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The purpose of Tennis Valdosta League play is to promote USTA team tennis for men and women at established ratings of the National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP) within the counties of Lowndes, Cook, Lanier, Brooks, Tift, Berrien, and Echols. 

I. Regulations 

Tennis Valdosta adheres to the rules and regulations of the USTA, USTA Southern, and USTA Georgia as published. In addition, Tennis Valdosta also sets forth the following rules to apply to local league matches.

II. Membership

A. All adult team members must be at least 18 years of age prior to participating in the USTA league program. All team members must be paid members of the USTA through the current league season and must pay local league fees, as applicable.   

B. Players must play at or .5 above their NTRP level. (E.g. a 3.0 player can play at 3.0 or 3.5, but not 4.0). A player without a valid NTRP rating level in TennisLink, a returning player with an expired NTRP rating level and a Tournament Exclusive (T) rated player or a Mixed Exclusive (M) rated player who does not have a valid computer (C) rating from a previous year and chooses to participate in the Adult Division, must self-rate to be assigned a new rating, reassigned to their last expired rating or a higher rating based on their playing history to enter the USTA League Program.  Any player without a computer rating must self-rate using the self-rating form on Tennis Link, and follow guidelines set forth by the USTA. Tennis Link will require a non-rated player to self-rate when registering for a team.

C. If a player successfully appeals their rating after registering for their team, they must notify their LLC to have the rating adjusted on their roster.  Until the appealed rating is reflected on the roster, the player must play with the rating at which they originally registered.

D. Players may play on more than one team in the Tennis Valdosta league, but a player may not register for more than three teams within an age group in the same season. Playing on three teams during one season must be within the parameters described below: 

  • A player may play at two different NTRP levels, within the same league. 
  • A player may play on both an 18 & Over team and a 40 & Over team at either the same NTRP level or at different NTRP levels. 
  • A player may play on both an 18 & Over team and a 55 & Over team at either the same NTRP level or at different NTRP levels. 
  • A player may play on both a 40 & Over team and a 55 & Over team at either the same NTRP level or at different NTRP levels.

E. Once a player’s name appears on a Tennis Link team roster and they have played their first match, they cannot change teams if league play has begun.

Please note: Playing at different NTRP levels may increase the player’s risk of being disqualified at the lower level.

III. Leagues

The Tennis Valdosta program of league tennis play includes USTA oriented groupings of:

  • Men and Women Adult Leagues, 18 & Over, 40 & Over, 55 & Over, and 65 and over
  • Mixed Doubles Leagues, 18 & Over and 40 & Over
  • Combo Leagues, Tri-Level Leagues, and Singles and Doubles Flex Leagues.

Local Seasons.  Local play, which qualifies local winners for the 2020 State Championships, will not begin play prior to the completion of the 2019 State Championships, nor conclude after the dates below.  The league must also have at least two teams registered with the minimum number of players at least 30 days prior to the dates below.     Adult 18 & Over – April 5, 2020. Adult 40 & Over – May 3, 2020. Adult 55 & Over – May 10, 2020 Mixed 18 & Over and 40 & Over – August 16, 2020 Adult 65 & Over – September 20, 2020

IV. Captains: Pre-Season Responsibilities

A. The captain should read and be familiar with the rules of the USTA, USTA Southern, USTA Georgia and the Tennis Valdosta League rules. It is the captain’s responsibility to make sure his/her players have read and understand all the Tennis Valdosta League rules

B. Team Registration: Captains MUST establish a team number through Tennis Link and have the minimum number of players registered to fill a match roster by the designated roster deadline date.  Team names should be entered in the following format: Facility CTA Name/Captain’s First and Last Name. Example: Tennis Valdosta/Kim Lindsey 

C. Captains are responsible for ensuring a balance of players at the proper NTRP level is maintained on their team by the midpoint of the season as designated by the player add on deadline.  As such, 40% of players registered on a team must be at the appropriate level of play.  60% of the players on a team may be below that level of play. Example: A 4.0 team has 10 members, 6 of those players may be 3.5 players (none may be below 3.5). 

D. Captains must list a Tennis Valdosta approved facility as their "home" facility. Those facilities can be found at www.tennisvaldosta.com.  It is the captain's responsibility to contact the facility prior to registration to get approval to use the facility as their home court and find out the facility's requirement of teams using those faculties. The Local League Coordinator must have written notification that a team has been approved by the facilities if requested.  Home facilities must be located in Lowndes, Cook, Lanier, Brooks, Tift, Berrien, or Echols counties.

