Columbus USTA Tennis League Rules 2023-2024 Fall & Winter Indoor Season



Fall & Winter Indoor Seasons 

(Summer Rules Exist Separately)

August, 2023


  • All players participating in the USTA League agree to abide by the Friend at Court – The USTA Handbook of Tennis Rules and Regulations, including The Code; the USTA League Regulations; USTA/Midwest Section Standing Orders, and their respective District, and local, USTA League rules and the standards of good conduct, fair play and good sportsmanship.
  • TennisLink is the official system for registering teams and players for the USTA League. A player’s name must be listed on the team roster, as shown in TennisLink, prior to the scheduled match time to be eligible to play in a match.
  • A player must be 18 prior to registering and playing in a USTA Adult League match.
  • A player is only eligible to play on one team per NTRP level per USTA league season, unless they are playing in both the Daytime and Career leagues.
  • Lineups are to be turned in at the desk 5 minutes prior to the scheduled match time
    1. lineup sheets are cut in half
  • When spinning for serve, players should agree to use the clock closest to their court, if one isn’t available, the players can agree to use a specific player’s cell phone
  • The following penalties begin at the scheduled match time (not after the warm up)
    1. 5 minutes or less: loss of toss plus 1 game
    2. 5:01 to 10 minutes: loss of toss plus 2 games
    3. 10:01 to 15 minutes: loss of toss plus 3 games
    4. More than 15 minutes after scheduled match start time, match default
    5. If 1st singles is defaulted, please record the 2nd singles match as the 1st singles court and default the 2nd singles
  • No Breaks Rule: No breaks/rest until the third game of the set and no breaks/rest during any Tiebreak. For doubles, there will also be no breaks/rest between the 2nd and 3rd
    1. Players are allowed to get a quick drink/towel off during a non-break but play should be continuous and players should change ends without a break/rest until the third game, between the 2nd and 3rd sets and always during Tiebreaks.
    2. A break is defined as the 90 seconds allowed on changeovers and the 120 seconds allowed between sets.
  • Scores should be agreed upon by all players and written based on winning player’s score
    1. Scores are not written based on the side of the scoresheet for winning player
    2. The winner of the match should be circled
  • No coaching or intentional distractions by coaches, employees, or spectators are allowed.
  • Captains and co-captains are the only ones who can give rules during matches and only if solicited. Do not ask for rule assistance from coaches or club personnel.
  • The official league season will be broken into two sessions for each level, Early Start Fall and Winter, with the winners of each season qualifying for progression to the District Championships.
  • If the same team wins both season it must choose one season and the other season will be represented by second place.
  • A player is eligible to progress to a local flight playoff or to District Championships if the player has played on the same team in at least two matches during its local league season. A maximum of one default received by the player during local league competition shall count for advancing.  A retired match shall count toward advancing for all players involved.
  • Scheduling will be based on total number of home and away matches for each team and the difference must not exceed more than two matches (unless a team shares their home time with more than one team). Head to head home and away matches vs. a particular team must not exceed a difference of more than two matches (unless a team shares their home time with more than one team).
  • If a division has a bye in the schedule and has too many teams to complete the round robin, the league may be split into flights.
  • A $250 fine will be assessed to any club dropping a team from any league once the schedule has been finalized ($250 per occurrence).
  • League registration is open until 14 days before the last team match is scheduled. Registration can be opened, for computer rated players, by contacting OVTA District League Coordinator (DLC)
  • The Local League Coordinator will not make any changes to the schedule other than to correct scheduling errors.
  • If players qualify for an advanced championship and have a local league match scheduled that conflicts with the post season, the Captain can request the match be rescheduled if the team has either 3 qualified players, for 4 and 5 court leagues, or 2 qualified players for a 3 court league.
  • A request to reschedule Spring Break matches (mid-March to mid-April) must be made, in writing, to your club representative, no later than February 15th.
    1. Please understand, matches are very difficult to reschedule and the expectation is the team doesn’t have enough players for a legal match. Every effort will be made between club representatives to accommodate these requests. All reschedule requests should be handled between club representatives.
    2. However, it may still be that only the minimum number of courts required to make a legal match will be rescheduled and the requesting team may still be forced to default courts.
    3. It is possible matches may have to be played on different days/at different times/at different clubs.
    4. Captains and players should be reasonable and not abuse this option.
    5. Captains being asked to accommodate a rescheduling request should be flexible and reasonable.
    6. Finally, it’s possible some rescheduling requests may not be able to be accommodated. This rule merely allows the request to be made but doesn’t guarantee a full match rescheduled, at an optimal time, as there are only so many weeks in a local league schedule.
  • Schedule changes made by either the LLC or agreed upon by both teams, must be emailed to the DLC so TennisLink can be updated.
  • New balls will be used for all matches and should be turned in to the host club after use.
  • Prior to the scheduled match time, Captains should give at least a two-hour notice when defaulting courts. Captains should keep their contact information up to date on TennisLink to assist with necessary communication. If a captain or team representative cannot be reached and confirmation from the captain or acting captain has not been received 2 hours prior to the match start time, the defaulting team should contact the club of their opponent for assistance in notifying the captain/team of the default.
  • When defaulting courts, teams have the option of defaulting the lowest singles court or 3rd doubles court.
    1. It is allowable to default both singles courts.
    2. If a player fails to show for a match, a substitute may be inserted, if present and properly rostered, at the time of the match.
    3. If a player fails to show on 1st or 2nd doubles, a substitute may be inserted in the open spot and all other courts must remain unchanged.
    4. If a substitute is not available for doubles, 3rd doubles will be defaulted and the other courts will move up, with partnerships remaining intact, lineups are not otherwise changed.
    5. If a doubles player is late, matches should not start until the default is known, because, the default has to be the lowest court, and, again, all players move up, with partnerships remaining intact
  • Each team must have the minimum number of players available to play the majority of individual matches. If one team does not have the minimum number of players, the opposing team will be credited with a total team default, and will win each individual match 6-0, 6-0. No further penalties will be imposed.  No further action will be taken. If the final league standings are affected by a team winning a match by total team default, the Local League Coordinators may remove all match results from the defaulting team for the season.
  • Both Captains, or designated team representatives, must sign the score sheet at the conclusion of the match and take a copy or picture of the scoresheet in case there is a disagreement.
  • Both Captains are responsible for entering the match score within 48 hours of the scheduled match time.
  • Captains are encouraged to check scores online and confirm within 48 hours of being reported.
  • Do NOT hit Dispute on TennisLink for any reason other than to request a score correction.

