There is a common misconception that tennis is played only by sophisticated guys and ladies. But, of course, even in this sport, there are occasions when tempers can flare, lines can be crossed, and racquets can get broken… players are eliminated from the competition as a result.
Considering the total number of professional games played in a given year, such a thing can be regarded as extremely unlikely; despite this, however, it does occur.
A wide variety of infractions might result in a player being disqualified, and we will examine each of these in turn. However, the most important concern for many bettors is this: what happens to the bets if one player receives the tennis equivalent of a red card?
When A Player Is Disqualified, What Happens To Bets?
If you are a new bettor and have had a player you backed disqualified from a tennis match, your first thought may be to question what happens to your bet. If you didn’t bet on them being disqualified (you can bet on nearly anything these days), your first stop should be your betting account.
You should be able to locate the bet’s specifics and determine whether it won (don’t hold your breath), lost, or was voided. In the latter case, your stake will be returned, and your bet will have neither been won nor lost. If you believe the bet was settled erroneously or want to know why, check the tennis-specific rules with the bookmaker with whom you wagered.
If you are still trying to figure out the bet was handled incorrectly, contacting customer service is the best choice, with live chat being our preference. Of course, if you were expecting to lose, but the bookie has canceled the wager, how much additional research you choose is entirely down on your level of honesty.
Significant elements are at work here, so there is no easy answer as to what will happen. To begin, the rules will differ from one bookie to the next. Second, the regulations may be implemented differently depending on the market on which you have a bet. Finally, some betting sites will consider the stage of the game (possibly affecting your chance) when the disqualification occurs.
Some tennis betting sites will cancel all bets unless they are already settled. For example, if you bet which player will win the first set and that player is disqualified during the first set, your bet will be invalid. As a result, regardless of whose player you backed or the score, you will receive your stake back, and the wager will be essentially annulled.
All bets have been voided.
That can be particularly aggravating if the guy you favored is 5-0 and 40-0 up and serving for the set when the other player is disqualified. Of course, it is equally possible that your player may lose and be banned, so you will no doubt consider yourself fortunate to have not lost your bet.
Similarly, if you bet on a player to win the match and they are two sets up with three match points, the bet will be void if the opposing player is disqualified (or if your player is). The argument is simple: no matter how close you are to winning, bets will only stand if they have previously been settled.
Other bookmakers will adopt a different approach and classify the disqualified player as the loser. They will settle straight match bets on both players accordingly, but many other markets, such as set betting (correct score) and handicap bets, will remain void because the exact number of games, sets, points, and so on is unknown. The exemption is for markets that have already been unconditionally settled (as mentioned above) and will be permitted to stand.
In general, that applies to most bookmakers, with the majority simply voiding any unsettled bets in the case of a disqualification. Disqualification rules are generally simpler and less varied than player retirement rules. However, you may come across the odd bookie who follows similar practices, requiring a certain number of games or sets to be played for bets to stand. As previously stated, consult the tennis rules or, where possible, contact the bookie via live chat.
How Common Is Tennis Disqualification?
The quick answer is no, not at all. The slightly lengthier and more detailed response is, “Not very often.” To the best of our knowledge, there have been so few we can list them all for you right here. The following list covers the men’s and women’s professional games in the open era, is correct to the best of our knowledge, and might be expanded with any future disqualifications.
- 2020 – Novak Djokovic, the tournament’s hot favorite, was disqualified for hitting a ball at a line judge.
- 2019 – Nicholas Kyrgios, the true bad boy of modern tennis, was disqualified after throwing a chair in response to a point penalty for abusive language during the Italian Open.
- Denis Shapovalov shot the ball toward the chair umpire in 2017.
- David Nalbandian kicked a hoarding during the Queen’s Club final in 2012, hurting a line judge.
- Stefan Koubek was disqualified in 2007 for using foul language.
- Anastasia Rodionova, a Russian-born Australian, launched the ball at spectators applauding her opponent in 2007. Irina Spirlea, a Romanian, became the first woman to be disqualified after using bad language to an official.
- Tim Henman – Tim Henman! Henman shocked a Wimbledon ball girl to tears by hitting her with an angry ball. The (then) teenager was competing in doubles with Jeremy Bates.
- John McEnroe, the original tennis rabble-rouser, was thrown out of the Australian Open in 1990 for three code infractions.
It should be no surprise that John McEnroe was the first player to be disqualified. Worse still, squeaky-clean homemakers’ favorite Tim Henman is responsible for over 10% of all disqualifications in tennis history! If Tim is now seen as the game’s bad boy, 2007 should be remembered as the year tennis went wild. Over 22% of all disqualifications occurred in 2007, the same year Slovenia became the 13th country to adopt the Euro (since we’re doing random figures, we’ll throw in some random trivia as well).
While these numbers may reveal less about Henman’s antics and more about the phrase “lies, horrible lies, and statistics,” they do show how few times players have been disqualified. Because it is so uncommon, it is all the more significant when a player is disqualified, so all nine cases described above were huge incidents. There is little dispute that Djokovic’s exclusion from the 2020 US Open provoked the most uproar.
What Causes Disqualification of Players?
The list above gives you a good idea of what tennis players can be disqualified for in the real world. The most obvious reasons are foul language, usually directed at officials, or hitting the ball at or towards them or the crowd. Players never intentionally strike the ball at referees, the crowd, or other players but rather lose their cool and hit the ball away in frustration.
If the ball lands harmlessly in the net or the hoardings, the worst that can happen is a code violation. If they are “unlucky” and the ball hits someone, they will likely be disqualified, even though the rules do not specify this, contrary to popular belief.
As you might expect, the full set of rules is quite complicated. If you’re bored and want to do some heavy reading, the ITF rules can be found here. Article III addresses “Player On-Site Offenses,” and various issues are addressed, ranging from seemingly innocuous problems such as a commitment to make their “Best Efforts” and what they wear, to more obvious violations such as “Audible Obscenity,” “Visible Obscenity,” “Abuse Of Balls,” and more.
The “Point Penalty Schedule” (PPS) governs most offenses, with players cautioned for the first offense, given a point penalty for the second, and then a game punishment for the third and subsequent offenses. However, the majority of the categories also include the following:
“In circumstances that are flagrant and particularly injurious to the success of a tournament, or that are singularly egregious, a single violation of this Section shall also constitute the Major Offence of ‘Aggravated Behaviour,’ and shall be subject to the additional penalties set forth herein.”
There is also a section on “Defaults,” which is essentially disqualification and can be used for a single offense or as part of the PPS. According to the ITF, “in all cases of default, the Referee’s decision in consultation with the Grand Slam Chief of Supervisors shall be final and unappealable.“