Wheelchair tennis is one of the most exciting sports to
play and watch. There are no modifications to the
racquet or tennis balls. Wheelchair tennis follows the
same rules as able-bodied tennis with one exception; two
bounces are permitted when needed.
USTA / ITF Rules of Wheelchair
Wheelchair Rules Reference
Understanding the difference as it applies to the
The ITF rules shall apply to Main and Second Draws
(open) while USTA rules shall apply to Divisional play (A,B,C).
The Two Bounce Rule (USTA/ITF)
The wheelchair tennis player is allowed two bounces of
the ball.The player must return the ball before it hits
the ground a third time. The second bounce can be either
in or out of the court boundaries.
The Service (USTA/ITF)
1. The service shall be delivered in the following
manner. Immediately before commencing the service, the
server shall be in a stationary position. The server
shall then be allowed one push before striking the ball.
2. The server shall throughout the delivery of the
service not touch with any wheel, any area other than
that behind the baseline within the imaginary extension
of the center mark and sideline.
3. If conventional methods for the service are
physically impossible for a quadriplegic player, then
the player or an individual may drop the ball for such a
player. However, the same method of serving must be used
A Player Loses a Point if: (USTA/ITF)
1. The player fails to return the ball before it has
touched the ground three times; or
2. Subject to the rule below with propelling the chair.
The player uses any part of his feet or lower
extremities as brakes or as stabilizers while delivering
service, stroking a ball, turning or stopping against
the ground or against any wheel while the ball is in
3. The player fails to keep one buttock in contact with
his wheelchair seat when contacting the ball.
Wheelchair/Able-bodied Tennis (USTA/ITF)
Where a wheelchair tennis player is playing with or
against an able-bodied person in singles or doubles, the
Rules of Wheelchair Tennis shall apply for the
wheelchair player while the Rules of Tennis for
able-bodied tennis shall apply for the able-bodied
player. In this instance, the wheelchair player is
allowed two bounces while the able-bodied player is
allowed only one bounce. Note: The definition of lower
extremities is: -the lower limb, including the buttocks,
hip, thigh, leg, ankle and foot.
Toilet Breaks (ITF)
Two (2) toilet breaks are permitted during a singles or
doubles match, to be taken preferably at the set break.
Each break may be for a reasonable time. The player must
receive permission from the Chair Umpire, if there is
one, or from his opponent, who cannot reasonably refuse
the request. Additional breaks may only be permitted by
the Chair Umpire, Roving Umpire or Referee. If a player
takes a third toilet break without permission, they may
be charged with “leaving the court without permission”
under the Code of Conduct.
The warm-up shall not exceed five (5) minutes.
Chair Umpire (ITF)
In a match played with a chair umpire and no lines crew,
all lines are to be called by the chair umpire.
The wheelchair is considered part of the body and all
applicable rules, which apply to a player’s body, shall
apply to the wheelchair.
Preparation of Equipment
Each player is ultimately responsible for ensuring their
wheelchair and all other equipment is ready on time for
their match. The Referee has the right to default any
player who is not ready to go onto court for whatever
reason, within fifteen (15) minutes of their match being
Propelling the Chair with the
1. If due to lack of capacity a player is unable to
propel the wheelchair via the wheel then he may propel
the wheelchair using one foot.
2. Even if in accordance with the rule i. above a player
is permitted to propel the chair using one foot, no part
of the player’s foot may be in contact with the ground:
a) during the forward motion of the swing, including
when the racket strikes the ball;
b) from the initiation of the service motion until the
racket strikes the ball.
3. A player in breach of this rule shall lose the point.
Time Limit Repairs, Broken Equipment
The Chair Umpire, Roving Umpire or Referee has the
authority to determine suspension of play. Wheelchair
repairs may not exceed twenty (20) minutes in total
during one (1) match. This is regardless of any number
of breakdowns. Delay beyond the allotted time limits is
at the discretion of the official on duty.
Quad players are allowed to use the extra long rackets
in case extra space is needed to tape the racket to the
hand/arm. Any quad player may be allotted extra time
during a changeover in order to reposition or adjust the
racket in the hand, without being penalized, but only if
prior agreement has been made with their opponent as
well as the Umpire (if there is one) prior to the match.
The quad player must make every effort to keep any extra
time to a reasonable minimum, so as not to disrupt or
interfere with the normal progression of the match.
Quad Heat Rule
Tournaments must provide shade and ice buckets on court
for quad players. A player can be assisted by their
coach to spray water over their face. In very hot
climates it is advised that matches are scheduled in the
morning and late afternoon/evening.
© 2007 USTA. All rights reserved.