Fairfield County Tennis League

Rules: Fairfield County Tennis LeaguePrint Rules

League Rules



1.    The League shall consist of Clubs in Fairfield County Connecticut. The League is divided into two �conferences�, an �Open Conference� which will compete on Wednesdays and a �Masters Conference� (50 and over and 60 and over)) which will compete on Thursdays.  Each Conference will be divided into divisions based on the result of the previous season except that all teams in divisions below the first division shall be assigned to a geographical division as determined by the Board of Directors in accordance with the record from the previous season. The number of Clubs and divisions may be adjusted subject to Board approval. 

2.    Each team must have a captain who will fulfill League responsibilities as outlined in these Rules and Regulations. A list of teams with the division assignments and their captains will be listed on the League website: www.fctl.org

3.    Open Conference competition shall begin in mid-May on a Wednesday and Masters Conference on the following Thursday, the date as approved at the Annual Meeting, normally between May 13-23, and continue each subsequent week until the season is completed. Each club team in the League will play every other team in its division on at least one occasion on the dates and places shown on the schedule of competitions. 

4.    Home team captains are responsible for contacting visiting team captains at least two days prior to their competition to:

a.     acknowledge the competition,

b.    advise the visiting Club Team captain who to contact for last minute weather decisions, and

c.     coordinate any other arrangements necessary. 

5.    Each Open Conference competition shall consist of four men�s doubles matches between four doubles player pairs. Each Masters Conference competition shall consist of three men�s doubles matches between three player pairs. The doubles pairs shall be ranked one through three or four in descending order of ability, and shall play the correspondingly ranked doubles pair from the opposing team. To ensure competitive matches, compliance with this requirement is basic to the integrity of the League.

6.    Each match will be best two out of three sets. When in any set the game score becomes 6-all, a 12 point tie-breaker game will be played. 

7.    Home team captains are responsible for providing balls and refreshments. 

8.    A post or preseason tournament, the Alex Reddin Memorial Tournament (which has no effect on team scoring or ranking), may be played in September or May.


1.    One point will be awarded for each match won; no points will be awarded for matches lost. In certain circumstances, as outlined in Rules C.1-C.8, teams may win a half point for cancelled or unfinished matches, or such other points as decided by the Board. 

2.    Home team captains shall be responsible for reporting individual match scores (including players names and which team got the tiebreaker where the teams tied 2-2), to the League website immediately following the competition, but no later than noon the following day.  A �rainout� and the makeup date must be reported on the league website.  In the event that the home team captain or his surrogate does not enter the scores on the website by noon the day following the competition, one point may be deducted from the season�s score of the team responsible for reporting the results. In the event of extenuating circumstances, the point penalty may be reversed, but only upon petition to the Board.

A tiebreaker is determined as follows:

a.     If the competition score was tied, then the number of sets won by each pair during the competition will decide the winner.

b.    If the sets were even, then the number of games won by each pair during the competition will decide the winner.

c.     If the games were even, the spin of a racket will decide.

3.    The team winning the most points during the season in each division will be the winner of that division; the team with the second highest total, the runner-up. The winner of Division I will be the winner of the Conference. 

4.    In the event that teams in a division have the same number of points at the end of the season, their head-to-head record will determine their final position, taking into account the tiebreaker from B.2 if necessary.  If a tiebreaker leaves the positions unresolved, the Board shall determine the winner by drawing lots.  

5.    Regarding the movement of teams based on a season�s results:

a.     Open Conference: It is mandatory that the winner and runner-up of each region of Division III move into Division II the following year, trading places with the three teams with the lowest point totals in each region of Division II; in Division II, the single winner of each region shall advance to Division I with the two lowest Division I teams moving down. The bottom 2 teams of each region of Division III will move to Division IV and the top three teams of each region of Division IV will move up.

b.    Masters Conference: The bottom two teams in Division I will move to Division II. The top two teams from Division II will move up to Division I. The bottom two teams from Division II will move down to Division III one to the East and one to the West. The top team from Division III East and Division III West will move up. The winning team in Division I will be considered the winner of the Masters Conference.

c.      These rules for both Conferences remain in effect even if it results in two teams from the same Club being placed in the same division. However, a team may apply for a lower division placement if, in its judgment, its team strength has been materially affected by the loss of one or more top players. Said application must be made before the deadline for new team application to allow opportunity to prepare the schedules for the upcoming season. This application is subject to approval by the Board.

6.    When a change in the number of teams in the League or other circumstances make an exception to the rules of division transfer advisable, the Board will notify the League.


