» USTA League Tennis


Tony Stephens has asked that all league players have access to the league information that the team captains receive.  So, we hope you take advantage of referring to this document whenever you have questions.

To the Captains of USA League Tennis teams (Adult, Mixed, Senior):  The following information needs to be read carefully.  It outlines duties as a captain, contains information needed to start a team, and information with procedures regarding important league rules and policies.  Please be aware that there will be no captains' meetings again this year as everything will be done by the Internet, mail, and/or phone.

The basic steps to enter and have a team compete in any of the "USA League Tennis" Leagues sponsored by the USTA is as follows:

  1. Properly fill out and mail in the registration form, which is stapled on the outside of the captain's registration packet as soon as possible.
  2. After mailing in the registration form, wait to receive the Internet Team Registration number.
  3. Give the Internet Team Registration Number to all team members so they may register for the team on the Internet by the registration deadline.
  4. Wait for the season match schedule to arrive by mail.
  5. Any questions, call 298-8228.

INFORMATION ON THE USTA Tennis Link - Using this system, USTA members are able to

  • register for local league play;
  • enter and confirm or dispute league match scores;
  • pay player fees ($18 $2 Internet use fee for each league season);
  • access team rosters, scores, and standings;
  • renew memberships or join the USTA.

ATTENTION:  League changes for the 2004 season

  1. The 4.5 and 5.0 competitive levels will not have any playoffs for SW Sectionals.  The winning team will be determined by the best Win/Loss record for the season.  Ties will be broken by the USTA tiebreaker method.  (Voted on and approved by the NNMTA Board.)
  2. In the Adult League, all levels will play a complete round robin with the possibility of playing one ALB/SF match on a weekday at 6:00 p.m.  (local change)
  3. If there are TWO "total team defaults" for any team, this team will be dropped from the league - NO REFUNDS, NO EXCEPTIONS!  (Presented as an option to League Coordinators by the Section.)
  4. There will be a specific weekend at the end of the Mixed Doubles season for local playoffs instead of matches played during the week. (local change)
  5. There is no deadline for player registration.  That is, players can register for your team right up until the last day of the season.  (Recommended by Nationals)


In each of the three leagues--Adult, Mixed, and Senior the following will apply:

Due to the USTA Rule 3.01(1)* complete round robins must be played, therefore eliminating "incomplete" round robin play.  The Round Robin format will be as follows:

2 teams = will play a minimum of 3 times; the teams may play more times if they both agree;

3 teams = can play as many times as they all agree;

4 teams = will play all teams 3 times (9 matches);

5 teams = will play all teams 3 times (12 matches);

6 teams = will play all teams 2 times (10 matches);

7 teams = will play all teams 2 times (12 matches);

8 teams = will play all teams 2 times (14 matches);

9-20 teams = will play all teams 1 time.

  • Levels with 4 or less teams will play a round-robin format.  The team with the best win-loss record will advance to Sectionals without playoffs.
  • Levels with 5 or more teams will have a playoff to determine the team that will advance to Sectionals even if a team is undefeated after playing a seasonal round robin.  (See "CHAMPIONSHIPS")
  • If there is a tie to determine a team for any playoffs, the USTA tiebreaker method will be used.  For each level, the season win-loss record will determine the playoff seedings.


  • Due to the increase in size of the Adult League, each Albuquerque and Santa Fe team, playing in the same group, may be scheduled to play a match in the other city at 6:00 p.m. on a weekday during May and June if there are not enough weekends for SF/Alb matches.  Every effort will be made to have as many SF/Alb matches played on the weekends as possible.
  • Every effort will be made not to schedule matches over Easter Sunday, Mother's Day, and the Fourth of July, NTRP tournaments and, if necessary, only the 2.5, 3.0 and 3.5 divisions over Memorial weekend.
  • All Adult League local playoffs will be held on the same weekend and if court availability and scheduling permits, they will be played within 1 week after the finish of the local season and NOT be scheduled over a holiday weekend.
  • No matches will be scheduled on the weekends of NTRP tournaments.


