Court of Appeals: Tiebreaker Tidbits

by: Rebel Good February 26, 2013

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Who serves next, and from which end, after you finish a tiebreaker? A pro told me it depends on the score at the end of a tiebreaker: If it's even you stay on the same side, otherwise you switch ends, and whoever started the tiebreaker will receive. Is that it?—Gilles Houle, Walnut Creek, CA

Not exactly. After a tiebreaker you always switch ends, and it has nothing to do with there having been a tiebreaker. Rule 10 says players “change ends at the end of each set, unless the total number of games in the set is even.” A 7-6 set score is always an odd number of games, so change ends. Who should serve? Rule 5.b says that “the player/team whose turn it was to serve first in the tie-break shall be the receiver in the first game of the follow set.” The tortured language is necessary to cover the situation where the wrong player serves first in the tiebreaker.

Except where noted, answers are based on the ITF Rules of Tennis and USTA's The Code.

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