1.    All competitions not started due to weather or other unusual circumstances shall automatically be rescheduled to the first Monday or Tuesday following the scheduled competition. A competition will be deemed started when any one court has played at least one point. The home team Captain shall make the election of whether the rescheduled competition shall be played on the following Monday or Tuesday, and shall communicate his choice to the captain of the opposing team on the same day that the original competition was scheduled. If the home team cannot schedule the competition for the following Monday or Tuesday (assuming they are not national holidays), the opposing team has the option of being the host and electing whether the competition will be played on the following Monday or Tuesday. In the event the home team Captain selects a Monday or Tuesday that falls on the observance of a national holiday (Memorial Day or July 4th), the opposing captain may opt to not play on that day. The following Monday or Tuesday shall then be selected by the home team Captain. In the event a rescheduled competition must again be postponed because of bad weather, the home team captain shall again make the election and communicate his choice within the time specified above. Since available daylight decreases rapidly in August and the likelihood of rain increases, all captains are urged to make-up postponed competitions on other evenings/weekends throughout the season. The captain of the home team and the captain of the away team need to agree on playing indoors in the event of inclement weather. This is true even if the home team has indoor courts. 

2.    When it is known in advance that a match or matches must be defaulted due to a shortage of one or more players, the defaults must start with the lowest doubles pair among all of a club�s teams and proceed up from the bottom. 

3.    Matches should begin at 6:00 p.m., but in no event later than 6:45 p.m. A doubles team will be �ready to play� if both team members are on the court in tennis attire. If the team members of one of the teams are not ready to play at 6:30 p.m., one set of the match will be defaulted to the team which is ready to play. If a pair of one of the teams is not ready to play by 6:45 p.m., the match will be defaulted, with one point awarded to the team which is ready to play. If both teams are not ready to play by 6:45 p.m., then that particular match will be considered a default with no point awarded to either team and with no option by either team captain to reschedule. 

For clubs with lighted courts, home competitions may begin after 6:00p.m., if both the home team Captain and opposing Captain agree. The first set default time will be 30 minutes after the agreed upon start time and the match default time will be 45 minutes after the agreed upon start time. 


4.    It is mandatory that captains shall include in their weekly report of match results to the League website the number of defaults that occurred in connection with the competition. The Board is authorized to take appropriate action, including suspension, where any team has defaulted excessively. 

5.    Any scheduled match begun but interrupted because of rain, darkness, imminent danger to a player, or other unusual circumstances may be settled by:

a.     The default of either team at that time.

b.    With the agreement of both captains:

1.    Continuation of the match that evening indoors or substituting a 10 point tiebreaker for the third set.

2.    Continuation of the match at a mutually agreeable time and place within eleven days.

3.    Scoring each team a half point as long as it is not the last match of the season and the scoring outcome of that last match does not impact the relegation or advancement of any team within the division.

In the continuation of an interrupted match, it shall begin at the point the match was interrupted, with the same score and the same teams (i.e. the same four players). All of the continued matches for a team do not need to be played at the same time or date. 

6.    In the event that a competition has not been completed according to section C, then the Division Secretary shall make a reasonable effort to confer with each team captain and shall promptly set a date for the competition to be played. In the event that either team does not appear on such date, it shall be defaulted. In the event of a rain-out or rain interruption, the Division Secretary shall reschedule the match. 

7.    If the teams leave the court in an interrupted match without agreeing on any option as outlined in Rule C.5, or if the match should not be played in eleven days, the Division Secretary will make a prompt determination of how it will be scored.  Failure to observe this may include a penalty of up to two points per match for failure to play the match. 

8.    Teams which do not have courts, or sufficient courts, may play �away� more than normal.  For the purpose of providing balls and refreshments (A.7), these teams will be designated �Home Team� for half of their competitions and will be responsible for contacting the other team captain and for providing balls and refreshments at these competitions as indicated on the schedule.


1.    A player must be a male member of one of the clubs in the League. For the Masters Conferences, the player must turn 50 or 60 respectively by December 31st of the current year of play.

2.    Each team may play no more than one junior player during each competition in the Open Conference. Different junior players may play during the season, but never more than one per competition. A junior player is defined as anyone who will not have reached his 25th birthday by December 31st of the current year. There is no lower limit of age.

3.    In the event a team plays  a player who is otherwise ineligible without announcing this fact to the opposing captain and forfeiting the match in which such ineligible player participates, it shall forfeit all matches of the competition. If any ineligible player is announced before the matches begin, ineligible players must play in the lowest positions and those matches are forfeited. .

