What Is Code Violation In Tennis?

What Is A Code Violation In Tennis

In addition to the rules of the game, there is a code of conduct that tennis players must follow, ensuring that they serve as good role models and protecting the integrity of the sport. When a tennis player fails to follow this code of conduct, they may commit a code violation. Keep reading to find out what code violations are in tennis, what happens when they are committed, and how to avoid them.

Tennis Code Violations

A code violation in tennis is an action on a tennis court that is related to negative behavior by a player. Code violations are given out by referees for breaking the code of conduct by which all players must abide. There are four questions that a chair umpire has to ask themselves in order to determine if an action is a code violation or not. If any one of the criteria is met, the chair umpire has grounds to punish a player for a code violation.

Criteria for a Code Violation

There are four potential criteria for a code violation in tennis:

  • Is the player’s action dangerous to any person on or around the court?
  • Is the player’s action abusive toward any person on or around the court?
  • Is the player’s action unreasonably delaying the match?
  • Is the player’s action unsportsmanlike conduct?

Result of a Code Violation

If the chair umpire determines a code violation has been committed, there is a set procedure for punishments. First, the umpire will usually give a warning to a player. After the warning, if another code violation occurs, the player will receive a point penalty. After that point penalty, the player will be penalized a game if another code violation occurs.

Code Violation Controversy

Code violations are decided at the discretion of the chair umpire and are a source of controversy because of how vague the criteria are for this rule. The most famous example of this was the 2018 US Open Women’s final, where Serena Williams was given a point penalty and then a game penalty for code violation by chair umpire Carlos Ramos. The warning was given for coaching, the point penalty was given for smashing her racket, and the game penalty for “verbal abuse.” Many argued that what Williams said was not abusive and, in fact, was less abusive than past angry comments by other players. The incident even called into question the code violation system as a whole.


How do code violations work in tennis?

In tennis, code violations punish dangerous or unsporting conduct by awarding points or games to the opponent of the offender. Every tennis league has a code of conduct that players must follow. If the chair umpire determines a code violation has been committed, they will first issue a warning. The second and third infractions will be punished by the loss of a point and the loss of a game, respectively.