*Then, use Score Dispute procedure on Page 4

  • In the event of inclement weather, Captains should contact their club representative.
  • Players cannot be moved to a team/league outside of the current Championship year
    1. OVTA is not able to issue refunds for registration fees.
    2. Contact the Local League Coordinator via email with your team transfer request. Players can only be transferred off of a roster if they have not played a match or been granted a default for a team.
  • A number of clubs in our league have D-4 Alcohol permits and the only consumption allowed by law would be alcohol purchased at the club, therefore alcohol cannot be brought into the clubs for consumption from outside sources.
  • If the format for league play is 3, 4 or 5 courts, the league winner will be determined by:
    1. The team with the most team wins (overall win/loss record).
    2. The team with the most individual matches won
    3. Head to Head,
    4. The team with the fewest sets lost,
    5. The team with the fewest games lost
    6. Finally, by the flip of a coin.
  • Any player listed on the line-up sheet for a match may play “fun sets” on any of the designated match courts with any other players or players listed on the lineup sheet if time allows.



  • Warm up time for Singles is 10 minutes, including serves.
  • Play a one-hour 9-game, pro-set, with no-ad scoring, and a 9-point Tiebreak, if necessary.
  • If the match is not completed with exactly 10 minutes left to play, complete the game in progress, the following then applies:
    • If there is a difference of 2 games or more, the match is over.
    • If there is a one game difference, play one more game for the win or the tie.
    • If the match is then tied, a 9-point Tiebreak will be played for the win.
    • If the match is tied (at 10 minutes left when checking the clock,) a 9-point Tiebreak must be played, to completion,to determine the winner (even if time has expired). The Tiebreak does NOT end at an hour.
    • Please see No Breaks Rule, #8 above, as we need to finish on time if possible.
  • 9-point Tiebreak, players do not change ends of the court and the Tiebreak is defined as the first to 5 points, winning by only 1 point. The next server, serves 2 points, and the players alternate serving every two points (again, not switching ends of the court-no breaks) until one player reaches 5 points. Please note, it’s possible the final service could include one player serving 3 points.
  • If the pro-set is tied at 8 games, a 9-point Tiebreak will determine the winner (first player to win five points).
  • Singles pro-set scores should be written on the scoresheet, in boxes closest to player’s name, then converted, using Columbus Singles Conversion Chart
  • Singles scores are always entered into TennisLink as Completed Match (not Timed Match).



