Tennis Match Etiquette: How To Be Courteous Courtside

July 27, 2016

Eugenie Bouchard


We’re fast approaching the halfway mark of summer in Canada and that means one of the highlights of the summer for tennis fans in Toronto is here, the Rogers Cup , presented by National Bank. We get to experience world-class tennis and watch so many of our favourite Canadian players like Milos Raonic, Daniel Nestor and Genie Bouchard and also check out the up and coming talent like the Denis Shapovalov, the recent Junior Boys Wimbledon champion!

As a huge tennis fan and a recreational player myself, there is nothing better than watching the matches in person. However, if this is your first time experiencing the magic of the game up close and personal, here are a few key rules of tennis spectator etiquette to know before you head out to the stands.

1. Silence Please
During the point you should keep quiet, that means cheering and chatting are a no-go and cellphones should be on silent. Tennis requires extreme concentration and focus and the last thing a player a needs is your ring tone or text message notification chiming in while he or she is serving match point at over 100 miles an hour.

2. Cheer Correctly

Following an incredible point you are welcome to cheer encouragement, but only immediately following the shot and then after that it’s back to rule 1. At no time should you heckle or boo, tennis is the “sport of kings” after all.

3. Stay Still

Tennis is much like the theatre in that you should refrain from leaving your seat or moving at all until the appropriate time. Spectators should stay seated in their seatsuntil the end of the point (aka don’t stand up), and only leave their seat during a player changeover, which is when the players switch sides which typically happens after every odd game. An exception to this is that after the first game of each set there is a change of ends, where players are permitted to grab a small drink or towel off, but not to sit, and on this change of end, spectators should not leave or return to seats. Also, there is a rest after the first set even if the score is even where there wouldn’t be a change of sides, which is another a good time to take your break. Remember, you should NEVER leave your seat mid play.

4. Don’t be Flashy

Tennis matches are incredibly intense and that means something as simple as a rogue flash from a camera or a phone mid-play can completely throw a player off their rhythm. If you must capture the moment, ensure your phones and camera flashes are turned completely off.

5. Enjoy the Game

The whole point of attending a world-class tennis match like the Rogers Cup is to witness true tennis greatness on the court — and you can’t do that if you spend the whole game looking at your phone. My advice is to put your phone away and focus on the players. They are exceptional athletes and are inspiring to watch as they perform at their best in this high stakes arena.