  • Albuquerque will be recognized as the hub for this league.  Each Albuquerque team will be required to travel one (1) time to Santa Fe/Northern Counties.  All other league matches involving Santa Fe or Northern County & Albuquerque teams will require travel to Albuquerque.
  • Senior playoffs will be held during the month of February after the season ends with the teams having the best win-loss record as the higher seeds.  If the two teams cannot agree on a date during the playoffs, then the League Coordinator will select the first available open date at the home facility for the match to be played.


  • For the 2004 season, matches will be held on Monday through Friday evenings at 6:00 p.m. with no matches played on the weekends due to NTRP tournaments.
  • Albuquerque will be recognized as the hub for this league.  Each Albuquerque team will be required to travel one (1) time to Santa Fe/Northern Counties.  All other league matches involving Santa Fe or Northern County & Albuquerque teams will require travel to Albuquerque.
  • This year, all Mixed League local playoffs will be held on the same weekend and if court availability and scheduling permits, they will be played within 1 week after the finish of the local season and NOT be scheduled over a holiday weekend.


  • All players and especially captains must be aware of the scheduling situation regarding "home" matches at some facilities.  Each facility, at the beginning of the season, gives their allowance of the number of courts that can be used at specific times of the day at their facility for scheduled league matches.  If, during the scheduling of league matches by the League Coordinator, the allowance of courts at a certain facility are all used up, the pro at that facility will be notified that there are no more courts available at their facility with more matches to be scheduled there.  At that point, the Facility Pro will make the decision to either allow more courts for the remaining matches to be scheduled there or for the remaining unscheduled matches to be played as "away" matches.
  • Rescheduling Matches-- If a match needs to be rescheduled due to bad weather, please check with your facility first.  Each facility has a master schedule.  Matches should be made up as soon as possible.  Once a new date is established, teams are committed to play on that date unless inclement weather occurs.  Also, notify your facility if you cancel a match.  If you have begun a match, you should resume your makeup match where you stopped.  Both teams should decide on a makeup match date before they leave the site.

NOTE:  At the end of each season there will be a 1-week time period to be used for makeup matches.  If any makeup matches are not played by the end of that time, then those matches and other unplayed matches will be entered into the TennisLink database as double defaults--NO EXCEPTIONS!!

NOTE:  If both captains cannot agree on a rescheduled date, call me and I will assign one.  THE POLICY IS THAT THE FIRST OPEN DATE AT THE HOME TEAM'S FACILITY WILL BE USED.

NOTE:  If your team is scheduled for a match at an inconvenient time, you and the other captain may change it, as long as both captains agree.  Five days notice should be given if a captain wants to reschedule a match and that captain should offer 3 different dates for the rescheduled match.

PLAYER REGISTRATION--Each player must be a USTA member or they cannot register for a team.  The membership must be valid through the end of the league season.  A player's NTRP rating must be equal to or lower than the NTRP level specified for the specific level of competition.  A player is allowed to register without an DNTRP rating by "self-rating" themselves when they register for their team on the Internet.  Self rating can only be done if you have not been computer rated in the past 5 years [3.01D(2)]*.  All player registrations are done on the USTA Website titled TennisLink.  The addresses are http://usta.com or http://national.usta.com.

NOTE:  A player must be registered on the roster in order to play in a match; if a player plays in a match before being registered, that match will result in a forfeit.

Procedure to register for a USA League Team:

  • go to the following Website:  http://national.usta.com
  • enter the USTA membership number
  • enter the 9-10 digit team ID number & the telephone number in the associated boxes
  • click on "Next Step"
  • continue to enter the credit card information
  • "Submit" all of the information.

NOTE:  If the player is not a USTA member at the time of registration, they will have to join the USTA at this Website in order to register for a USA League team.

SCORECARDS--"Scorekeeping" along with everything else will be done through the USTA Internet TennisLink.  A few copies of scorecards will be enclosed in the captain's schedule packets to be used for team lineups before each match.  Scorecards will also be accessible from the Internet on TennisLink.  You will need to make more copies to be used during the season.  As in the past, the lineups must be completed and given to the opposing captain no later than match default time (15 minutes after match time for local teams or 30 minutes for out of town matches).

NOTE:  If a captain does not have the lineup ready to exchange by match default time, their total team will be defaulted resulting in a forfeit.

