Beginning a set
1. When you arrive for club session a set should begin as soon as there are four players available and irrespective of the state of play on other courts. Players should not choose to wait for another game to finish or a particular player to become available to start their first set of the session.
2. When guests attend a club session they are very warmly welcomed and are included in selection on an equal basis to club members.
3. Players arriving late should please stretch whilst waiting to go on court and have a concise on-court warm up to minimise delay for other players.
4. When there are more than four players available to start a new set, cards are cut to decide who plays, with the highest cards staying on court (players should take a set of cards out to court and return it to the clubhouse at the end of the session). Pairs are decided either by common sense e.g. to create evenly matched pairs or by cutting cards.
When players are waiting off court
5. If the score reaches deuce, play a sudden death point.
6. The first to six games wins the set.
7. Waiting players resume play on a longest wait first return basis, regardless of how many sets/games they have played.
8. Screaming, swearing or shouting regularly or loudly is likely to cause interference to play on nearby courts and will be considered unsportsmanlike conduct.
9. Constant overt celebration directed at an opponent may be considered intimidation, and will be considered unsportsmanlike conduct.
10. Players should not enlist the aid of spectators in making line calls, attempting to determine the score or other on-court matters.
11. Wait until a point is over before walking behind a court where a match is in progress.
12. To retrieve a ball from another court, or to return a ball to another court, do not disrupt their play - wait until the players have completed a point or game.
If a player is unhappy with another player’s actions, he/she should discuss it calmly on court. Alternatively, he/she can contact the chair or vice-chair in confidence at firstname.lastname@example.org to voice a concern. Unsportsmanlike conduct will be reviewed by the committee and, if considered severe or repetitive, could result in withdrawal of club membership.
General rules of play
1. If in doubt players must give the benefit of doubt to their opponent, in particular regarding line calls. If a ball is not called out, it is considered in.
2. Each player is responsible for all calls on his/her side of the net.
3. When returning service, the partner of the receiver should generally call the service line. The receiver should generally call the centre and side service lines. The call needs to be loud enough to stop their opponents playing.
4. All "out" or "fault" calls should be made promptly after the ball has bounced and must be loud enough for the opponent to hear.
5. If a player incorrectly calls a ball "out" and then realises that the ball was good, the point should be replayed.
6. A service let may be called by any player/team.
7. The receiver should play to the reasonable pace of the server.
8. To avoid controversy over the score, the server should announce the game score before starting a game and the point score prior to serving for each point, and must be loud enough for his/her opponent to hear.
9. If players cannot agree on the score, they should calmly discuss the points/games that are disputed. All points or games which the players agree on stand and only those in dispute should be re-played. Where there is a score dispute, a player must make a reasonable effort to remember the actual score i.e. points/games played.
10. When a player has created an involuntary hindrance (ball falling out of pocket, hat falling off, etc.), the first time a let should be called. Any similar hindrance thereafter will be ruled deliberate and will result in the loss of a point.
11. Where a ball from another court interrupts play, either by rolling/bouncing onto the court and/or creating a visible interruption behind the court, a let should be played. Any player can call a let in these circumstances provided they do so in a timely manner. Where this is between a 1st and 2nd serve, the first serve should be re-played.
12. In a situation where a ball is lying on the court at the commencement of the point (1st or 2nd serve) it will be deemed to be part of the court during the rally. Movement of this ball during the rally does not constitute hindrance.
13. Players are entitled to request that their opponents remove any balls from the court prior to the commencement of the point.
14. All balls on your side of the net are your responsibility to pick up and return directly to the server at a time that does not interrupt the rhythm of the server.
15. The receiver should not return the first service if it is an obvious fault - let it go by or ground it.