Rules of Play

The Professional divisions at IRT events will follow USAR rules, with the following exceptions, please scroll down for spanish version:

1. Game

    • All matches consist of the best two (2) out of three (3) games.
    • The first two games of a match are played to fifteen (15) points. The tiebreaker, if needed, is played to eleven (11) points. All games must be won by one point.
    • A coin flip determines which player serves first in the match. The winner of the coin flip has the choice to serve or receive. Total points in the first two (2) games determine the server in the third game. In the event of a tie, another coin flip will determine the server.

2. Appeals

    • In any match using instant replay or line judges, players are allowed 2 lost appeals per game in games to fifteen, 1 lost appeal in the tiebreak to eleven. Players may not leave the court during an appeal. An appeal is considered lost if the referee’s call is upheld, unless the ruling is inconclusive.
    • A match-ending rally can be appealed even if no appeals remain.

3. Court

    • All surfaces shall be in play, with the exception of any gallery opening, surfaces designated as out-of-play for a valid reason and objects that are not considered part of the court determined before play begins by the IRT Representative. Anything inside the court is considered part of the court, making it in play unless it is added such as a microphone, speaker etc.
    • There are no court hinders.
    • The referee should stop play immediately whenever the ball hits any part of the court that was designated in advance as out-of-play.
    • The referee should stop play if after striking a wet spot on the first surface that the ball hits after the front wall only on the serve. If play is not stopped by the referee, play continues as usual. If the ball hits a wet sport during play, play continues.
    • A noise outside the court does not result in a replay if a player stops play. Play must continue.

4. Serve

  • Screen Serve
      • The referee should call a screen serve immediately, not considering whether the receiver requests it by raising their hand. Factors for considering whether the ball passed too close to the server are:
            1. Where the ball would hit on the back wall; the angle of the ball toward the corner; whether the receiver paused before moving; the height of the serve; whether the server dodged to avoid the serve; whether the receiver was in a central court position.
            2. The server (and partner in doubles) may leave the service zone as soon as the ball is struck on the serve.

5. Questioning/Arguing Referee Calls

    • A Player may only question a rule, or interpretation of a rule. Excessive arguing with the referee may result in a warning or a technical foul. First offense could be a warning, and additional offenses are a technical foul resulting in loss of point. See Section 2 above for Appeals

6. Time between Serves

    • The 10-second rule applies to the server and receiver simultaneously when both players are in the general vicinity of their serve or return positions. Collectively, they are allowed up to 10 seconds after the score is called to serve and be ready to receive.
    • The referee shall call the score and the 10-second count shall commence; if more than 10 seconds is taken, a technical warning is issued for delay of game. Each infraction after will result in a technical foul.
    • It is the server’s responsibility to look and be certain the receiver is ready. If a receiver is not ready, they must signal by raising the racquet above the head or completely turning the back to the server (these are the only two acceptable signals). Any intentional delay of game such as kicking the ball, hitting the ball after the rally out of frustration or any other delay in the referee’s judgment shall result in a delay of game warning then each infraction after shall result in a technical foul. If the server serves while the receiver is signaling “not ready”, the serve will be replayed, not canceling any previous fault serve. If the server repeats this, a delay of game on the server shall be called.

7. Timeouts

      • Each player is entitled to one, one-minute timeout per game.
      • The player must make the referee aware of the time-out and may not leave the court until the referee acknowledges the time out. A technical foul will be assessed if a player leaves the court without the permission of the referee.
      • Receiving player may not call a timeout after the service motion has begun.
      • Player can take a time out between the first and second serve.
      • Calling a timeout when no timeouts remain or after service motion has begun will result in the assessment of a technical foul for delay of game.
      • The referee is responsible for informing the players when 10 seconds remain in the timeout.
      • The referee will strictly enforce the 60-second timeout per game.
      • The first infraction of this rule will warrant a technical warning from the referee.

8. Equipment Timeouts

    1. Players are expected to keep all clothing and equipment in good, playable and safe condition.
    2. Adjustment and replacement of equipment is expected during regular timeouts and time in between games. However, if a player is out of timeouts and the referee determines that an equipment change or adjustment is necessary for fair and safe continuance of the match, the referee may grant an equipment timeout not to exceed 30 seconds.
    3. Equipment worn or played with by the player applicable to a referee granted 30 second equipment timeout includes: broken racquet frame, broken racquet strings, broken eye guards, broken or untied safety wrist strap, wet shirt (shirt considered to be wet if during diving the court becomes excessively wet and slows the game down for continual drying or water from shirt drips onto the court), wet kneepads, torn clothing, torn/ripped glove, broken shoe lace or torn shoe or any other item deemed in need of change or adjustment by the referee so as to continue the match fairly and safely.
    4. The referee is responsible for informing the players when 10 seconds remain in the equipment timeout.
    5. The referee will strictly enforce the 30-second equipment timeout.
    6. The first infraction of this rule will warrant a warning from the referee.
    7. The second and subsequent infractions will result in a delay of game technical foul.
    8. Wet gloves will not be included as part of a referee granted equipment timeout. Each player will be expected to use (1) the time prior to the start of the match, (2) the timeout granted during the game, or (3) time in between games to secure a dry glove for continued play. 
    9. If a player is unable to obtain replacement equipment, the referee may consult with an IRT Commissioner or IRT representative, and the match may be forfeited.