TEAM LINEUPS--The procedure for the team lineup exchanges before matches is as follows:  The lineups should be filled out and exchanged at match time.  The latest the lineups can be exchanged is at default time, NO LATER.  For local matches, if one of the teams is going to default a match, it should not be revealed until "lineup exchange time."  The reason for this is that if information is revealed earlier, the team receiving the default can readjust their lineup to play an already weak "few position team."  For Santa Fe/ Albuquerque matches, refer to the category HOME TEAM below. 

If lineups have been made out and exchanged, the matches have begun, and the match is stopped due to weather, etc., new lineups may be presented at the makeup match only for individual matches that had not begun play.  Forfeits from the original match date will stand.  If the home team is unable to provide courts for a makeup, the visiting team may provide courts assuming there are available courts at that facility.

NOTE:  In Mixed Doubles the ratings are to be written next to the player's names on the initial lineup.  There cannot be more than a 1.0 difference in NTRP ratings between the two partners or the combination of the partners' ratings cannot exceed the level at which they are playing.  Mixed League captains are responsible for checking the ratings of their opponents (ratings can be checked on TennisLink) to determine that the difference between partners is not more than 1.0 or that the doubles team is playing legally at their level.  If the abuse of the 1.0 Mixed League rule or the "above level" rule is not caught by the opposing captain and reported to the League Coordinator within 24 hours, the results will stand.

REPORTING OF MATCH SCORES-Any member of either roster may enter the match results.  Once on TennisLink, on the right side of the page under "League Players," click on "Record a Score."  Enter the match identification number and enter the pertinent information:  date played, player names, scores, etc.  It does not matter if "Home" & "Away" are reversed.  After the match results have been entered, click on "Finish."  If the results have already been entered, review them and click on either "Confirm" or "Dispute."  If the results are disputed call the League Coordinator in order to make any changes.  If a match ends in retirement enter the score up to the point of retirement and list the match as "Retired" instead of "Completed."

Step-by-step procedure to enter League match scores:

  • go to the following website:  http://national.usta.com
  • right side of the page, under "League Players," click on "Record a Score"
  • enter the 6 digit match number
  • click on "Next"
  • review the team names and if correct, click on "Next"

NOTE:  It does not matter which team is the home or visiting team, only that they are the correct teams.

  • enter the date played
  • enter the correct players' names and scores
  • under each match result, click on "Completed," "Retired" (with score), "Default," "Dbl Default" or "Timed Match"
  • click on "Next"
  • if everything is correct, click on "Finish"
  • the opposing team has 48 hours from the time of entry to confirm the score entry or the score will stand as entered.

HOME TEAM:  Each team must designate a home location.  We need to know from your facility, before the league starts, what surfaces your opponents can expect to play on when they go to your facility.  Be sure to inform your facility of your team.  Be certain that your facility will be able to provide courts for your home matches!!  The home team provides balls and pays court fees.  About half of your matches will be at home.  The City of Albuquerque asks that any teams playing out of their facilities pay their league home match fees before the league begins (after you have received the team schedule).  The home captain should let the other captain know if water is not available on the courts.  In reference to Albuquerque vs Santa Fe matches only:  If the home team will not have a complete lineup of players, the home team MUST notify the visiting team of the positions that will be defaulted.  The reason for this is so players will not make the trip to the other city with no one to play.

MATCH FORMAT:  The entire Adult League match, three doubles and two singles (two doubles and one singles for 2.5, 5.0 and Open), must be played on the same date.  Teams are encouraged to field their team in order of strength.  For the Mixed and Senior Leagues, the entire match consists of three doubles teams.  NOTE:  2.5 teams will consist of 1 single and 2 doubles (3 matches).

AGE--MEMBERSHIP:  Players must have a USTA membership.  Players must reach the minimum age of 19 before they can play a match in the Adult or Mixed League.  Players must turn 50 before they can play a match in the Senior League.

Need Players?  The Albuquerque Tennis Complex keeps a list of players who need teams.  You may get players from this list.  I also have a list of players looking for teams and teams looking for players (298-8228).


The Adult League season will be scheduled for approximately 11 weeks beginning when Daylight Savings Time begins.  The league cannot start any earlier due to darkness in the evenings and must end by the end of June due to Sectionals being the first weekend in August.  Matches will be scheduled between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on the weekends and at 6:00 p.m. on weekdays, Monday through Friday.

