Ladder Rules




(aka The NetCoord's Guide to Better Tennis Today!)


General Information:

1. The Austin Tennis Net (ATN) administers a singles ladder and a doubles ladder for the Austin, Texas area. The ladders are broken up into rungs. A rung typically consists of three players, but may contain more depending on the number of players for the round.

2. Each player in the rung will be assigned two matches within a round. A round will last for three weeks, starting on a Monday and ending on a Sunday. New and returning players may be challenged and have a 3rd match to play (see Challenging Players for more information).

3. The Net Coordinator (aka NetCoord) will post the ladder pairings on the first day of the round. Each player is responsible for checking the web site for their match information, for contacting the other players in their rung, and reporting/verifying the match result before 10pm on the last day of the round. Players should ensure that their contact information is correct as most communication is done through email. A phone number is required in the event of difficult communication or the need to cancel a match.

4. Contact with your opponents should be done in a timely manner. Matches should be set up at the beginning of the round. Poor communication or not responding to emails may result in a default and being removed from the next round. The actual date, time, and location of the match should be determined by the players. Please refer to the Contacting Players section for more information.

5. New players, those returning after a break from the ladder, or players advancing more than two rungs may be challenged. Those players are marked with an ‘N’ on the ladder listing. Please refer to the Challenging Players section for more information.

6. There is no rule 6!

7. Based on the results, you may advance up in the ladder, move down, or stay. Players and teams that forfeit both matches may be removed as well. See the Ladder Advancement section for more information.

8. The ITF Rules of Tennis, The Code of Tennis, and the USTA Regulations shall apply unless otherwise noted.

9. A player available for less than half the round may be subject to forfeiting their match if the match is not played.

Join ATN:

ATN welcomes all players that play by the Rules of Tennis and The Code of Tennis to particpate. Members need to be responsive and set up their matches and not be a pain, especially to the NetCoord.

To join ATN, click on 'contact us' and send an email request. You may also click on the 'join ATN' link from the Log In Page.

Previous members of ATN can re-activate their account by clicking on the 'join ATN' link as well, or by sending us an email via the 'contact us' link.

An email will be sent with login information. Once you login the ATN waiver/agreement will appear. Enter your emergency contact information and check the box to accept the agreement/waiver. Once the waiver is accepted you will need to update your personal information. Required fields are marked with an *.


Ladder Signup & Withdrawal:

Singles Ladder: To signup for the next Singles Ladder Round, click on the 'Singles Ladder' menu and then the 'change singles status' link. You should be placed on the 'New/Returning Players' list and receive an email confirmation.

To play a match before the next round begins, click on the 'extra matches' link and sign up. The 'extra matches' link is for those singles ladder players that have scheduled their regular matches and are looking to play an extra match for the round. Contact a player on the list if you are interested in playing.

Doubles Ladder: To signup for the next Doubles Ladder Round, click on the 'Doubles Ladder' menu and then the 'add team for next round' link. Choose your partner from the list of players and add your team. You should be placed on the 'new/returning team' list and receive an email confirmation.

A Doubles Team should have a point of contact for setting up the matches. When contacting other teams the point of contact should speak for the team and NOT an individual player.

Ladder Withdrawal: It is up to each player to sign up or withdraw from the ladders depending on their availability. If you are available only a few days for a round you should withdraw and rejoin when your schedule frees up. Failure to withdraw will most likely incite the wrath of the NetCoord.

Singles Ladder: From the 'Singles Ladder' menu click on the 'change singles status' link. Check the box to withdraw (and enter in any notes) and then submit. You should be placed on the 'withdrawing players' list and receive an email confirmation.

Doubles Ladder: From the 'Doubles Ladder' menu click on the 'withdraw team for next round' link. Check the box to withdraw for your team (and enter in any notes) and then submit. You should be placed on the 'withdrawing team' list. An email confirmation is currently not sent.


Ladder Placement:

Initial placement is determined by your reported playing level. Subsequent placement in the ladder is determined by match results. The results from the individual rung are viewed as a whole, and not on an individual player versus player basis. This means you may end up beating one of your opponents and losing to the other, with the one you beat moving up and you moving down. The results from both matches determine the placement for the next round, based on:

1) Most match wins.
2) Best set won/lost percentage.
3) Best game won/lost percentage.
4) Toss of coin.

A forfeited match should show the reason for the forfeit. The player receiving the forfeit should be credited with a set won so indicate the match winner. For placement purposes, a forfeit win counts as one game won (1-0) while a forfeit loss counts as 12 games lost (0-6, 0-6). Forfeits with no winner and matches not reported count against both players.

A player/team that wins both matches by receiving a forfeit and not by playing will probably not move up for the next round – you need to actually play and win to advance.

