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USTA rules govern play except areas where the rules below state otherwise.
USTA rules.pdf


There are three rankings to track. The primary is the Tour Rank (average of points and ladder rankings), P-Rank (points based), and L-Rank (ladder based).

The primary Tour Rank is based on the average of P-Rank (points based) and L-Rank (ladder rank). If players have the same average ranking then the ladder ranking is used as the tie breaker.

The benefits of the combination ranking system is that players now have two ways to improve their rankings. They can play and defeat players with higher L-Ranking or they can find new players or lower L-Ranked players with high point values. Players can now move up the rankings by gaining points by defeating lower ranked players. This should encourage more activity.

The drawback of the previous ladder only ranking system is that top players could lock in their ranking by only defeating low ranked players they knew they could beat and avoiding potential legitimate challengers.

The drawback of a points only system is that the ranking would move all over the place for much of the season and there would be no benefit for returning players that earned their higher rankings.

Combining the two systems should encourage players to play lower ranked legitimate challengers because they will have high points and the rankings will be more consistent because of the tie to the ladder rankings. Also legitimate challengers can move up quickly by beating strong players.

The L-Rank (ladder rank) is a simple ladder type ranking where you move up the ladder rankings by beating a player above you and drop one spot if you lose to a player below you. No ladder rank change occurs if you beat a lower ladder ranked player. This was the only ranking used prior to 2010..

Players are given a ladder ranking based on the previous season. New players are placed at the bottom of the ladder ranking in the order that they sign up.

There is a maximum number of ladder positions players can move up with each win depending on the month. Note that you may challenge anyone on the ladder, no matter how high.

First Month-Move up a maximum 30% of the ladder rankings with each win
Second Month-Move up a maximum 20% of the rankings with each win
Third Month-Playoffs, move up a maximum 15% of the rankings
Note:the maximum is always at least 5 spots.

Challengers take the rank of the defender if their challenge is successful and if the defender was within the maximum number of positions or less above them.

If the defender is higher than the maximum allowed then the challenger will move up the ladder the maximum amount.

If you are challenged and lose you move down one spot regardless of the challenger's rank.

No ranking change occurs if a challenge is unsuccessful.

P-Rank (points ranking) is based on the Elo ranking system.

The factors taken into consideration when calculating a player's new point rating are:

  • The player's current points
  • The number of sets and percentage games won
  • The result of the match
  • The expected result of the match
  • The current ladder ranking

The new points are based on the following formulae:

Rn = Ro + KG(WWe)


P = KG(WWe)


Rn = The new player total points
Ro = The old player total points
K = Weight index regarding current ladder ranking
G = A number related to sets won and % games won.
W = The result of the match
We = The expected result
P = Points Change

G - Bonus for strength of win

If match goes 3 sets then G = 1, regardless of number of games won.

If it's a straight set win:

G=2 if percentage games won is over 80%

G=1.5 if percentage games won is between 70-80%

Otherwise G =1.25 for a straight set win

K - Weight of win, related to current ladder ranking

K player =( rank player/total players)*20+10)

This results in lower ladder ranked players changing more points with each win/loss compared to higher ranked players. The rationale is that higher L-ranked players have played more and should have a more accurate ranking. Losses to a low ladder ranked player will result in a smaller point loss for the high ranked player compared to the higher point gain for the lower ranked player with the win.

Result of match

W is the result of the game (1 for a win and 0 for a loss).

Expected result of match

We is the expected result from the following formula:

W_e = \frac{1}{10^{-dr/400} + 1}

where dr equals the difference in points. So dr of 0 gives 0.5, of 120 gives 0.666 to the higher ranked team and 0.334 to the lower, and of 800 gives 0.99 to the higher ranked team and 0.01 to the lower.

All players start out with 1000 points. So at the beginning of the season everyone is ranked No. 1 with regards to points.

Two Week Rule - applies only to L-Rank (Ladder Ranking)
It is to your benefit to play matches within the two week periods. The two week periods run from the beginning of the month to the 15th and from the 16th to the end of the month.

At the end of every two week period (end of play on the 15th, and the last day of the month), starting from the bottom, players that have played a match are moved up the ladder until they bump into another a player that has played a match. Then the player that was bumped into is moved up the ladder until that player bumps into another player that played a match. You can move up the ladder very quickly simply by playing matches regardless of whether you win or lose.

After players are moved up the ladder, the same process is used to move players that haven't played down the ladder, starting from the top. So, If you haven't played a match during the two week time period you will be moved down the ladder an unlimited number of positions until you bump into someone else that hasn't played. Then that person will be moved down until they bump into someone.

