26 July 2019

Your guide to when and how a match may be safely suspended!

TBCs (to be continued matches) are a regular feature of Local Tennis Leagues, but what are the rules? Here's our guide to ensuring you don't inadvertently default!

Our mission at Local Tennis Leagues is to get as many friendly, competitive tennis matches played and completed as possible. To help you get a match finished, we allow matches to be played over more than one session. A match may be started on one day and finished weeks later as long as the round is still running. There are, however, a few things to consider and just occasionally a suspended match can be the subject of dispute. Here's our Q & A guide to making sure your to-be-continued tennis runs smoothly.


  • Players should agree the time available to play in each session before the session starts so there is not ambiguity about time running out.
  • Matches may be played over more than one session so long as both players agree.
  • If you can see you might run out of time, bring this up with your opponent as soon as it becomes apparent. You might decide to play a match tiebreak in lieu of a third set (but see below) or come back another time.
  • Matches should be resumed at the exact point where it was stopped, even if that is mid game.


  • Report your TBC match straight away. Points will be awarded for sets won and you won't forget the score!
  • Add a note in the commentary about whose turn it is to serve next (and even from which end!)


The courts have become slippery because of rain. Can I call a halt to the match and what happens if my opponent disagrees?

As safety comes first, either player may call a halt to the match if the conditions become unsafe (see rules and regs). The match would then be recorded as a TBC.

My opponent wants to suspend the match for another reason, but I would like to play on. What's the correct thing to do?

Assuming both players agreed how long they intended to play, players may not suspend play during that time unless both agree. In making the decision, both players have a duty to try to act as an independent referee might act and look at the circumstances. Constant interruption by children from a neighboring court might be a reasonable reason to suspend play. Wanting to catch a football match on  television would not. The decision must be made at the time.

We didn't agree how long to play for. can I suspend the match after an hour?

If no agreement was made and court time is available both players must agree to suspend play. If you stop play unilaterally at any time your opponent may claim the win by default (it would be classified as a retirement win). 

We were one set all and part way through a match tiebreak when the heavens opened. I'd like to make full use of the new court booking and play a full set. Can I insist on this?

If both players agree you may put aside the match tiebreak and play a full set. But if your opponent prefers to finish the part-played match tiebreak, this must be allowed.

The only court available to finish the match is a clay court. My opponent will only play on the court, or type of court, on which we began the match. Can I claim the match as retirement?

Ideally the match would be continued on the same surface but any court that both players agree on may be used. If players can't agree on a court, one of the default courts should be used. If players cannot agree on a court the match would remain a TBC. Players in this predicament can contact us. If we can help get the match played we will.

We are having to contine the match after the mid point of the round. Will the match still qualify for bonus points?

No. To be fair to all players we have a strict rule that to qualify for bonus points, matches must be completed by the mid point. This is to prevent players deliberately starting matches that can't be finished just to earn bonus points. 

As time was ruNning out, rather than suspend the match we completed the match IN a shortened format. This was before the mid point. why doesn't it count toward bonus points?

Local Tennis Leagues has some short-format leagues where a match tiebreak is an accepted way to finish a match. It is also allowed in all doubles leagues and in these circumstances bonus points are awarded if a match tie break is played in lieu of a third set. But in the best of three-set singles leagues, the match tiebreak is allowed on a concessionary basis only, in recognition that time sometimes runs out and this is the best way to complete the match. But players who opt to resume a match after the mid point in order to play a third set in full, consider if unfair if others get bonus points when they play a shortened third set before half way mark. Therefore matches completed with a match tiebreak before the mid point do not count toward bonus points.

I offered to contune our match at a later date as my opponent had to rush off. Now it looks as if we won't get the match completed. Can I claim the retirement win now?

Sorry, no. You must honour the agreement reached at the time.

I said I was happy to finish the match but now I'm injured. can I concede the match to my opponent?

No. Players aren't allowed to concede matches so the match would remain a TBC