4.    If a team has been found to play a doubles pair in violation of A.5 they will forfeit all competition matches at and below the �stacked� position.

5.    Where a Club has more than one team in a Conference, the eight (Open Conference) or six (Masters Conference) highest adult ranked players in rank order plus any juniors that are among the top ranked players must be designated for play on only each higher team (#1 team and #2 team if there is a #3 team, and #3 team if there is a #4 team). The designated players may not play for a team lower than their designation. All other interchanges may be made as needed. #1 team captains (and #2 team captains if there is a #3 team and #3 captain if there is a #4 team) must identify their team�s designated players for the current season on the League website before the first match of the season. 

Undesignated players that play for a club with 3 or more teams may not play down more than 1 team from where they normally play (e.g. an undesignated player that normally plays on the club�s # 1 team, could play for the club�s #2 team but not for their # 3 or #4 teams). 

6.    The captain of each team in the League must publish and keep current (on the league website) his roster of players, numerically ranking players from strongest to weakest, classifying them as designated, junior or other classification that the League may require, clearly distinguishing players with the same last name.  The team will only earn points for matches played after the designated players and team rosters are posted on the League website.

7.    When regular members of a higher-ranking team are unable to participate in a competition, the club shall send players so that the pair ranking as described in section A.5 is observed, irrespective of the latter�s usual affiliation with a lower-ranking team. Even last minute unavailability should be handled this way, to the extent possible. The only exception to this practice is that the Captain of a lower ranking team may remain with his team even if his ability as a player would otherwise call for him to play in the match of a higher ranking team. If a higher-ranked team defaults a match, both that team and the team immediately below will be assessed a penalty point.

8.    Where a player belongs to more than one Club, that player may play for only one Club in each Conference during each season. 

9.    Because Clubs have varying rules regarding tennis apparel, players must abide by the dress code of the home team Club or be defaulted. If in doubt, wear �all white� with a collared shirt and tennis sneakers. Team captains must report their club�s dress code to support@fctl.org for posting on www.fctl.org.

10.  No person will be allowed to play in a League match if his job title is that of head or assistant tennis professional or equivalent. An aforementioned tennis professional will be allowed to play under the following circumstances:

a.     He has been a full dues-paying member of the club for at least a year.

b.    He cannot play for the club at which he teaches.

c.     Division I teams will be allowed to field two tennis professionals and Division II teams will be allowed one professional.

d.    The professional will be indicated as a teaching professional on the League�s website.

e.    A junior may teach tennis in the summer as long as it is not year round and he does not play for the club at which he teaches (this rule is intended to allow high school and college students to teach tennis as a summer job).

f.      If the professional will not reach his 25th birthday by December 31st of the current year of play, he will count as both the one allowable junior and one allowable professional.

11.  Teams will not be admitted to the League unless the club can host a minimum of four home matches in the Open Conference or three matches in the Masters Conference each week on HarTru or equivalent courts.  Clubs requesting additional teams must provide proof of court availability for the additional home competitions.  Teams requesting the addition or reporting the removal of a team must notify the League via www.fctl.org by the last day of February.


1.    A membership fee to be determined annually is payable promptly on June 1st. The fee should be sent to the League Treasurer, payable to Fairfield County Tennis League.  The captain of the highest team at a club is responsible for paying the membership fee.

2.    Any disputes concerning these rules or concerning matters not covered by these rules should be directed at once to the Division Secretary. If the Division Secretary is unable to resolve the dispute, he will refer the matter to the Secretary of the League and, if he is unable to affect a solution agreeable to the disputing parties, the Secretary of the League shall forward the dispute to The Board. The Board shall have the power to place a team or player on probation or suspension.

3.    The Board of Directors shall govern the League. 

4.    The Annual Meeting, by a majority of those team captains present and voting, shall elect a Board of Directors and the Officers of the League. 

5.    The Board shall have the power to admit new teams, remove existing teams, realign divisions and move teams between divisions. 

6.    The Board shall receive the Treasurer's report and establish annual dues. 

7.    The Board shall have the power to amend these Rules and Regulations. 

8.    The Board shall consist of up to 11 participants in the League, five of whom shall be the Officers of the League:

a.     President

b.    Vice President

c.     Secretary for Scheduling 

d.    Secretary of the League

e.    Treasurer 

9.    The President shall be responsible for the proper functioning of the League. He shall preside at the Annual Meeting and at meetings of the Board of Directors.