The Mixed League season will be scheduled for approximately 7-8 weeks beginning in late June and continue through mid-August.  The matches will be scheduled on weekdays, Monday through Friday at 6:00 p.m.  All Mixed League local playoffs will be held on the same weekend, and if court availability and scheduling permit, they will be played within one week after completion of the local season and not be scheduled over a holiday weekend.

The Senior League season will be held in the Fall of each year, usually from mid-September through the end of February.  The matches will be played only on the weekends.  The month of March will be used for playoff matches.

Be aware--If a team is in contention for the District or Sectional playoffs, all of their matches must be completed by the deadline (unless a particular unplayed match has no effect on the playoff standings).  NO TEAM WILL BE ALLOWED TO PROCEED INTO THE PLAYOFFS BY "LAST MINUTE" TOTAL TEAM FORFEITS.

MATCH TIEBREAKER--The players in all of the matches in all three of the leagues have the option of playing a Match Tiebreaker in place of the third set under the following rules:

  1. ALL players must agree to play the Match Tiebreaker.  If just one of the players (singles or doubles) does not want to play the tiebreaker, then the third set must be played.
  2. The Match Tiebreaker is played until one of the opponents reaches 10 points by a margin of 2.
  3. There are two times when the decision can be made to play the Match Tiebreaker.  Those times are at the beginning of the match or when the players split sets.
  4. The score for the third set, if the Match Tiebreaker is played, is 7-6.

RULES--The USA League Tennis rule book is accessible on TennisLink (click on "USTA League Tennis Rules").  USTA rules apply to all matches.  Warm-up is limited to 10 minutes including practice serves.  No break is taken between the 1st & 2nd games of each set with a 2 minute break between the 1st & 2nd sets.  A 10 minute break, along with coaching, may be taken when teams split sets and choose to play a third set.  If a deciding Match Tiebreak is chosen instead of a 3rd set, a regular 2 minute set break is taken.

WEATHER--If the wind, not gusts, is over 30 mph you may reschedule.  The weather number in Albuquerque is 821-1111.  If the wind is blowing over 30 mph and one of the captains wants to reschedule then the match must be rescheduled.  If both captains agree to play the match when the wind is over 30 mph then the results will stand.  If outdoor matches are scheduled and the temperature is below 40 degrees and either captain wants to reschedule, the match must be rescheduled.  For information on temperature and wind, check the Weather Channel (54); the internet--click on this great  site (once there, scroll down a bit and enter city on the left hand side)--you'll get access to Albuquerque and Santa Fe current conditions; or your local Weather Service's phone line (for Santa Fe and Los Alamos).

DARKNESS--In the event that the length of a league match goes into darkness, our local District Rule states that if one of the players has problems seeing due to darkness, the match must be stopped, the score must be written down and initialed by both players, and the match must be rescheduled at that point to be finished before the end of the season.  However, if a lit court is available at your site, the match will be completed at that time.

WET COURTS--Obviously, if the courts are too wet to play on then matches have to be rescheduled.  If there is a difference of opinion between the captains as to the playability of the courts due to wetness, then a neutral party should be brought in to determine if the courts are too wet, such as the pro or the manager of that particular facility.  If the "wet court" situation takes place before match time at the match site, the forementioned procedure should take place at match time with all the players who are going to participate present.  If there is ANY possibility that the match could be played (such as clearing skies, drying courts, etc.) all players must wait at the site for a minimum of 30 minutes.  If the courts are not playable at the end of the 30 minute time period, the match must be rescheduled.  Captains should keep in mind that if any matches begin, those same players must be prepared to finish the matches at a later date. 

DNTRP RATINGS--Each person participating in USA League Tennis or sanctioned NTRP Tournaments must have a current verified DNTRP rating.  Those new players without current DNTRP ratings can "self-rate" themselves into the USA League or NTRP Tournaments.  (NOTE:  Self rating can only be done if you have not been computer rated in the last 5 years.)  This year new DNTRP tentative ratings will be published on the Internet on TennisLinkThe appeal period is from mid-November to December 15th.  A player must fall within the "appealable guidelines" in order to appeal their rating.  A medical DNTRP appeal may be submitted during the year only due to a disabling injury or illness.

