20 September 2019

Walkovers, your need to knows!

When is a walkover not a walkover and what does it mean any way? Below is the discussion we published in July 2018 but to find out more aobut why getting walkovers right is important we spoke to LTL founder, Sally Kinnes.

Sally KinnesWith new players joining the leagues all the time making sure everyone understands the procedures and rules is a constant task. "We are lucky," says Sally, "tennis is a rule-based sport, and the basic rules are well understood and respected. But any tournament you enter will have its own rules and procedures too and we are no different. Just try wearing multi-coloured tennis kit at Wimbledon! Of all our rules, the walkover seems to be the one that catches some players out."

A walkover is given in two circumstances only:

  • If a match has been firmly set up but is cancelled with less than 24 hours notice
  • If a player is more than 30 minutes late 

"The leagues are all about getting matches set up and played," says Sally.

"That's why we reward good scheduling with bonus points - good scheduling means more matches. Generally if a match isn't played then it is just that, a match not played. But we recognise, and this very much follows what the players have told us, that there has to be a mechanism to discourage disruptive, late-in-the-day cancellations. And that is why we have the walkover rule."

So why is it controversial? "I think players get frustrated when they can't get matches set up and played, I know I do! So in some players' minds, there is somethng that says I deserve this match, I've tried really hard to set it up, it wasn't my fault it wasn't played so I'm going to call it as walkover. Occasionally another player may even offer the walkover as they know they have made a mess of scheduling a match. But that is against the rules."

Sally believes it is the rules that makes tennis work and 99% of players totally agree. "The walkover rule is just like any other rule, it must be respected, applied consistently and upheld. If we find players deliberately breaking this or any other rule, they will be suspended!"

If an unplayed match does qualify as a walkover, players should enter it into the site and tick the confirmation box (this is a prompt to players to ask themselves if it does qualify) and add the full details in the private commentary field. If the details don't say when the time and date the match was arranged and when it was cancelled, it will almost certainly be challenged by the admin team.

"We do understand the frustrations, but dealing with incorrect walkover submissions is time consuming for our team. We rely on players helping us uphold the rules. And that also means if you think a walkover has been wrongly submitted you should let us know."

Walkovers, your questions answered


What is a walkover?

If a match has been firmly set up but cancelled with less than 24 hours notice or if a player is more than 30 minutes late for an arranged match with no explanation during that time, it may be claimed as a walkover win. That means the player who cancels the matches is the loser and his or her opponent the winner.

I won love and love, isn't that a walkover?

No! That's a whitewash - and not a term we use! A walkover is a match that doesn't take place at all!

What's the point of a walkover?

Walkovers are not about apportioning blame. Often there are very good reasons a match can't take place. Rather, the walkover rule is designed to help the smooth running of the league, to encourage respectful scheduling and provide a way forward when a match has been cancelled at short notice leaving little opportunity for the opponent to set up another. 

How many points do I get for a walkover win?

A walkover win generates two points. But note, if you are playing in one of the short-format leagues where both players get a point for completing the match, you don't receive the extra point!

I won my match by a walkover. Do I get my bonus points?

Sorry, no. Matches have to be played and completed to qualify for bonus points. Practically, if we were to give bonus points for walkovers we might end up encouraging walkovers, and as we are all about getting matches played that would rather defeat the point!

My opponent can't play and has told me to enter it as a walkover. Is that OK?

Sorry, no. A match has to have been firmly set up etc etc - players are absolutely not allowed to concede matches or offer opponents the points.

My opponent never gets back to me. Shall I just enter that as a walkover?

No - please don't. We will help you chase up players and get matches set up and played, but for a walkover to occur the strict conditions of being a match firmly set up but cancelled at short notice (see above) must be observed.

I let my opponent know with 25 hours by WhatsApp that I couldn't make the match. NoW she's claiming a walkover because I didn't turn up. That's not fair is it? I can send you screen shots AND a signed affidavit 

Frustrating I can see, but hold off on the documentary evidence for now. If you are cancelling a firmly set up match, you have an obligation to make sure your message has been received and understood. Our team will do its best to make the fairest decision, but it is likely that the walkover will be upheld.

How do I claim a walkover?

Enter the "result" through the site in the normal way with a note in the private commentary field for us. The note should make it clear that the non-match meets the walkover conditions. If you don't make it clear, the result will be rejected while we wait for more information.

Who pays for the courts when a walkover occurs?

Often the player who has caused the walkover will want to pay for the court. However, the minimum requirement is that cost of the court should be shared (this reflects the fact that you were both responsible for the booking). If you decide to play the match at a subsequent date, we suggest that the original booking is paid for by the player who cancelled, and the subsequent court costs shared. 

I should have recorded a walkover, but we agreed to play at a later date. Now my opponent can't play. Can I retrospectively claim the walkover?

This can be one of the most controversial areas. To be fair to all players who need to know where they stand in the group, we suggest players post walkovers they are entitled to even if they hope subsequently to play the match. Of course we would prefer the match to be played and we will usually swap the walkover for the results of the match played. (If a match recorded as a walkover is subsequently played, we reserve the right to decide whether or not to accept the result because a last minute rescheduling may be deemed to disadvantage other players in the group. If in any doubt, check with us.)

Similarly, we will not necessarily award walkovers retrospectively, so the onus is on you to let us know at the time.

I've enjoyed this chat. Where can I read even more about walkovers?

Yes, we have enjoyed it too but then we lead a quiet life. How about heading across to Rules and Regs!