What Is A Walkover In Tennis

Every sport has its own regulation to make it fair and clear for the contestant and viewer. The walkover is one of the tennis rules to handle the critical situation that arises during gameplay or tournament.

Walkover meaning is if a contestant wins because the other component has been disqualified or not able to play due to illness or injury. The walkover announcement should be official in a tennis league or tournament as the ranking factor is involved with this declaration. Here, you will know all the theories of what is a walkover in tennis.

Walkover policy

When a player gains a victory without competing with the other player in a tournament, it is called a walkover. This situation occurs when the opposite player cannot play the match, but the competition requires a game to be played. Here are some situations that result in walkover: 

  • If one contestant is canceled without notification within 24 hours. 
  • If a player faces injury during the warm-up and is unfit to perform the tournament. 
  • Before the match, if one gamer is late for up to 30 minutes without proper justification, it will be a walkover victory. 
  • If a player suspends the match for personal issues, he will be looser, and the opponent will be the winner.  

The consequences of walkover

The walkover policy was embodied to enhance the importance of tennis tournaments. It helps the contestant to stick to the match schedule. Moreover, the tennis league can make a worthy decision if the game gets postponed on short notice. If a gamer who withdraws, retires or defaults a match, shall be supposed to admit losing the match ultimately.

Winning team:

The player who wins the walkover victory can earn the league points in advance. So it is granted to the opposite competitor, as he/she is responsible for the postponed match. If the player is too sick, he probably cannot perform the match. The tennis league doesn’t force it in that situation. 

Administrative errors

The walkover rule is aimed at keeping things legitimate and straightforward for those involved with the tennis tournament. If the player makes an administrative mistake, it can turn up a walkover victory. 

If this occurs, the team is given another schedule when supposed to play the game. In the match, the penalty team can earn all scores per round as well as bonus scores. The previous score will also add to the current match. It shouldn’t add the penalty points for administrative errors.

Loser team: 

Expect administrative errors; if you delay playing the match for sickness and injury, then you will get a penalty score from the referees. This rule will remain in force if you commit violence against the rules, breach of codes, instant defaults, and lateness. 

Typical walkover example

For example, in Aegon Championship at Queen, Grigor Dimitrive has given a walkover victory. Alexandr Dolgopolov has got some injury that leads to retirement, which is the main reason for Dimitrov walkover. Dolgopolov cannot recover till the quarter-final match; in turn, Dimitrov reached trip four without hitting a ball. 

There are many other tournaments while winning, such as the Tsitsipas walkover and Rublev walkover. As you can see, a walkover is one of the important rules in tennis for the quick declaration when something unexpected happens. This alives the match’s achievement and ranking for the skilled players. 

Tennis walkover vs withdrawal 

Along with walkover, withdrawal is also a common term in tennis games. As you know, the referee has declared walkover Victory if the opponent has an illness, injury, or other personal issues. When the opponent gives a written statement of ineligibility for the game and can not part further for the day, it is called withdrawal. So which team declared the inability, then it will be under the withdrawal term. 

Withdrawal before entries close: 

If the player decides to cancel the entry before entries are closed, it won’t impact the National Ranking factors. This is because the player won’t be part of the entrant. To withdraw from the match, the player needs to cancel the entry from the TennisLink Registration System. In this way, no suspension point will be leveled. 

Withdrawal after entries close:

When a player is a part of a match and wants to drawback because of illness, injury, personal emergency, written notification is required for withdrawal. This withdrawal will impact the ranking factors as the player won’t get any tournament points. To withdraw from the match, the player needs to immediately contact the referee or director and then withdraw from the match.                     

Walkover vs retirement in tennis 

The matches are in progress, but it is reported as an incomplete or Retired game due to the player’s disability issues; it is called retirement. Here are some circumstances that may responsible for retirement:

  • Physical injury or illness.
  • Due to personal problems.
  • Due to disagreement between players.
  • Failed to complete the match within the ample reserve court time. 

While reporting, provide the exact score while the match was quit and the motive why the players can complete the game. If a player leaves the match mid-way for personal reasons, the player is called a retired player. 

The player will lose the tournament but will get points up to 8 points for the previously completed match. The opposite player will gain a walkover and either add 12 or 14 points. Meanwhile, in the division reviewing, the retired player’s score will be remarked as “R,” and the opposite will remark as “W” because of getting walkover victory. If a player retires, no player will get the rating as the match is not finished. 


During a tournament, any exhibit of violent behavior will not be acceptable. The player will immediately default for the violent behavior and won’t be able to perform the match. If the referee finds guilty of the violent rule, the player will default and won’t get any ranking points for the tournament. There are high chances of depriving of the future tournament. Here are some violent activities:

  • Intentionally hits the ball to the opposite player to cause injuries. 
  • Throw the racquet to cause injuries. 
  • Physical attacks on the referee, contestants, spectators, and other officials of the tournament.
  • Any dishonest acts like spitting someone, sexual abuse, making racial, religious disrespect.  

In the default system, there are the types of penalty system such as: 

Lateness Defaults

When the match ground is ready to play, he will get defaulted or penalized if the player fails to appear within 15 minutes of the scheduled time. The players may get various default penalties as he oversteps the rule. The penalty type depends on the minutes of the lateness. The worst-case is if the player can not appear in 30 minutes, he will automatically default, and the opponent will get a walkover victory.  

Violation Default 

During a tournament, if a performer breaks the regulation of the match, then it will be under code violation. For this unsportsmanlike behavior, the United States Tennis Association has composed a particular point penalty to control the violence. This rule ensures fair judgment on the playtime. If the player refuses to obtain the decisions of tournament officials, don’t obey the rules and regulations, purposely postponing the event, and deliberately shattering the racquet. 

If the player’s act is under the code violation, he is given a warning in the meantime. The next time, if he repeats the same code violation, he will get one point penalty. If he continues the code violation, he will be punished for one match. In the next tournament, if he oversteps the same code violation, the player will certainly default.  

The Frequently Asked Questions

What is the meaning of walkover in tennis?

If one player can’t attain the game or leave the game mid-way, the opponent will win the walkover victory. Walkover victory is a significant rule of tennis that makes the game fair for everyone involved in the tournament. 

Why did Serena William walkover?

In Melbourne’s Yarra Valley Classic, Serena Williams walkover in her semifinal due to a right shoulder injury. She was coming off 6-2, 4-6, 10-6 victory during the quarterfinals, over the opposite fellow American Danielle Collins.

What is won by walkover?

When a player gets a walkover victory, he will win the round and get points. But in the walkover rule, no player will get national ranking points as the tournament is not completed. 

What is the meaning of walkover in table tennis?

Table tennis’s rules and regulations are much similar to tennis. The walkover meaning in table tennis is if a player cannot participate in the game for injury or personal reasons, the opponent will win automatically. So the walkover regulation is similar to tennis. 

Final words

In the article, you have been aware of the detailed theory of walkover in the game. Walkover makes it simple for the tennis league if one player has some injury or personal issues. Moreover, if one player is the default, the opposite player will win the walkover victory. Overall, it is a significant organization from the US Tennis Association.

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