E. A team Co-captain is recommended as an additional point of contact. 

F. Captains/Co-captains MUST have a current e-mail address at which they can receive league information throughout the season. Captains/Co-captains MUST enter a phone number in Tennis Link when establishing a team number. If this phone number differs from the phone number listed with the USTA membership data, contact USTA at 1-800-990-8782 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to update. The number listed with the USTA membership data will appear on the captain’s report. Change of phone number or e-mail address after team registration, must be forwarded to your Local League Coordinator (LLC). E-mail will be the primary form of communication between the coordinator and the captains.

G. Refunds.  If a league does not make, Tennis Valdosta will refund to the captain all local league fees for registered players on his/her team if requested.  Local league fees do not include TennisLink and State fees, which are not refundable to Tennis Valdosta; hence not refundable to players.

V. Captains: Match Responsibilities

A. Tennis Valdosta encourages playing positions by order of strength, as established by fair play practice in “The Code.” 

B. Each team shall identify and reserve its home courts. The "home" team must guarantee a minimum of 2 courts with an available on-site bathroom for regularly scheduled matches. Lights are required for evening matches. Home teams will have the choice of court surface for which they wish to play their home matches.  The use of tennis-related blended lines are permitted on courts used for local league matches. The use of other lines for another sport are not permitted on courts used for local league matches.

C. The “home” team pays any court and/or guest fees and provides new balls for each home match. 

D. Start times are listed on Tennis Link schedules. Check schedules as times vary depending on the league. If both captains agree: 

    • The team match or individual match may be changed to an earlier start time on the same scheduled day. 
    • The team match or individual match may be changed to an earlier day and time during the regular season schedule. 
    • Once an agreement has been made, the Local league Coordinator must be notified of the match date, time and location, and all participants must be present at match time, or forfeit. 

E. If inclement weather occurs, matches must be rescheduled (See Section VI. Rescheduling below). Any changes to a team or individual match start time/day need to be emailed to the Local League Coordinator by both captains, prior to the match, with a copy sent to the opposing captain. The e-mail is to include: team names, new date, time, line # and location.  

F. Any team involved in a USTA League State, Sectional, or National match, regardless of the league, must notify their Local League Coordinator if requesting from their opponent consideration in rescheduling their USTA Local League match prior to the original scheduled day of the match. A team with this concern must notify their coordinator and the affected opponents at least two weeks prior to the scheduled match to reschedule individual matches. Opposing teams are required to cooperate fully in these circumstances. Only positions involving players participating in a championship need be rescheduled.

G. "Home team” captain should contact the visiting team captain no less than 3 DAYS prior to a scheduled match to make final arrangements for the match, including the number, surface type, and location of courts *or alternate courts if requested. Visiting captain must field as many courts as are presented. The location of the match cannot be changed unless both captains agree. If the captain/co-captain listed on the schedule will not be present at the match he/she must be accessible to the opposing captain via phone, or he/she must notify the opposing captain the name of the person acting in his/her stead. 

H. If the number of available courts is fewer than the number of matches, the captains may agree on the order of play. However, if no prior agreement is made then the order of play will be #1 singles, #1 doubles, #2 singles, #2 doubles and #3 doubles. Players in the second time slot must be available one hour after the first time slot begins; players in the third time slot must be available 2 hours after the first time slot begins. 

I. If a team must default one or more positions at the start of the match, it should follow the guidelines stated in the USTA Regulations handbook. Defaults must come from the bottom of the line-up, at either singles or doubles. In the event of a default, the captain of the other team may change the line-up prior to the start of the match.

J. Team captains, or a representative, must simultaneously exchange scorecards PRINTED FROM TENNIS LINK with completed line-ups BEFORE the scheduled match time. Match time is stated on your Tennis Link schedule. This match time is the beginning of the 15-minute default time (see section V.E). 

K. Scores must be entered in Tennis Link within 48 hours of the match start time by the winning captain. Score confirmation or score disputes must be made within 48 hours of the score entry. If scores are not confirmed or disputed within 48 hours of the score entry, the opposing team will lose the right to dispute the match score. Tennis Link will confirm scores automatically after the 48-hour period has passed.  NOTE: Playoff matches require score entry immediately upon completion of the match and the Local League Coordinator must be notified.

L. Tennis Link does not accept partial match results. The scores for all match lines must be entered at the same time. To dispute the scorecard that has been entered, you must dispute the match in Tennis Link and notify your Local League Coordinator within 48 hours of the match. You must provide the match number, and what the discrepancy is, along with the corrections and copy the opposing captain.

VI. Format of Play

A. League matches are the best two out of three sets.

C. A warm-up must be accomplished within a maximum of 10 minutes of scheduled start time, including serves. 

D. After the first game of each set, play shall be continuous and players shall change ends without a rest period. The rest period during all other changeovers is 90 seconds. When and if the score in a set is 6-6, the winner will be decided by a 7-point tiebreak. The Coman Tiebreak Procedure is to be used.  There is no rest period during changeovers of a tiebreak. The rest period between first and second sets is 2 minutes.  A 10-minute break may be taken between second and third sets. Coaching is allowed ONLY during the rest period between the second and third set. 

E. Defaults: The 15-minute default clock begins at the scheduled match time, when a court is available and a player has not arrived. 

  1. When a player does not show up within the 15-minute default time, or a player becomes ill or injured during warm up and there is no substitute available, only the affected position is defaulted. Players already listed in the lineup cannot be moved to another position. However two players already in the lineup will play together in the higher position when both of their partners do not show in order to avoid two defaults. 
  2. If a substitute player, not already in the lineup, is available within the 15 minute default time, then that player may substitute for an absent, sick or injured player, at the affected position ONLY. If a substitution is made during the warm-up, the substitute player is entitled to a 5-minute warm up. 

F. Players should be ready to take the court when the previous match is finished. For example, if a match begins at 9:30am and ends at 10:15am, default time for the next match on that court is 10:45 am, since 10:30am is the scheduled time of the next match. If the first match ends at 10:50 am, then players must take the court immediately since the next time slot players must have been available at 10:30 am. Captains should communicate and agree ahead of time which positions will take the court and in which order. If the captains cannot agree, refer to IV. H. (Captains: Match Responsibilities). 

G. If a team defaults an entire match (as described in USTA League Regulation 2.03K) in local play, states may decide whether to allow further play by that team and how matches played by that team should be used in determining standings. A state may not authorize a local league to make such determination. USTA Georgia will use the following regulation: If a team has an invalid match (a majority of the individual matches must actually be played to constitute a valid team match) the team may (state Adult League Committee’s decision) be removed from competition and the standings. 2.01C(5)e Team Line-Ups.

H. A state may not authorize a local league to make such determination. USTA Georgia will use the following regulation: If a team has an invalid match (a majority of the individual matches must actually be played to constitute a valid team match) the team may (state Adult League Committee’s decision) be removed from competition and the standings.

VII. Rescheduling

A. Inclement Weather: The following weather conditions authorize the cancellation of a scheduled match: rain, lightning, or sleet/snow at the courts, or extreme temperatures (below 32 degrees F, not wind chill, or above 100 degrees F, not heat index) as reported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website, www.noaa.gov, at the time of the match. Captains may agree to delay the match up to one hour. Once the match has started, matches cannot be canceled due to changes in temperature.

1. If teams have reported for play and the match is delayed or interrupted by inclement weather (not including rise or fall in temperature), teams must wait 30 minutes to determine if courts are playable. If courts are still not playable after 30 minutes, teams are free to leave and reschedule unless both teams agree to wait longer. Any player may deem a court unsafe to play.

2. If inclement weather (not including rise or fall in temperature) occurs after play has begun, completed matches will stand as played and incomplete matches must be resumed by the same players at the exact point, game, and set that existed when play was halted. Substitutions may be made in any individual matches that had not begun. Points awarded for defaults during the original line-up exchange will stand. All players involved in such defaults cannot participate in any rescheduled match. defaults offered verbally prior to the original written lineup exchange are nullified when the match is rescheduled due to rain or inclement weather. 

B. Arrangements for make-up matches: MUST be agreed upon within 36 hours of the original match start time. All individual matches do not have to be made up at the same place and time. Once teams agree on a rescheduled date and time, the make-up match may not be canceled by either party for any reason other than inclement weather. Therefore, captains agree to play an individual match at a specific time and place. Substitutions from the team roster may be made in any make-up match, at any time, prior to the match. A default will result if one team cannot play. If no agreement can be reached, the match must be played at the make-up default time (see below.) A default will result if one party cannot play. If both parties cannot play, the result is a double default. Both captains should contact the Local League Coordinator via e-mail with the agreed to rescheduled match information to prevent problems. (See IV. E.) Players added to a team’s roster after the original scheduled match and prior to the make-up match, may play in the make-up match. 