  • Warm up time for Doubles is 15 minutes, including serves.
  • Play regular scoring
    • the best 2 of 3 sets,
    • If either set is tied, 6-6, play a Set Tiebreak, first team to 7 points, winning by 2 points
    • If sets are split, 3rd set will be a Match TieBreak, first team to 10 points, winning by 2 points,
    • ALL Tie Breaks in Doubles, use the Coman rotation, serve one point and switch ends of court, then serve twice, starting from Ad side, next player serves twice, starting from Ad side, switch ends of the court, continue serving 2 points and switching every 4 points
    • Please see No Breaks Rule, #8 above.
  • If a second set cannot be completed with exactly 20 minutes left to play, complete the game in progress, the following then applies:
    • If there is a difference of 2 games or more the set is over. If the result is split sets, play a Match Tiebreak (10-point).
    • If there is a difference of one game, play one more game for the win or the tie.
    • If the set is tied, play a Set Tiebreak for the set. If the result is split sets, play a Match Tiebreak to determine the winner.
  • If a third set Match Tiebreak is not completed at the designated ending time (2 hours after scheduled match time), the following applies:
    • The team that is ahead in the tiebreak wins, even if only up by 1 point.
    • If the tiebreak score is tied, the next point (played in rotation) wins.


Score Disputes:

Please note, score disputes are not necessarily the same as a grievance. Captains/Players should NOT hit the Dispute button on TennisLink for any reason other than to start the process to correct a score entry error on TennisLink. If an error is found, the Captain/Player is to hit Dispute (only available up to 48 hours after scores have been reported on TennisLink) and then contact the Local League Coordinator for assistance with the correction.

A captain/player can request a score correction after 48 hours but must do so directly with the LLC.  In both cases, the burden of proof is on the Captain/Player who Disputes the score, so be prepared to provide a score sheet and/or email communication between the affected players proving the requested correction.

Captains/Players are NEVER to use the Dispute process on TennisLink to report any alleged rule violation, etiquette issue or questions of sportsmanship, those matters are Local Grievances and need to be handled through that process. The OVTA DLC will clear such Disputes on TennisLink and refer the Captain/Player to the LLC for resolution if the Dispute button is used incorrectly.





In accordance with the USTA League Regulations, local grievances must also be:

  • filed, in writing, by a Captain and include a $50 filing fee that is returned if the grievance is upheld.
  • by emailing a completed Grievance Form**, to the Local League Coordinator,
  • prior to the commencement of whichever comes first:
    • the involved team’s next scheduled match, whether or not the involved player participates, or
    • within 24 hours after the end of the local league season,

Please review USTA League Regulations for further information regarding the grievance procedure and/or contact the LLC or DLC.

**When using the form, it is acceptable to attach a separate document for the Description of Grievance as the PDF form is limited and likely to cut off included information.



Grievance Committee:

Laura Ellis, Heath Elliott, Wendy Gibbons, Jim Hendrix, Kim Hilborn, Lisa Sagar, Allyson Porshinsky, Anne Hunnell

Grievance Appeals Committee:

Beth Fitzgerald, Keith Haigh, Michelle Jarrett, Paul Kobelt, Guy Parks, Pablo Russo, Kelly Story

Grievance Committee Members are subject to change. For each grievance, 3 members are appointed by Local League Coordinators, and from those, the LLC designates a Committee Chair.


  • An NTRP Grievance will claim that the player committed or condoned obtaining a Self-Rate which is at a lower NTRP level but has demonstrated the ability to compete at a higher NTRP level.
  • NTRP Grievances require a $100 filing fee that is returned if the grievance is upheld. All NTRP Grievances are handled by the Midwest Section NTRP Grievance Committee.
  • All NTRP Grievances shall be sent to OVTA DLC via email.
  • NTRP Grievances are not processed until the filing fee has been paid online.
  • Please contact OVTA DLC via email,, for NTRP grievance guidelines, forms, and payment process, or use the links below for this information