9. Injury Timeouts

    • If a player is injured during the course of a match as a result of contact, such as with the ball, racquet, wall or floor, an injury timeout will be awarded. While a player may call more than one timeout for the same injury or for additional injuries that occur during the match, a player has a total of 15 minutes for injury timeouts during a match.  If the injured player is not able to resume play after the 15 minutes is used, the match shall be awarded to their opponent.
    • Should any external bleeding occur, the referee must halt play as soon as the rally is over, a referee timeout is called allow to allow the player to stop the bleeding in a reasonable amount of time determined by the referee and/or the Commissioner. Play shall not continue until the court has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected if necessary.

10. Time between Games

    • The period between all games is two minutes.
    • The referee is responsible for informing the players when twenty (20) seconds remain before play for the next game is to resume.
    • All rest times between games will be strictly enforced by the referee.
    • The first infraction of this rule will result in a warning from the referee.
    • The second and subsequent infractions will result in a delay of game technical foul.

11. Match Start Times and Time between Matches

    • The first matches of each round will start at the times stated on the draw, provided that the players receive 15 minutes to warm up on the court. Subsequent matches will begin 15 minutes after the previous match has ended. For example, if a match ends at 6:15 pm, the next match begins at 6:30 pm.
    • Players will be checked in automatically for their IRT matches.
    • Warm-up time: In singles, both players are allowed 15 minutes of shared court warm-up time. In doubles, each team will receive 7.5 minutes of warm-up time, and the lower seed will warm up first.
    • Players do not have to wear eyeguards or wrist cords during warm-up, but they must use them as designed once play begins.
    • It is the responsibility of the teams to be ready to warm up.
    • If a player is not at the club, or prepared to play, a technical foul will be assessed for each minute the match is delayed. After 4 technical, the Referee may declare a forfeit.

12. Rules Arbitration

    • The IRT Commissioner and will have the final call on all rules questions or disputes. If the Commissioner is not available, an IRT designated official will have the final say.
    • The IRT Commissioner or IRT Representative will have the authority to answer questions and resolve conflicts on site and during matches. At any time during a match, a player may request a ruling from the IRT Commissioner or IRT Representative. The opinion of only the acting official is necessary to resolve any issue that may arise. There is no appeal.

13. Broken Balls

    • If the receiver or server makes contact with the ball with their racquet after the end of the rally and the ball is then determined broken, the previous rally shall not be replayed and will stand as is unless it is determined by the referee that the ball was indeed broken during the rally; the rally will then be replayed.
    • If the ball is squeezed by hand after the rally is over and before it is struck by a racquet and determined to be broken, the previous rally will be replayed.
    • Purposely striking the ball after the rally with the intent to impede the above rule shall result in a technical foul for unsportsmanlike conduct.

14. Penalty Hinders: Jumping

    • A “cross-court” shot is defined as a shot from the point of contact to the front wall that would bounce from the front wall toward either back corner without touching a side wall. A “straight-in” shot must contact the front wall directly in front of the contact point. Both “cross-court” and “straight-in” shots must contact the wall either on the same horizontal plane as the contact point or at the bottom of the front wall. If a receiving player jumps and clears this height on either a cross-court or straight-in shot but is contacted by the ball or the hitting player holds up, a replay hinder will be called.

15. Technical Faults

    1. The following would apply to all quarterfinal, semifinal and finals:
    2. First technical foul per match: loss of point.
    3. Second technical foul in a match: loss of point and $75 fine.
    4. Third technical foul in a match: loss of point and $150 fine.
    5. Fourth technical foul in a match: forfeiture of match.
    6. Early round matches with several technical fouls may be subject to review or player forfeiture by IRT Commissioner or Representative.
    7. All technical and forfeiture is final decision. All fines are appealable to the IRT Commissioner and/or disciplinary commission.

16. Officiating

    • All previous match losers, including both players from a pro doubles match, are expected to either officiate or line judge the next match or the first IRT match the following day. Failure to referee or line judge will result in a $100 fine plus cost associated with paying a replacement referee or line judge. Total not to exceed $200. The IRT will supply a referee for all quarters, semis and finals matches which will be paid by those playing in these rounds.