C. Default date is the day/evening before the next regularly scheduled match with the exception of the last match of the season. If inclement weather occurs on the default day/evening, matches must then be scheduled on a day-to-day basis, until weather permits the match to be played, but excluding the regularly scheduled match day. 

 

Original Match       Default Schedule 

Monday 7:00 pm       Sunday 2:00 p.m. 

Tuesday 7:00 pm      Monday 6:00 pm 

Wednesday 7:00 pm  Tuesday 6:00 pm 

Thursday 7:00 pm     Wednesday 6:00 pm 

Saturday 9:30 am     Friday 7:00 pm 

Sunday 2:00 pm       Saturday 8:30 am 

 

Exception: If inclement weather occurs on the last match day of the regular season when a playoff match is necessary, the make-up default time is the next day/evening after the regularly scheduled match and continues day to day until weather permits the match to be played. This exception is in effect only if a playoff match is necessary. Your Local League Coordinator will alert you to this at the beginning of each season. 


The following National Holidays are not to be included when calculating default dates: New Year’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas (i.e., the default date falls on Memorial Day; the default day moves to the next day).  Matches will not be scheduled on the previously mentioned National Holidays.

VIII. Addition of Players during a Season

A. Tennis Valdosta permits teams to add players after the commencement of play. A player’s name must be added to the roster in TennisLink prior to the player’s participation in a team match.  Players cannot be added after the mid-point match date on the published schedule. Where there are an odd number of match weeks, the greater number will be considered 50%. Example: where there are nine weeks of play, the cut off will be midnight, on the day prior to the scheduled match for week five. 

B. If a self-rated player has been disqualified during the season, they can register on a higher-level team. They will need the assistance of the Local League Coordinator.

IX. National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP)

A. Players who do not have a computer rating on file in Tennis Link shall self-rate in accordance with the NTRP Guidelines and declare their self-rating on Tennis Link when registering for a team. 

B. A player obtains a computer rating after playing at least three matches against players with dynamic ratings (calculated daily during league play, based on match scores and player ratings). Defaults do not generate computer ratings. 

C. Dynamic Disqualification occurs when the dynamic rating of a player (e.g. self-rated or playing with a rating reduced by appeal) exceeds the maximum tolerance for their specified level three times during the year (consisting of all league matches except retirements received, in the 18 & Over, 40 & Over and 55 & Over divisions through the Section Championships).

X. State Championships

A. Each team that wins a specific level of local league competition shall be entitled to advance to the next level of competition. 

B. Players who qualify for the Georgia State Championships may play the following:

  1. Two 18 & Over teams at different NTRP levels.
  2. Two 18 & Over Combo teams at different NTRP levels.
  3. Two Mixed teams -- two 18 & Over Mixed teams at different NTRP levels, two 40 & Over Mixed teams at different levels, or one 18 & Over and one 40 & Over team at different or same NTRP levels.
  4. Two 40 & Over teams at different NTRP levels.
  5. Players who qualify for the Combo 18 & Over/40 & Over/55 & Over Georgia State Championships may advance on 2 (two) 18 & Over teams, 2 (two) 40 & Over teams, or 2 (two) 55 & Over teams, but at different levels.

C. In the event of a tie, the USTA League Regulations, for tie-breaks, will be followed. The tie shall be broken by the first of the following procedures that does so:

  1. Individual matches: winner of the most individual matches in the entire season. 
  2. Head-to-Head: Winner of the head-to-head match. If teams played each other more than one time during the season, step 1 will be used for the head-to-head matches, to declare the winner.
  3. Sets: Loser of the fewest number of sets in the entire season. 
  4. Games: Loser of the fewest number of games in the entire season.
  5. A coin toss by the Local League Coordinator in the presence of witnesses. 

D. When there are two seasons at a specific level, there must be a minimum of three teams participating in one of the two seasons at that level to receive two berths to the State Championships. If there are only two teams in both seasons, only one berth will be awarded. A playoff following the second season will determine the league winner if there was a different winner in each season.

E. In the event that the same team should win both league seasons, for the same level, that team must choose which season’s roster they would like to take to the State Championship. The league shall then send a second place team as a State entrant. If the same team placed second in both seasons, they must choose which season’s roster they would like to take to the State Championship. If the second place team in each season is different and there is sufficient time, there will be a play-off to determine a State entrant. The home team will be decided by the best winning match percentage from their season of play. Play-off teams must use the roster from their qualifying season. If one team declines a play-off, the other team is automatically chosen. If time does not permit for a play-off, the team advancing to state will be determined by the teams' season records. 

