Tennis Challenge Ladders

If you are looking for a consistent way to play tennis, meet new tennis buffs, or simply

to add some competition to your game, check out our tennis challenge ladder system below.


If you are not familiar with tennis ladders or challenge play, take a look at the rules and explanations below.

Or, please feel free to contact us for more information.  We will help get you started!


Joining the Ladder

FREE for all NFTC Members!

1.  To get started, Contact the NFTC Ladder Director - Beckie Mathis and give her your name and level of skills or ability.

2.  You will be sent an E-mail telling you the name of your Ladder, your position on the Ladder and contact information for other members of your Ladder.


3.  Check the                                       to find your information and results of the challenges for your Ladder.


4.  New players join the ladder at the bottom of the challenge ladder.

5.  Anyone who joins a Ladder for the first time, has one initial chance to challenge anyone in any position on the ladder.

6.  If he or she loses that challenge match, they will then be placed on the bottom of the ladder and have to make a new challenge to move up.

7. The new ladder participant who wins that initial match moves into the position of the person they just defeated.


Playing format

1. All matches will be the best of three sets, no-ad scoring. The third set, if needed, will be determined by a standard tie-breaker, with the match going to the first player to win seven points, by two  (12 and under ages will play one set with no-ad scoring  and the first player to win six games, by two, wins. If the score is 6-6, you must play a tie-breaker).


2. All other aspects of fair play and conduct will follow USTA guidelines. Matches stopped for bad weather or similar reasons must be completed within one week or the player with the lead, when play stopped, wins.


Challenge guidelines


1. The legal challenge range is upwards of a maximum of two positions.


2. Challengers must issue the challenge to higher players and matches must be accepted.  If a challenge is not accepted, the player who is challenged must accept a loss by default and their position moves down one rung on the ladder.


3. Players are not required to accept a challenge from a player that they have defeated within the past two weeks.


4.  Players may issue/accept more than one challenge at a time. A ladder match is only valid, however, if the players are within legal challenge range at the time of the match. (Of course, members are free to play matches that are not valid; the results will simply be ignored.)


5.  The challenged player may select the time and location of the match, agreed upon by both players; however, the challenger is responsible for making all court reservations.


6.  A match should be completed within ten days of the challenge, unless extenuating circumstances prevent it.


7.  A withdrawn or conceded challenge is a default loss for the challenger.


8. The challenger is responsible for providing a can of tennis balls, in good condition - preferably new - for the match.


9.  The usual USTA method of scoring is based on winning two of three sets, with a tie-break at the end of any set that reaches a score of 6-6.


10.  In a tie-break, the first to win seven points, by at least two points, wins the set.


11. Challenge matches must be scheduled within two weeks of the challenge, unless both players agree to an extension or the Ladder Director (Head Pro – Beckie Mathis) accepts a reasonable explanation for a delay (e.g., challenged player is out of town or injured or weather delays).


12.  If the Challenged player does not accept the challenge and schedule play within two weeks, he or she is dropped from the ladder.


Time Between Challenges


To avoid excess challenges against any single player, no player may be challenged within one week of having played any challenge match.


Challenger responsibilities


Challengers must make all needed court reservations and supply a new can of balls for each match. If there is a preferred court location, the challenged player may choose his or her court. The time of matches must be convenient to both players.


Reporting scores


The winner of the challenge match must report the results of the match – date played, score, and names of winner and loser -  within 48 hours of the match to the Ladder Director at 336-927-3859.


The ladder listing is updated each week at NFTC and online, with results and rankings.


Post-match positions


1.  If the higher position, challenged player wins the match, there is no change of position for either player.

2.  If the lower position, challenger wins the match, he or she moves in the loser’s position and everyone in between moves down one place.



** Questions/Suggestions – please contact the Ladder Director if you have any questions or suggestions. The ladder Director is the final decision-maker for all disputes or questions.  However, the Ladder Director may appoint an impartial ladder committee to rule on disputes, as needed.


Tips for greater enjoyment – A new member on a challenge ladder may find that the first one or two matches played on the ladder appear to be mismatches (in terms of skill levels). Don’t be discourage – as the season progresses, the ladder sorts itself into order.  You will soon discover other members with whom you can play comfortably. In addition to the relative rankings, you may find it useful to look at the results of specific matches. This can give you further clues to the levels of players, and gives some indication of players that you may want to challenge.


That’s all, for now. Good luck and HAVE FUN!!


As prudent with any recreational activity, and especially when involved with others, members should exercise due care in their involvement in a challenge ladder. The operators of the ladder cannot be responsible for injury to members or others, damage to property, or other liability arising out of membership in and use of the challenge ladder. By participating in a challenge ladder, each member accepts and agrees to abide by its rules.




Tennis Play Etiquette


  • Do not call “first ball in” when starting to serve. Agree with your opponent before beginning play.

  • Give your opponent the benefit of the doubt on all calls.

  • Avoid getting angry either at yourself or your opponent.

  • Treat your opponent with courtesy. Accept defeat graciously.

  • Avoid arguments of any kind.

  • Send the server the ball directly, in between points; don’t make them chase it.

  • Stop play immediately and call "let", when a ball lands on your court from an adjoining court. Return the ball promptly and pleasantly.

  • Never enter someone else’s court while play is in progress.

  • Do not walk in front of players practicing on a backboar

  • Keep the set moving; don’t stop to “chat” at the net. Always be considerate of those waiting to play.

  • Be certain the receiver is ready before serving.

  • Do not  return a serve that is out; keep the ball on your side of the court.

  • Do not protest or question your opponent’s call either by speech or mannerism.

  • Make all calls of “let” or “out” immediately.

  • Do not enlist in the aid of spectators. You may only call a ball on your side of the net.

  • Toss a coin or spin a racquet, if no agreement can be reached to a dispute.

  • You may move your body at all times, but do not wave your racquet or arms or otherwise to distract an opponent.

  • Do not talk when the ball is on your opponent’s side.