Tennis Rules

Any intramural policies not mentioned here may be found in the Intramural Handbook. Unless specifically mentioned below, iIntramural play is governed by USTA tennis rules. By participating in Intramural Sports, the participant agrees to abide by all Intramural rules and policies. 

You may suffer physical and/or mental injury from participating in Intramural Sports. There are certain risks of injury that are inherent to participation in sports and recreational activities. These types of injuries may be minor or serious and may result from the actions or inactions of themselves or others. By choosing to participate in Intramural Sports, you do so at your own risk. It is understood that most activities require a certain level of fitness and health, and that each person has a different capacity for participating in these activities. Participants of Intramural Sports are highly encouraged to have a physical examination and procure health insurance prior to play. UC Campus Recreation does not provide health insurance.

Intramural Supervisors undergo concussion recognition training. In the instance a participant is exhibiting any signs or symptoms of a concussion as a result of a head injury sustained during intramural play, he or she will be removed from the activity. This individual must provide a physician’s note clearing the individual to play by a specific date. This note may be e-mailed to or faxed to 513-556-0601.


Following each game, teams will receive a sportsmanship rating between 0.0 and 4.0.


In order to qualify for playoffs, teams must obtain a 3.0 or higher sportsmanship average during the regular season based on the table below:

Sportmanship Rating
Score Player & Team Behavior  
4.0 Always respectful to officials and opposing team.
No complaining or arguing.
Does not comment about officials’ calls.
3.0 Usually respectful to officials and opposing team.
Minimal arguing or complaining about officials.
Maximum one unsportsmanlike penalty issued.
2.0 Consistent dissent or disrespect to officials/opposing team.
Consistent arguing and/or complaining about officials’ calls.
Maximum of two unsportsmanlike penalties or one ejection.
1.0 Excessive complaining, dissent or disrespect to officials/opposing team.
Contact or provocation of officials or opposing team members not inherent to the sport.
Any player involved in a fight.
Maximum of three unsportsmanlike penalties or two ejections.
0.0 Team and/or players are unsafe/out of control.
Multiple players on team fighting.
Destruction or abuse of UC property.

* A team that receives a "0" rating will be suspended from competition until its captain meets with the Assistant Director or Coordinator of Intramural Sports. The team may be removed from competition without refund.


In addition to team ratings, any unsportsmanlike actions may be forwarded to Judicial Affairs and may include but is not limited to revocation of Intramural Sports and/or Campus Recreation privileges.


To be eligible for intramural sports, each player must be a current University of Cincinnati student [enrolled in at least one (1) credit hour], faculty, or staff member. Additionally, participants must have a valid and active Campus Recreation membership.


Uptown, full-time UC students receive a Campus Recreation membership through full payment of the Campus Life Fee. All other populations will need to purchase a membership in order to be eligible to play.


Participants may participate on one (1) mixed gender and one (1) non-mixed gender (i.e. men's, women's, open, fraternity, sorority) team per sport, per season. Substituting for another team in the same league is prohibited.


Every game, each participant must check in with the intramural official with a valid Bearcat card.


Intramural particpants must additionally meet all requirements of Section 3.4:


Competitive club sport participants (in the same or similar sport) are not permitted to participate in Tennis - Singles. Tennis - Doubles teams are to one (1) competitive club sport participants (in the same or similar sport) on its roster.


Current varsity athletes and professional athletes are not allowed to play on an intramural team of the same or similar sport as their varsity sport.


Former varsity athletes must sit out 365 days from last appearing on a varsity roster to be eligible to play in the same or similar sport as their varsity sport. Teams are allowed one (1) former varsity athlete (in the same or similar sport) per Tennis - Doubles roster.


Jewelry is not allowed during intramural play. This includes earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and fitness trackers, among other things.


Medical jewelry is allowed but must be taped down with athletic tape.


Headwear is not permitted during intramural play. This includes hats and bandannas among similar items.


Athletic clothing and footwear is required. Prohibited items include but is not limited to: jeans, cargo pants/shorts, skirts, loafers, open-toed shoes, and boots.


Non-marking footwear is required to participate.


Any casts, braces, or other protective equipment must be padded and secure.


UC Intramural Sports will provide the facility and a ball. Players are required to bring their own racquets.


Prior to registration close, a team must have at least one player confirmed on its IMLeagues roster. Teams that fail to do so may not be included in the league.


Once playoffs begin, players may not be added to the roster without direct approval of the Coordinator and/or Assistant Director of Intramurals.


Teams may have up to one (1) player on its roster for Tennis - Singles and three (3) for Tennis - Doubles.


Mixed gender teams may not have more than one player of one gender on the court


Mixed gender teams must adhere to section 5.5 regardless of injury or ejection - even if it results in a short handed scenario


Teams are permitted one (1) checked-in coach on the bench. 


Teams may not substitute inside a set once a set is started [Exception: Section 6.1.1]


In the event of injury or ejection, a player may be substituted for during a set


The match shall be played best of three sets or 40 minutes, time permitting


Time limit shall be drop dead. The team with more set victories at time limit shall be declared winner


In the event that both teams are tied in set victories, the team leading in game victories within the current set will be declared the winner


In the event that both teams are still tied with the enforcement of Section 7.1.2, the teams shall finish the current game, and the match winner shall be the winner of said game


Each set shall have three games within it, with the set winner being declared as the winner of two games within said set


There shall be no timeouts during games


Teams that arrive late to games and/or are not ready with the minimum roster by start time will receive the following penalty:


1-4 minutes late = Other team begins the first game up 15-0 and has choice of first serve


5-9 minutes late = Other team begins the first game up 30-0 and has choice of first serve


10+ minutes late = Match is forfeited. 


Teams that forfeit must pay a $20 non-refundable reinstatement fee prior to the end of the regular season to be eligible for playoff consideration [Refer to Section XII of the Intramural Handbook for more information]


In order to prevent forfeits, teams may also default once per season. Teams must give a minimum 48 hour notice of default to qualify by emailing [Refer to Section XII of the Intramural Handbook for more information]


Teams must win a game by two scores in a Deuce format to be declared the game winner


There is no scoring cap to a Deuce format within a game


There is no requirement to win a set by two games


There is no requirement to win a match by two sets


The captains will hold a pre-match Rock, Paper, Scissors. The winner will determine if they want first serve or starting playing side


In playoffs, the higher seed will determine if they want first serve or starting playing side


Teams will self officiate


Should a point not be agreed upon by teams and unresolved by Intramural staff, the serve shall be replayed


Teams will alternate sides after each set. 


Teams will alternate serves after each game


The team serving game one of a set shall alternate every set


There shall be no mercy rule, however a third game will not be played within a set if one team wins the first two games. Additionally, the third set will not be played within a match if one team wins the first two sets


The winner of the match shall be required to report their score to monitoring staff. Failure to do so can result in a forfeit