Results from partial matches will be used when a match can not finish. The person ahead in the set will win the set. Matches played at a tennis center, where you have a limited amount of time, should finish if another court is available (you should plan on playing for at least two hours). Matches that can not finish on the original day can be scheduled to complete on another day if both players are able to. Because there is a limited amount of time for each round and matches are scheduled in advance, finishing a match at a later date is not always practical.

Special Advancement:

A player may be advanced multiple rungs should both their regular matches be 'non-competitive'. A competitive match is one where both players win more than 4 games (i.e. 6-2, 6-2 would be non-competitive). When both matches in a round are non-competitive, the player may be advanced or demoted more than one rung. The goal is to have fun, competitive matches. Players advancing more than two rungs are subject to being challenged.

Placement Errors:

Any errors in placement should be reported within 24 hours of the new ladder being prepared.  No changes to the ladder will be made after 24 hours. If you win both matches and are not moved up, ask!!!


My Matches:

To view your assigned matches, click on 'my matches'. Those matches assigned to you from the singles ladder and doubles ladder will appear. Singles Ladder matches will display first, with the dates for the current round. Doubles Ladder matches are displayed next by rung. Matches for players on two doubles teams will be grouped together by rung. The links available from 'my matches' include:

1) Click on the match number to update the match status or results.
2) Click on the player name to view the contact information.
3) Click on the letter icon to send an email to the player.
4) Click on the tennis raquet icon to view the match history of your opponent. 5) Click on the letter icon below your matches to email all players in your rung. to view the match history of your opponent.


Contacting Players:

The 3/2 Rule: Once the new round is prepared, players should contact their opponents and set up the matches. Initial contact should be made within 3 days of the start of the round with a response required within 2 days with either a confirmation date or dates the player is available. Should 2 days pass with no reply, a 'no response' should be entered with a set awarded to the player attempting to set up the match. The offending player will then have 24 hours to respond and set up the match. Players should provide a valid email address and make sure ATN emails do not go to their spam folder. A player with a "no response" will be removed for the next round. If you are going to participate in the ladder, you should respond to emails.

SETTING UP THE MATCH :The Austin Tennis Net includes players from all over the Austin area. The match location is decided by those playing, though they should be willing to compromise and play at a tennis center (Caswell, Pharr, Austin Tennis Center, or South Austin Tennis Center) or other court within that general area if necessary. Preferences such as court location and time or days should be included in the email correspondence. As a last resort Caswell or Pharr should be used if an agreement can't be reached. If an agreement can not be reached, the NetCoord shall decide where the match is to be played.

Matches may be played at tennis clubs. Visitors should not be required to pay a fee to play.

After setting up the match, update the match record by clicking on 'my matches' and then the match number. Choose the match date, time, match status, and location from the drop down lists. A 'notes' field is provided to include notes concerning the match. Clicking on 'update match status info' will save the info and send an email to the players.


Playing the Match:

Each match should be best 2 out of 3 sets. A tiebreaker shall decide all sets tied at 6-6, unless previously agreed to by both players.  The 3rd set should be played out, with a tiebreaker at 6 games apiece. A regular tiebreaker is preferred (switch every 6 points), but a Coman tiebreaker may be played if everyone agrees.

Alternative scoring methods are acceptable in the event a match needs to be shortened, provided that both players agree (i.e. lighting, time constraints, people waiting for a court, etc). Alternative methods include playing an 18-point tiebreaker (first to ten points, winning by two), no-ad scoring, or short sets where you start at 2-2.  The goal is to play tennis, and hopefully the matches are competitive as well.

The ITF Rules of Tennis, The Code of Tennis, and the USTA Regulations shall apply unless otherwise noted.

Matches should begin no later than 15 minutes after the scheduled time. The on-time player may impose USTA Regulation time penalties for late players. The late player may also be subject to Penalties. Two forfeits in a round will result in removal from the ladder.

Each player will provide a new can of balls during the round. The can should have a ‘USTA approved’ label on it. The web site will display the players responsible for providing balls. The challenger will provide the balls for a challenge match.


Reporting Scores:

The reporting of scores is very important! It makes it very difficult to know just exactly whom to move up and not. The basic rule of reporting match scores is that it is up to each player or team to enter or verify the scores. When a match result is entered an email is sent to both players/teams. If you don't receive an email, the match hasn't been reported!

A match can be either played or forfeited. A match not reported counts as a forfeit for both players.

Played Matches

The reporting of scores consists of:

1) entering the match info - date/time/location/status
2) entering the match result - score/forfeit winner

Once a match is set up, enter in the date, time, and location for the match. The match status should reflect the current status of the match. Use 'scheduled' once the match is arranged and 'court reserved' once the court is actually reserved. An email will be sent out to all players when the information is saved.

Once a match has been played, verify the date/time/location are correct and change the match status to 'played' (or an appropriate status) and save the information. The match results page will then be displayed. Enter in the games won by each player for each set. Once submitted a page is displayed with the results to be verified. Once the results are verified an email is sent to all players so that they can verify the results.

