On Court Officials

Chair Umpire

The Chair Umpire is much more than just the person who sits in a high chair and announces the score. They are the guardians of the Rules of Tennis and enforce them to ensure a match is played in a spirit of fair play.

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Umpires are impartial and cannot be prejudiced. The Chair Umpire has the final word on all issues relating to on-court facts, for example whether a ball is “in” or “out”, if a player has a foot fault, a service touches the net, etc.

In matches where line umpires are assigned, the chair umpire has the duty to “over-rule” any clear mistake made by a line umpire.

In matches where electronic review (commonly called “hawk eye”) is in use, this can over-rule a Line Umpire’s and/or Chair Umpire’s decision (following a challenge) and cannot be appealed.

The Chair Umpire’s duty is also to control the match and enforce the Code of Conduct whenever required.

Line Umpire

Team work is the key to being a successful Line Umpire. Not only do they call all shots related to their assigned line, they also work together with the Chair Umpire so that the match is played in a professional and fair manner.

Line Umpires are responsible for reporting any misconduct from a player that was not witnessed by the Chair Umpire. They also escort players on toilet breaks to make sure there is no breach of any rule.

Being a Chair Umpire or Line Umpire requires excellent eyesight and concentration. You need to be on top of any situation that may happen and always act in a calm manner.

Further detailed information is outlined in the 'ITF Duties and Procedures for Officials', which is available as a PDF below: