Delaware Tennis Ladder Rules and Guidelines

A must read for everyone to learn how the ladder works and the rules we have in place

Please read the rules!

Here are the rules:

Delaware Tennis Ladder - LADDER RULES


1. The ladder is open to the public.  There is no charge to join.


2. The ladder consists of men's singles and doubles, woman's singles and doubles and mixed doubles.


3. There will be tournaments at the end of the summer season. The tournament structure will be determined at season end.


4. All players/teams are ranked.  New players/teams go to the bottom of the ladder.  Players/teams work themselves up the ladder by challenging players/teams above them.  If you win, you move up one slot above the player/team you beat and all other players/teams move down one slot.


5. All challenges must be honored even if the match must be set up a few weeks in advance. The defender or defending team being challenge' should, in good faith, offer up times and play as soon as they can. A refusal to offer up options will be consider a default.  If you cannot schedule a future match, you should offer up a forfeit at that time.


Notify Bob Davis for refusals or any problems.  If you are unsuccessful getting a response from a player, please use the existing ways that player indicates you can connect with them prior to reporting as an issue.  Email is not always reliable and can get caught in junk mail. Try using the phone or texting before reporting someone as not responding.


Fortunately, the members of the ladder show good sportsmanship, so it’s not anticipated this will be needed. Be cognizant that all of us have busy lives, so let’s be flexible with each other. If you are challenging, please accept a future timeframe when offered by a player/team.


6. This rule applies to men's singles only - The top 30 ranked players may only challenge 10 positions up; players ranked 31-60 may challenge 20 positions up; and players ranked 61 and below may challenge 30 positions up.  This rule is at the discretion of the higher ranked player to invoke.  The higher ranked player has the right to accept any match challenge regardless of the ranking of the lower ranked player.


7. A two week period must pass before a defeated player/team may challenge the same player/team again, unless all are in agreement to play.


8. Bob Davis will attempt to update the ladder standings by Monday or Tuesday of each week at This may not happen occasionally due to his schedule. Each week of play begins on Monday and ends on Sunday.


Results must emailed to Bob Davis at by 9:00pm Sunday each week. That means if you play a match on Sunday, be sure to report scores using the form on the Results page of this web site by 9:00pm that  evening. Failure to get your match recorded by this deadline may result in the match not being included.


The winner is responsible for communicating the results of a match. Winners cannot choose to skip reporting a match just because it did not change their ranking.  All matches are needed for various incentives for games played tournament qualifications, etc. during the year.  When you send the result, please use the form on the web site given it ensures you provide what is needed to update the ladder.


9. Rearrangement of the ladder will be applied in date order.  For matches occurring on the same date, the order is determined by the order in which scores are reported.  This encourages everyone to report your match as soon as you can. If the challenge is successful, the challenging player/team moves up the ladder one slot above the defending player/team. If unsuccessful, the challenging player/team retains their original ranking.


10. The challenging player/team is to make arrangements for an agreed upon court time and location. Matches can take place on any courts anywhere agreeable to the players.


11. If a player/team does not show up within 15 minutes of the scheduled time, a default results in favor of the player/team that does show up. Please make every attempt to get in touch with players if you find you cannot make a match. Do that as soon as you know.  Also, let's be flexible with each other and reschedule the match if appropriate.


12. Both players/teams should bring a new can of balls to the match.  One of those cans is opened for the match.  After the match is over, the winning player/team takes the unopen can of balls, and the losing player/team takes the used balls.


13. All matches will be the best two out of three sets, with a seven-point tiebreaker when the score reaches six-all in a set. The first player/team to score seven points, by a margin of two points wins the set.  A ten point tiebreaker will be played instead of a full set if a third set is needed.  This is the same as a seven-point tiebreaker; except the game (which will count as the third set) is played until the one player/team gets to ten points, but must win by two points. If both players/teams agree, a full 3rd set can be played.


14. For matches played in a venue that has a fixed time to play (indoor courts, outdoor pay courts), the following will apply:


If either player/team wins 2 sets, they are the winner (best 2 out of 3 sets).  Otherwise, count the number of games won for each player/team during the match.  The player/team with the most games wins.  If both players/teams have the same number of wins, then a sudden death point is played.  Whichever person/team wins that point wins the match.  A flip of a coin will determine how the point will be played.  The player/team that wins the flip can choose to serve or defer the serve to the other player/team.  The player/team receiving the serve will choose which side will be played.  The winner of this point wins the match.


All tiebreaks (singles and doubles) are to use the Coman procedure as outlined here.


  • Set Tiebreak: First to win 7 points by 2 points wins “Game “ and “Set.”

  • Third-set Match Tiebreak: First to win 10 points by 2 points, wins match.

  • The player whose turn it is to serve shall serve the first point from the deuce court.

  • After the first point, the players shall change ends and the following two points shall be served by the opponent(s) (in doubles, the player of the opposing team due to serve next) starting from the ad court.

  • After this, each player/team shall serve alternately for two consecutive points (starting from the ad court); changing ends after every four points, until the end of the tiebreak game.

  • Switch sides after points 1,5,9,13,17..…. and at the conclusion.


15. Each season’s initial ladder rankings are based on merging the winter and summer ladder rankings.  To retain the merged ranking, a player must sign up by the initial deadline. After that, all new entrants will be added to the bottom of the ladder in the order in which they sign up.


16. The success of our ladder has come from people playing with good sportsmanship. As a result, the need for rulings and dealing with issues has rarely occurred. The intent of the ladder is to serve the public and for people to enjoy the game. Please respect the other players and have a great time.


17.  Indoor or Outdoor Court Reservation Process:

  • Before making a reservation at a participating facility, ensure the other players can commit to the time you seek.  You may need to make an initial call to find out available times so you can offer them up to those playing.  This ensures all are committed to show up and does not hold slots that other players on the ladder could use.
  • If you learn you are not going to play and therefore will not need the court time, please call and cancel your reservation as soon as possible.  This frees up the time slot for others to fill.  Failing to do so makes it so other players on the ladder are not able to book that time, as well as revenue loss to the facility.
  • Matches should be scheduled no more than 7 days in advance so there is less likelihood other life events will interfere with commitments.  


18. If you have any further questions about the rules, please contact Bob Davis at


The following Legal Disclaimer applies to all players who participate in the Delaware Tennis Ladder

Legal Disclaimer:

Legal Disclaimer: Participation in this tennis ladder and any tournaments we hold is at the player's own risk. By registering for this ladder, you agree to the following Liability Release Statement: I do hereby agree to indemnify and hold harmless Robert Davis, from and against any and all liability for any injuries which may be incurred by me (us) arising out, or in any way connected with, my (our) participation on this ladder.