What is a tennis official?

  • A person who helps ensure that any given tennis match is conducted under the fairest possible conditions. So, ideally, the official is a friend at court, helpful to the players and the spectators.

Why should I be a tennis official? Because you…

  • Love the game.
  • Have a keen interest in seeing that it is played under the best and most fair conditions.
  • Enjoy having first-hand contact with it whereby you can make a useful contribution to tennis.

How do I become a tennis official?

  • See separate link on the steps required. There are several steps required!

How do I get assigned to tourmanents?

  • Join HTUA to receive training and tournament availability forms. HTUA will work with the tournaments to assign officials. The membership form is located on the website under “Rules and Forms.”

What is the reference book for officials?

  • Friend at Court (FAC), available (~$5.00 plus postage) from HTUA. Officials who turn in their Nucula work record by October 15th will receive a free Friend at Court in January of each year. You can order the latest Friend at Court by clicking here.

Do I get paid, or is it volunteer?

  • Most local tournaments pay according to the latest HTUA fee schedule. You can request the latest version from HTUA. Some tournaments are staffed with volunteers (wheelchair tournaments, charity tournaments, etc.). While in training, you may be unpaid or paid but at a lower rate than when fully qualified.

Where do I get my uniform?

Some professional tournaments provide special uniforms. For all other tournaments, you should wear the USTA official’s sanctioned shirt. It is available at S&H Uniforms click here.

  • Khaki shorts or pants can be purchased from a store of your choice.
  • Proper attire: official shirt tucked into khaki pants, mostly white tennis shoes, web khaki or black belt.
  • All outer wear must have no logo other than the new USTA logo.

Do I qualify to just work local tournaments?

  • You are eligible to work any tournament in the US. You must contact the chief umpire for each tournament. Do not attend unless notified that you have been selected to work.

How often must I work?

  • You may work as much or as little as your available time allows. Of course, to advance in your officiating capabilities, you should work as much as possible.

What should I bring to each match?

  • You should bring a stopwatch, tape measure, and a small notebook to keep notes. A handheld stopwatch is required.
  • Some tournaments will provide food. In other cases, you must provide your own food.

What are my tax consequences?

  • You are an independent contractor. You will declare this as self-employment income and you may need to pay state and federal income taxes as well as social security self-employment tax.

How do I become eligible for college matches and tournaments?

  • The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) requires a separate certification. You must pass their tests and shadowing must pass the USTA and ITA exams.
  • Each Section or District may have its own schedulers for college matches. Check with your district chairman.

How do I become eligible for professional tournaments?

  • To become a line umpire at a professional event, one must attend a line umpire clinic at specified Futures or Satellite tournaments throughout the country. The schedule of these tournaments is available in Nucula. The Texas Section also offers line training at special tournaments.
  • You must attend at your own expense. If the training session is successful, you may be asked to stay and work part of the qualifier or the main draw. By working this event, you will acquire work history which may allow you to apply for later events during the year.

How do I advance in the officiating ranks?

  • Each year, officials are evaluated at various events when a Trainer/Evaluator is present. If your evaluation at the event is better than expected, then you are allowed to progress to the next level. Officials should work events with a trainer evaluator present if they wish to advance quickly in the officiating ranks. However, bad visibility or poor evaluation is worse than no evaluation when attempting to advance.

How do I get to work at the US Open?

  • The officials who work the US Open are selected from a large pool of officials who apply. They all need to have prior experience working professional lines. The US Open staff list is selected from among the best-qualified applicants.