4 March

Winner takes it all!

Pic: Rafa Nadal wins his third Mexican Open title/Abierto Mexicano de Tenis Telcel

How do you become a Local Tennis Leagues winner? How do we choose the group champ, do you get a prize and what happens next? We go behind the scenes to reveal all.

There was celebration in the air as we arrived in Mallorca this week. Rafa had done it again, chalking up his third Mexican Open title and adding the 85th singles title of his career. As we watched the final on the Academy's big screen (it seemed to be on a loop!) it got us thinking about our own winners. Time, to reveal all and answer your questions...

How do I win the league?

Each round of each league has as many winners as there are groups. Top your group and you are the champ!

Ok, so how do I win the group? Is it a knock out?

No, it's not a knock draw like Wimbledon where you make your way to a grand final. Each of our groups are "round robins", like the early stages of the Nitto ATP Finals. The winner of the group is the player who accrues the most points.

How do you win points?

Win matches and you'll quickly pick up points. Players actually earn points for each set won, so even a loss in three sets can help your points tally and unfinished matches contribute too. In addition, there are two bonus points to recognise efficient scheduling. Complete three matches by the mid point of the round and you earn two bonus points and sometimes they can make all the difference.

What happens if players tie on points?

Ideally the head-to-head prevails, that is the player who beat the other tied player wins the group. But sometimes there are multiple ties or the players didn't actually meet in the round. In that case, there is a defined set of tie-break rules and you can find these on the Rules and Regs page. (It gets a bit complicated, but the principle is to eliminate players in the tied set of players one by one according to rules that attempt to put the emphasis on on-court achievements.)

Whose "decision is final?"

That will be us! Ultimately Sally and Nigel who own and manage Local Tennis Leagues with the help of the admin team. But all decisions are made according to the published rules. At the end of each round, the team reviews each group, confirms the winner and the runner up and writes the winner report - each group gets its own commentary, plus a "match of the group" and a "match commentary of the group" is chosen as well. The report is emailed to all the players in the round and published to the website.

What do players win?

Players receive a coupon for £20 to spend on the Local Tennis League site. It can be used to pay for the next round, or any future round that is advertised, or, for instance, to purchase tennis balls and LTL shirts. The coupons do expire after 28 days, partly as we want to encourage players to sign up for the next round, and partly, like any organisation where every penny counts, we need to manage extended credit liabilities! (We do have one prize exception. In Highbury north London, our home league just metres from our HQ, each winner in doubles or singles receives a bottle of Champagne, picked up from us, instead of a coupon. It is a bit of a tradition and a way for us to meet players.)

Anything else?

It's the kudos that really matters and seeing your name on the archived round pages is a little like having your name on the roll of honour at Wimbledon! But players also receive an online winner's certificate that can be located on the "Your Winner's Certificates" tab of your account page.

And then it is up to you to spread the word and boast of your achievements!