4/12/23
Coaching is prohibited during tennis matches. Friends of players should not involve themselves during the match either unless requested to by both players. This is a recreational adult league and we don't need the other player to feel uncomfortable.