USTA MEMBERSHIPS--Please remind players to renew their memberships.  It is your responsibility to make sure those players do apply or renew.  As of now, USTA Membership Renewals and New Membership Enrollment can be done on the Internet by using TennisLink at http://national.usta.com.

FORFEIT TIME--Forfeit time is 15 minutes in town and 30 minutes out of town.  Rio Rancho is considered out of town.  The 30 minute rule applies to the traveling team.  THE HOME TEAM MUST ABIDE BY THE 15 MINUTE RULE.

FORFEITING MATCHES--See pages 12-13 in the rule book [3.03L(1&2)].*  These guidelines must be followed.  In Adult League, number 2 singles must be forfeited before #1 singles.  Number 3 doubles must be forfeited before #2 doubles.  For Mixed and Senior Leagues, #3 doubles must be forfeited before #2 doubles.  These forfeits must be done according to the scorecard lineup, that is, the lineup cannot be reset if a player or players do not show up.

DISPUTES--All disputes occurring during a match must be settled prior to continuing play.  Once a match is completed the results must stand.  This does not apply to disputes over a player's DNTRP rating.  If the captain is not at the match, a person must be designated as acting captain.  Keep in mind that USA League Tennis is a non-officiated league.

ETIQUETTE--It is assumed that good sportsmanship will be exhibited by all.  Remember to call the score.  No spectators should be on the court or voicing their opinions.  Absolutely no coaching is allowed except for the 10 minute break between the 2nd and 3rd sets [3.01H(6)].*  If a tiebreaker is played in place of the third set, play must be continuous with no coaching.

ROSTER ADDITIONS, DELETIONS, REFUNDS--The addition of players is permitted up until the last day of the season.  If there is a player to be deleted, contact the District League Coordinator who will delete the player from the roster and then mail the player or captain a refund.

GRIEVANCES AND DNTRP COMPLAINTS--The grievances or complaints must be submitted in writing to the District League Coordinator within 24 hours of the match.  The Coordinator will appoint a committee to review the written complaint.  The Committee will then meet with the player and player's captain either before the next team match of the player or team involved or within 24 hours after the end of league play season, whichever is first [2.02B(1)].*

CHAMPIONSHIPS--The winners are determined by the season win/loss records.  If there is a tie to determine a team for the playoffs, the methods on p. 13 (the USTA tiebreaker method) of the 2004 rulebook will be used to break the tie [3.03I(1-5)].*  For each level, the season win/loss record will determine seeding. 

NOTE:  The method for determining how many teams from each level will participate in the district playoffs is as follows:

4 teams or less at a level = the team with the best win/loss record will proceed to Sectionals without having local playoffs;

5-10 teams at a level = 2 teams with the best win/loss record from round robin play will proceed to the local playoffs;

11 or more teams = 4 teams with the best win/loss record from round robin play at any level will proceed to the playoffs (#1 plays #4 and #2 plays #3).

BE AWARE:  For teams who are very close in the standings for the playoffs, only the teams who have played all of their matches will be considered for the playoffs.  The only exception is if the remaining unplayed matches mean nothing.

Example of the rule:

2 teams go to the playoffs at a particular level; there are 10 matches to be played in the season; the following are the standings at the deadline:

  • Team A = 8 wins & 2 losses
  • Team B = 7 wins & 2 losses
  • Team C = 7 wins & 3 losses
  • Team D = 5 wins & 5 losses
  • Team E = 2 wins & 7 losses

Teams A & C go to the playoffs because they have played all of the matches, while Team B only played 9 matches.

Example of exception to the rule:

2 teams go to the playoffs at a particular level; there are 10 matches to be played in the season; the following are the standings at the deadline:

  • Team A = 8 wins & 0 losses
  • Team B = 8 wins & 2 losses
  • Team C = 5 wins & 5 losses
  • Team D = 4 wins & 5 losses
  • Team E = 2 wins & 7 losses

Teams A & B go to the playoffs because, even though Team A did not play all 10 matches, it will not change the standings. 

PLAYOFFS--The local Adult League playoffs must be held at a facility which has a minimum of 15 outdoor courts on the last weekend of June.  Adult League Sectionals are usually scheduled by the SWS to be played around the first weekend in August; therefore, our District winners must be determined a month before Sectionals.  This time period gives the players time to get the best rates on flights to the Sectional location and gives the captains and SWS office enough time to complete all paperwork.  This one-month time frame between Sectionals and Nationals applies to Seniors and Mixed Leagues as well.