If no one players during the two week period, the person that challenges the most people with be moved to No. 1.

Players may challenge anyone on the ladder, regardless of tier.
A player issues a challenge by phone or email.

You may not challenge the same player within a two week period, unless you have challenged someone else after your first challenge.

A player issued a direct challenge must respond within one week of receiving the challenge with a time and location that he/she is able to play. Failure to reply to challenge will result in a three position rankings drop penalty.

You may log your challenge emails with the Tour by cc: challenge@tennistour.org

It is courteous to respond to match scheduler requests but not required.

Etiquette Rules
The lower ranked player provides a new can of balls.

Challenger attempts to play at the higher ranking player's location.

Report un sportsmanlike conduct to the tour.
This includes:

Match no-show
Arguing your line calls
Blatant repeated line calling errors
Inappropriate language
Racket abuse

Two complaints from two separate individuals results in a warning. Three complaints from separate individuals will result in your removal from the league.

You may be removed at anytime for any reason

Changing Match Scheduling
If you change an agreed to match time or cancel a match you must get confirmation from your opponent. This will likely require a phone call.

A default results in the defaulted player moving down one spot.

Defaults can result if a player is over 15 minutes late for a match or if a player cancels a match less than 24 hours prior to match time.

The Puget Sound Tennis Tour reserves the right to remove any participant from the league at any time, move a player into a different division, or reject a match result or score, all without reimbursement.

Line Calling
For many this is the first time playing organized competitive tennis. Here is a summary of how players should call lines without an umpire:

Players call balls only on their side of the court

Players on the opposite side of the court may ask for verification on a call but they can not argue the call beyond that.

A ball must be 100% outside of the lines to be out. If a ball barely hits the edge of the line then it is considered 100% in. Basically, if you can not see space between the ball and the line then you should call it in. Try to give the benefit of the doubt. If everyone does this, the calls will even out and it will help avoid arguments.

Reporting Scores
Winning players must report scores on the web site within three days of match play.

Match Rules

2 out of 3 sets, ad scoring, with 12 point tie break if needed.

A shorter length match may be played if both players agree.

Default request can be made if opponent is 15 minutes late.

A match that has begun must be continued until completion unless agreed to by both players.

Either player may stop a match for safety reasons such as darkness or weather.

The player that is unable to complete the match is defaulted unless the match suspension is agreed upon by both players.

Vacation or Injury
You can notify the Tour Director that you will be away on vacation or out with injury

-unavail will be added to your city name.

Your only penalty for not playing is the standard two week rule that applies to everyone.

Notify the Tour Directory when you are ready to resume Tour matches.

Doubles Teams - Subs

Players signup with one other player. Teams may use up to 2 subs during the challenge period to make setting up matches easier.. Teams must list the sub player in the match result comments and post a message to their own team page listing the name of the player used. You may also use subs during the playoffs provided they were used during the regular challenge period. Subs must be at a level within the level of that division. All players may only play on one team within the division, including subs.


Final Tournament in Masters Cup Format
The final tournament is optional. Draws are based on Tour Rankings

  • Regular length Tour matches
  • Draws are posted on the web site
  • Players have one week to set up and play their matches
  • Everyone is eligible to play
  • Brackets set up for each eight person Tier. (Place yourself into the top eight rankings for a shot at the championship)
  • Draws are set up in Masters Cup format with everyone playing three round robin matches. Then the top two out of each section move on to the semi-finals.
  • The winner of each tier takes over the top ranking for that tier.


Setting up Playoff Matches (new for Summer 2010 session)
Setting up matches

Within 1 day of the playoffs being posted or within one day after the prior match deadline, both players must post three potential times to play on the opponents message board that meet the schedule.

Players review potential times and agree to play at a time and location convenient to both players within two days.

If there are no matching times then lower seeded player chooses one of the three times proposed by the higher seeded player.

If the lower seeded player is unable to select a time then the higher seeded player may choose a time proposed by the lower seeded player. If he is unable to select a time then he must propose another potential playing time.

If both players can not choose a time that fits within the schedule for that match then it is responsibility for the lower seeded player to find a time that works prior to the last round robin match deadline.

If one player fails to provide match times per above then the other player will be considered to win by default

Tie Breakers to move on into the Semis:
(If everyone plays the same number of matches)
1st- head to head
2nd- % sets won
3rd- % games won

If players within a group are unable to play same number of matches then a point system will be used
1 point win
.4 point for a match played and lost
.4 point for a default win
0 point for a default loss

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