(March 2016) 


Frequently Asked Questions regarding rules

On occasion there have been issues that have not been clearly addressed in the rules or
have led to multiple interpretations resulting in questions or requests for further
clarification. With that in mind, we have provided this FAQ to help clarify some issues. The
rules are still to be considered the “go to” source.
Q. If a player(s) on a higher court i.e. court 1, 2 or 3, has not arrived for the match but is on the
way, can we start the other matches without waiting for the higher court player(s) to arrive.
A. Matches on a lower court i.e. courts 2, 3 or 4 generally should not start until the players from
the higher courts have arrived. This is because if, for example, a player that is intended to play
on court 2 does not arrive, players from the lower courts should be moved up and court 4 would
be defaulted, not court 2. However, if the player is on the way and that is conveyed to the other
team, the other matches can be started, PROVIDED that it is understood that if the “on the way”
player(s) does not arrive all courts will be forfeited from the court the on the way player was to
play on AND the courts below.
For example, Team A is hosting Team B. It’s 6 PM and all players are there except for one of the
players on Team A court 2. That player is contacted and indicates he’s on his way, almost there,
etc. The other matches begin, but the court 2 player doesn’t arrive. The points for courts 2, 3 & 4
are awarded to Team B regardless of the scores. Of course, if the player from Team A does
arrive, but is not ready to play by 6:30 PM or 6:45 PM the rules regarding a late start for that
court can be enforced and the appropriate sets can be defaulted.
Q. Can matches be started when the 4 players scheduled on the same court have arrived? For
example, if the court 4 players are ready can they start?
A. The answer to this is similar to the answer to the question above. The Board suggests that
even if all 8 players from a team are not present the court(s) for which there are players available
can be started, if the absent player(s) is confirmed to be on the way. However, the following
penalties will apply if the player(s) doesn't show up:
If player(s) not showing up is on court #4, then that match will be defaulted (lose 1 point)
If player(s) not showing up is on court #3, then court #3 will be defaulted and court #4 will be
forfeited (lose 2 points)
If player(s) not showing up is on court #2, then court #2 will be defaulted and courts #3 & #4
will be forfeited (lose 3 points)
If player(s) not showing up is on court #1, then court #1 will be defaulted and courts #2, #3 & #4
will be forfeited (lose all 4 points)
Q. It’s 95 degrees and very humid. Both teams want to postpone the match and play it the
following Monday. Can we do that?
A. No! Rescheduling a match does not only involve the two teams discussing the delay. Matches
can only be postponed due to rain or other related issues.
Q. It rained, and our match was postponed. Neither team wants to play on the following Monday
or Tuesday. Can we make the match up at the end of the season or some other time?
A. No! The match is to be played the following Monday or Tuesday, at the election of the home
team. If the home team’s courts are not available the following Monday or Tuesday the matches
can be moved to the visiting club or any other mutually agreeable venue. Postponing matches to
a later date is not fair to the other teams in the division and may also become problematical
because of weather or other influences.
Q. Our matches started and then it rained and they could not be completed. Do we have to restart
all the matches at the same time?
A. No! Matches that have started, but not completed, must be completed in 11 days, but can be
played at different times or venues by agreement and at the convenience of the 4 players on that
court. Rule C-5 provides that the points can also be split by mutual agreement, unless it’s the last
match of the season. If not completed in 11 days, the Executive Committee will decide how
to score the points and can assess penalties of up to 2 points as stated in rule C-7.
Q. Same Q as above, but only 3 of the 4 courts began play. Can different players than those at
the match play in the makeup.
A. No! If any of the matches start, then the lineup for all courts should be maintained for the
completion of that engagement. If none of the matches have started, then the lineups can be
changed for the makeup engagement.
Q. We have 4 teams in the open league. One team is in each of the 4 divisions. If I play a
designated player from my div 3 team on the div 1 team while designated players on the div 2
team play on the div 2 team, it that stacking?
A. Yes, it could be! As above, in adhering to the “best against best” principle the designated
players on the div 2 team are supposed to be better than the designated players on the div 3 team.
Therefore, one of them, in rank order, i.e. the highest designated player available, should move
up to the div 1 team for that engagement. However, if by moving a designated player from the
div 3 team to the div 1 team resulted in a better doubles team than would have otherwise been
the case by playing a designated player from the div 2 team on the div 1 team, it would not
necessarily be stacking.
Q. John Doe is head pro at XYZ Div 1 club. It’s in his contract that his family has a full
membership. Can his son play on the XYZ team as a junior?
A. Yes, the pro is not eligible to play for the club, but his son can.
Q. John Smith is 21 years old and a member of XYZ club. So is his dad. As a 21 yr old John
pays dues but at a lower rate (about 25%) than his Dad and other regular full dues paying