Whenever a level is divided into two groups, one in Santa Fe and one in Albuquerque, the winner from each group will play the finals of those playoffs in Santa Fe on the even years and in Albuquerque on the odd years.

Whenever there is one large group of teams at a level which contains both Santa Fe and Albuquerque teams, the seeding is as follows:  1st place plays 4th place and 2nd place plays 3rd place.  Each time the higher seed is the home team.


  1. A player must play in two local league matches to be eligible to play at Sectionals.  (A win by default counts as a match played.)
  2. To receive a DNTRP computer rating for 2004 league play, a player must play two matches in Adult or Senior League or a Grand Prix NTRP tournament.  To default a match in the Adult or Senior Leagues or playing in only the Mixed League doesn't count, but a player who wins by default in the Adult or Senior Leagues gets credit for a match played.
  3. Be aware that new ratings come out on the Internet (through TennisLink) in mid-November and the appeal period is ONLY until mid-December.
  4. Remind players about ten minute warmup including serves, good conduct on the court, no coaching from others, and only players are allowed on the court.
  5. USTA memberships need to be renewed in order to play in USTA leagues or NTRP tournaments.

Clubs that have less than five courts:

Albuquerque Country Club - 4 courts; three doubles are played, then singles

Coronado Club - 4 courts; usually another court close-by can be used

Santa Fe Country Club - 3 courts; any other SF courts including Capitol High School may be used

Los Alamos - 4 courts

White Rock (Los Alamos) - 3 courts

Designated Court surfaces for facilities that have indoor courts in addition to outdoor courts:

Lobo Tennis Club - Adult League = 5 outdoor; Mixed League = 3 outdoor; Senior League = 3 outdoor; Super Senior League =

El Gancho - Adult League = 2 indoor & 3 outdoor; Mixed League = 3 outdoor; Senior League = 3 outdoor; Super Senior League =

Sangre de Cristo - Adult League = 1 indoor & 4 outdoor; Mixed League = 3 outdoor; Senior League = 3 outdoor; Super Senior League =

Shellaberger Tennis Center - Adult League = 5 indoor; Mixed League = 3 indoor; Senior League = 3 indoor; Super Senior League =

NOTE:  Rules for USA Adult League Play involving tennis facilities with indoor courts. . .

  1. Indoor courts must have working ventilation.
  2. The Visiting team captain has the option to call the Home team captain 48 hours in advance to find out which position will be played indoors.
  3. If an agreement cannot be reached as to which position will be played indoors:  Adult League = Doubles only will be played indoors with the Home team captain determining which doubles positions will be played indoors; Senior & Mixed Leagues = #1 doubles will be played indoors.
  4. If the match is not completed in the time frame of two hours, the facility is at liberty to charge the players their normal fees to finish the match in their indoor courts.
  6. Matches can only be changed from indoor to outdoor OR outdoor to indoor with the agreement of both captains or acting captains.


  1. Make sure that all team players are registered on the Internet.
  2. Make sure that all team players are aware of all District & Sectional playoff dates.
  3. Pass on all important league information to the team members.
  4. Work with other captains to reschedule any makeup matches that have to be played; if no agreement can be made, call the District Coordinator who will assign a date.
  5. Provide lineup cards for all matches.
  6. Be certain that anyone acting as captain, in the absence of the official captain, is well aware of the captain's responsibilities at match time.

If you have more questions, we have provided several sites you can check.  The first site gives you information on the USTA League Tennis Rules.  These rules were referenced throughout the document and shown with an asterisk.  For this site just click on this link.  You might also like to read The Code which is found in the Friends at Court rulebook that officials use.  This gives you reference for line calls, courtesy, warmups, hindrances, etc., that we all come across in matches.  Here is your link to that site. Thank you for your support in making our leagues so successful.  If you have any questions, please call Tony Stephens evenings before 9:00 p.m. (298-8228) or send an email to feb61987@aol.com.

Tony Stephens, USA League Tennis Coordinator, USTA Northern New Mexico District, Southwest Section (505-298-8228) 

This document was compiled along with Tony Stephens by a League Rules Committee and approved by the Board of Directors of the NNMTA, March 2004.