RCTA Tennis Ladders

Ladder Rules and Procedures

NEW AND REPEATING PLAYERS. Any player's first challenge in a season may be anywhere on the ladder without limitation, except during play-off period prior to the season-ending ladder tournament.

CHALLENGING. (1) Players may make or accept multiple challenges, by phone or email (email is preferable); however, at least one must always be a challenge accepted from a lower ladder position. (2) At season's start, all players are allowed one free challenge anywhere on the ladder; winners move to that position; losers remain where they are. After that first challenge, players in the Top 95 rungs may challenge up to 20 ladder rungs higher, not including players who are frozen. This range may narrow as the playoffs approach, however, and when it does, the reduced range will be posted on the printed and online ladder sheets. Players ranked below No. 95 may challenge anyone ranked 76 or lower, even if they are more than 20 rungs higher. (3) Players must return all challenge calls or emails within 48 hours whether or not the challenge can be accepted. When a challenged player fails to respond, the challenger should notify the coordinator for that ladder, who will then contact the non-responding player. (4) Matches must be played within one week of the challenge (or two or three weeks with multiple challenges). (5) Multiple back and forth challenges on the same day are not allowed on any of the ladders unless the first match is the completion of an earlier unfinished match (though in no case may a challenger who loses immediately rechallenge). All players are expected to make every effort to get their matches played.

DEFAULTS. If the either player fails to show up for a match or otherwise defaults, notify the ladder coordinator of the date, names of the players, and circumstances and he will make a determination of action after consulting with both players. Depending on the circumstances, the ladder coordinator has broad discretion as to action, including awarding the challenger (assuming he was not the defaulter) a win. In the case of a defaulting challenger, the ladder coordinator may move the challenger down 10 rungs.

COURT TIME. The RCTA does not provide reserved court times for ladder matches. In general, it is the responsibility of the challenger to arrive in time to reserve a court for matches played during the week unless the players agree otherwise. On weekends, both players must arrive together to reserve a court.

RECORDING RESULTS. To get credit for a win, the winning players must record the results on the appropriate ladder sheet at the courts, indicating the date of the win and the last name and ladder rank of both the winner and the loser. If the challenger wins, then he or she advances to the rung formerly occupied by the loser and everyone else in between moves down one rung. If the challenger loses, he or she stays on the original rung. Players should move all necessary tokens at the conclusion of play.

WARMUPS. Limited to five minutes, at which point either player may insist that play begin. Balls must be regular duty felt (Stage 1 Green Balls may be used only if both players agree--see Friend at Court, Appendix I) and supplied by the challenger, who keeps the balls.

SCORING. Matches consist of one set with regular scoring. 6-6 ties are broken by a 12-point tiebreaker (first player to win 7 points and be ahead by 2). If the game score has reached 5-5 with ten or fewer minutes left in the reserved hour, then a tiebreaker should be played at 5-5, unless both players agree to continue the match on another day. Any other incomplete matches should be resumed on another day at the point where the game was interrupted.

FREQUENCY OF PLAY. Players are encouraged to play at least one match per week.

FREEZING. A vacationing, injured, or otherwise unavailable player must notify the coordinator, who will freeze the spot until notified of the player's return, during which time the player has no obligation to play. However, any player in the Top 16 on the Open who will be away from play for two consecutive weeks or longer, will first be moved to position 17 and then frozen; on the Women's Ladder and 45s Ladder, a player away for two or more consecutive weeks will be moved to No. 9 or lower at the discretion of the ladder administrator. Freezing does not guarantee a position; rather, a frozen player will move one rung down the ladder each time a player lower than he or she successfully challenges a player above. Frozen positions may be skipped when counting the rungs to make challenges.

PROBLEMS AND COMPLAINTS. Players should email the ladder coordinator to resolve challenge disputes or problems. The coordinator has full authority to settle all ladder disputes. Ladder members are expected to comply with decisions. Ladder players are subject to suspension or removal from the ladder for repeated failure to accept challenges, chronic failure to return phone calls or email, failure to comply with the decisions of ladder officials, or for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Ladder Coordinator shall decide such matters and the decision shall be final.

TROPHIES. The Ladder Coordinator will announce any trophy competitions.

ELIGIBILITY FOR POST-SEASON PLAYOFFS. On the Open Ladder, the top 16 players with at least 10 matches are eligible for the season-ending playoff tournament. On the 45s Ladder, the top 8 players with at least 8 matches qualify. On the Women's Ladder the top 8 players with at least 10 matches (or a smaller number at the discretion of the ladder coordinator) are eligible for the season-ending playoffs.