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A guide to the players’ code of conduct at tennis grand slams

A guide to the players’ code of conduct at tennis grand slams
Friday, 04 December 2020 By Saksham Samarth

At this year’s US Open in September, world number one, Novak Djokovic, was disqualified after a line judge was hit in the throat[1] by a ball that he struck towards the back of court in anger after losing a point.

Opinions were divided on whether disqualification was the correct outcome, given Djokovic’s clear lack of intent to cause harm. However, the relevant rules, which are contained in the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) Grand Slam Code of Conduct (which can be found in the Official Grand Slam Rule Book[2]) are unequivocal.  They describe the actions that call for a disqualification and, in such cases, the relative intent of the player is immaterial.  

This article provides a guide to the Grand Slam Code of Conduct for tennis players, and will examine:

  1. Background - the Grand Slam Rule Book;
  2. The different categories of offences for players;
  3. Player on-site offences;
  4. How penalties are levied and what leads to a default (including Djokovic's case); and
  5. Are the rules applied equally to men and women?

Capitalised terms used in this article are as defined in the Grand Slam Rule Book

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Written by

Saksham Samarth

Saksham Samarth

Saksham Samarth is an Associate at Vandellos Sports Law in Valencia, Spain. He primarily works in Sports Dispute Resolution preparing legal submissions before international sport adjudicating authorities, drafting employment contracts, representation agreements and transfer agreements. He regularly advises on regulatory, commercial and contractual issues in football.

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