F. If Tennis Valdosta receives a wild card, it will be awarded to the team at the given level with the best winning percentage and available to field a team for state competition.

G. In the event that a first place team from a specific season receiving a berth to the State Championships, declines advancement, the second place team from that same season may represent the league for that season.

H. Any team that advances to a State, Sectional, or National tournament will be responsible to pay all entry fees and are responsible for any expenses incurred during tournament.

I. State Championship Berths are awarded based on number of teams participating in local league play.   Please see USTA Georgia Rules & Regulations for the breakdown of each league type.

J. Player Eligibility Requirements:

  1. In the Adult 18 & Over Division, a player is eligible to advance to state championship competition if that player has played on the same team in at least two matches at the same NTRP level in the same league type through the local league (local playoffs included). One default received by the player during local competition shall count for advancing. Retired matches shall count toward advancing for all players involved.
  2. In the Adult 40 & Over Division, a player is eligible to advance to state championship competition if that player has played on the same team in at least two matches at the same NTRP level in the same league type through the local league (local playoffs included). One default received by the player during local competition shall count for advancing. Retired matches shall count toward advancing for all players involved.
  3. In the Adult 55 & Over Division, a player is eligible to advance to state championship competition if that player has played on the same team in at least two matches at the same NTRP level in the same league type through the local league (local playoffs included). One default received by the player during local competition shall count for advancing. Retired matches shall count toward advancing for all players involved.
  4. In Southern Combo, players must have played once during the season. In the event that local league play is not required to advance to the State Combo tournament, the players are not required to have played in any local matches. 
  5. State Combo Champion Team Move Up/Split Up:Teams with self-rated players in the 18 & Over, 40 & Over, and 55 & Over Combo age divisions that advanced to, or qualified for, the 2019 Combo Sectional Championship may play together as a team, in whole or in part, in any Age Group within the Combo Division in 2020 if they move up one NTRP team level or if the individuals raise their self-ratings. No more than two players who were on a Combo roster that advanced to, or qualified for the 2019 Combo Sectional Championship and are still self-rated may be on a 2020 Combo team together at the same self-rating as they were in the previous Championship year. Move up/split up requirements only apply to players who participated in one (1) or more matches (excluding all defaults) for that team during the Championship year. Example: If a team in the Combo 18 & Over in the 7.5 level (6 players are C and 6 players are S) advanced to Sectionals, all the S players must move up a level, or split up the following year. If those S players are C rated players at the end of the year, this regulation is null and void.
  6. Players who are found to have valid computer ratings, after the appeal process, that place them above the NTRP level at which they are competing may continue their participation at the lower NTRP level through the conclusion of the Southern championship. They shall not be permitted to advance to any National Championship at the lower NTRP level. Prior team matches played are valid.
  7. 2.03A(4) Eligibility to advance to National Championships for self-rated and computer-rated appealed players requires playing at least four (4) matches on the same team at the same level in the same Age Group. No defaults received count.

XI. Grievances

A. All complaints alleging a violation by an individual or team during local league competition shall be filed in writing with the Local League Coordinator. The complaint must to filed prior to the commencement of whichever occurs first: (a) the involved teams' next match in that flight, whether or not the involved player participates or (b) within twenty-four hours after the end of the local league season.

B. Any party to the complaint may appeal the decision of the Grievance Committee within the time stated in the ruling handed down by the Grievance Committee.

C. If unsure of procedure, contact the Local League Coordinator.

XII. NTRP (Self-Rate) Grievances

A. Any league captain, coordinator or member of a championship committee has the right to file an NTRP Grievance against a player and/or captain who commits or condones entering at one NTRP level when his/her actual skill level is at the top of the next NTRP level or higher. 

B. All grievances must be filed with your Local League Coordinator and must include specific and tangible information regarding the player-in-question’s tennis history. The Local League Coordinator will forward the NTRP grievance to the USTA Southern NTRP Grievance Committee. Decisions may be appealed to the USTA Southern Grievance Appeals Committee. 

C. A player with a valid NTRP Computer (C), Benchmark (B), or granted Automatic Appeal rating of a “C” is not subject to a self-rate grievance. Any other player is subject to a self-rate grievance.

These rules have been approved by USTA Georgia, and the Tennis Valdosta Board of Directors.

 

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