member of that club. John's membership status at XYZ is that he is considered an associate
member The FCTL rules state "A junior player is defined as a non-dues paying member, etc."
Since John pays dues can he play as a regular player, not as a junior thereby allowing XYZ club
to play a junior and John in the same engagement?
A. No, John’s membership is tied to that of his father’s and, while he can play, he would be
considered a junior. The intent of the rule regarding junior members is that only one player
younger than 25 yrs old would play per engagement, the exception being that if that individual
were a full member on his own status, then he would not be considered a junior.
Q. When does a forfeit become effective? If you tell the captain of the other team you are going
to forfeit a match or matches and then the match is rained out, without any of the matches
starting, are you stuck with the forfeit?
A. A forfeit becomes effective when any of the other matches for that specific engagement
begins. So, there is no defaulted court if you tell the other captain you are going to default a court
but none of the matches for that engagement actually start. Calling ahead to tell a captain about a
default is more a courtesy to not inconvenience the opponent rather than to concede the point.
Q. The rules state that if a match does not begin by 6:30 and one team is ready to play but the
other team is not, one set of the match will be defaulted to the team that is ready to play.
Additionally, the match will be defaulted if one of the teams is not ready to play by 6:45 p.m. We
have lights and want to play tennis. Can we elect to play the full match with no set defaults even
though one of our opponents is late?
A. Yes! The team that is ready to play has the option to waive this rule. While it might be
inconsiderate to be late for a match and keep opponents waiting, traffic and other delays are
sometimes unavoidable. On the other hand, sometimes we must be somewhere after a match and
a late start can interfere. However, we are a tennis league and most players want to play tennis.
Some clubs have lights and more summer light would not prevent the match from being
completed if it were to start late. Consequently, the rule can be waived but it is totally at the
option of the team that is on the court and ready to play.
Q. Assume I play our best player available for an engagement, who happens to be our #1 ranked
player, on court #1 with our 5th best player that is available for that engagement. For that same
engagement there are other better (higher ranked) players than our 5th best player that played.
Is it considered stacking?
A. No! If the combination of your 1st & 5th best players available for any given engagement
would beat any remaining combination of players that played in that engagement it would not be
considered stacking. The overall guiding concept should be to create competition that is as
fairly matched on each court as possible. Stacking is frowned upon by the league and
penalties can be assessed if the grievance committee determines that stacking did occur.
Q. In a match on court 1 the receiving team player who was not receiving the serve was jumping
around in and out of the service box and waving his hands. This caused the server to become
distracted resulting in double faults. Is this allowed?
A. No! We abide by the USTA rules which clearly state that any distraction by an opposing
player is considered poor sportsmanship and the point would be awarded to the server even
though the serve was not in. The USTA states that if the receiver's partner suddenly and abruptly
moves away before the ball is struck by the server, then it could be deemed that the only reason
they initially took such a position was to hinder the server, and that is not allowed. The receiver
may change positions to receive serve at any time prior to the serve and may even stand in the
service box. Waving the racquet, making noises or stomping the feet is not permitted by any
Q. Is it stacking if we default the 4th court on one of our teams while our other team in a lower
division plays all 4 courts?
A. Yes, it is stacking! If a team in a higher division defaults a court while that club’s team(s) in a
lower division(s) does not, it is stacking. If this were to happen all lower division teams will be
penalized at least one point. Stated another way, a club in a higher division should never default
a court if it has teams in lower divisions. If there are extenuating circumstances, last minute
injury, unforeseen travel issues, etc., that prevented a player from a lower division team getting
to the higher division match, the penalized team can ask that the point(s) be reinstated by the
grievance committee.
NOTE: These Q&A apply to the open, 50+ & 60+ divisions. However, when reference is made
to 4 courts, for the 50+ & 60+ leagues, court 4 would be changed to court 3.
Q. We have 3 juniors at our club that want to play in FCTL matches. They are among the best
players in our club and we ranked them in the top eight players on our roster. We understand that
only one junior can play on a given team each week, but can we play one of the juniors on our
second team in another division if we already have another of our juniors playing on our 1st
A. No! If a junior is among the eight best players on a club’s roster those juniors cannot play on
a team in a lower division. Consequently, only one of the juniors would be allowed to play in a
given week. Also, in the case where the three juniors are in the top eight players on the roster,
you would be required to designate an additional three members that would also be restricted
from playing on a lower division team, bringing the total designated players for that team to
Rev 1.17

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