A played match includes matches that are started. There are four type of played matches:

1) Played. Report match as outlined above.
2) Played - out of time. Use this status if you run out of time. Partial results count.
3) Played - rained out. Use this status if your match was started and then cancelled due to weather.
4) Played - retired. Use this status if a player retires during the match. Enter the score up to the point of retirement as well as the number of sets won to show who won the match.

Forfeited Matches

A forfeited match can be due to illness, injury, incompatible schedules, or the weather. A large number of forfeits may result in penalties being applied.

To report a forfeit, go to the match record and update the date reported & match status. To indicate the forfeit winner, enter in one set on the match results screen.

Forfeits can be broken down to major and minor forfeits.

Major Forfeits:

1) No Response - Failure to respond to an email in a timely manner.
2) No Show - Failure to show up for a scheduled match.
3) Poor Communication - Mostly unresponsive in setting up match.
4) Late Withdrawal - A player needs to withdraw after a new round is prepared.

A match resulting in a 'no response' or 'no show' may result in the offending player being removed from the ladder for the next round.

Minor Forfeits:

1) Cancelled - when a match is scheduled and then cancelled shortly before match time.
2) Emergency - use when a match is cancelled because of a family emergency.
3) Unavailable - use when one of the players has very limited availability.
4) Unable to Schedule - use this when both players are available but the schedules don't mesh up.

To indicate who won a forfeited match, enter in one set won for the winning player.
Players with two forfeit losses in a round will be removed from the ladder for the next round.

Other Forfeits:

1) Injured - for a player injured and unable to play. An injured player should withdraw and rejoin once healthy.
2) Illness - for a player ill and unable to play a scheduled match.
3) Weather - can include matches rained out, very cold, or extreme winds. A match cancelled due to weather should be confirmed by all players.

To indicate who won a forfeited match, enter in one set won for the winning player.
Players with two forfeit losses in a round will be removed from the ladder for the next round.

CANCELLATIONS: Cancellations made within 72 hours of the match should be confirmed. If an email is sent out, a response should be received. Otherwise a phone call should be made to ensure that the other party knows about the cancellation. Email is handy in setting up these matches, but can not always be relied upon when you have to cancel. A cancellation within 24 hours will result in an automatic forfeit of the match. You may request to reschedule the match, but given the time constraints it will rest on the person receiving the forfeit to decide on rescheduling.

FORFEITS: A player that does not play both matches (i.e. thru forfeit or match not reported) in a round will be removed from the ladder for the following round. Players that request reinstatement and are approved will be added back to the ladder, with a demotion of at least two rungs (one for losing both matches and one as a penalty).


Penalties are assessed based on the severity of the offense:

First incident: a warning and/or demotion and/or suspension for two rounds.
Second incident: demotion and/or suspension for up to 6 months.
Third incident: removal from the ladder.

Demotions in ladder placement may vary from 5% to 15% of ladder placement.

An appeal to the ‘RPG Committee’ may be made if there are extenuating circumstances. The Rules, Punishment, and Guideance Committee is made up of nine ladder players that have played on the ladder for more than one year and are deemed to be a nice guy or gal. They are chosen for a term of six months. Their purpose is to act as a judge for matters that require impartiality and to advise the NetCoord as needed. The decision made by each member is their own, and not subject to coercion or the wrath of the NetCoord.



New players, those players returning after a break, and players advanced more than two rungs are susceptible to being challenged. The 'ladder listing' shows the placements for the round. Players with an ‘N’ in the rung column can be challenged. Special rules include:

A player can only be challenged once a round.
You may challenge players from 3 to 15 rungs above you.
The Challenge Link will become active on the 4th day of the round.
Challenges may be made up to three days before the end of the round.
Challenges are on a first come, first served basis.
The challenger supplies the can of tennis balls.
The challenged player should offer a choice of courts to play the challenge match.

To issue a challenge, click on the 'Issue Challenge' link from the Singles menu. The players that you can challenge will pop up.

A player that is challenged and does not play will be subject to demotion of up to 15% for the following round.

Players that are marked as being challengeable may also issue a challenge, but will need to play their other matches in order to have the results determine the next round placements.

Results from the challenge match as well as the regular matches will be used in determining placements for the next round.



The ladders and information supplied are for personal use only.  Any other use may result in warnings, removal from the group, and litigation.

All contact and personal information supplied to ATN is confidential. ATN will not loan or sell our list of members to outside groups.

The NetCoord is John Kitchens. Assitant NetCoord is Brian Bramlett. Please limit ladder questions to email. DO NOT CALL. The email address is netcoord@austintennisnet.org. The url for the web site is http://www.austintennisnet.org and will contain all information pertaining to the ladders.

ver. 2.0 - 1/24/2013




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