Tennis Betting Rules | Bookmakers & Exchanges

As mentioned in our previous article, ‘Why Bet on Tennis’ the sport provides plenty of fantastic betting opportunities. It should be your number one choice when it comes to sports betting and with our great range of tips at Tennis Tips UK, you will never go wrong in terms of making the correct bets, at the right time. Let’s take a look at another crucial part of trading tennis markets – Tennis Betting Rules and the potential impact they have on profitability.

Before placing any bets on tennis, it’s wise to become familiar with the rules of tennis betting. It’s surprising how many people place bets, on sport in general but especially on tennis, without gaining an understanding of the rules beforehand. There are a number of tennis betting rules, which many punters have been caught out by and then taken to the internet or social media, to complain they lost their stake as a result. Unfortunately, these rules were in place before the bet was placed and this is nothing anyone can do, to reverse the decision.


Imagine placing a large bet on a specific outcome in a tennis match, only for an incident in the match to cause it to end early and as a result, your stake is lost. We cannot stress enough, how important it is, to have a good understanding of tennis betting rules. Here at Tennis Tips UK, we want you to bet on tennis, in full confidence you know exactly what to expect and the only way to do that, is by knowing tennis betting rules.
Tennis betting rules can actually differ by bookmaker, so to make things easier, we have selected the most popular bookmakers for tennis betting (those with the largest choice of markets and best reputation) and will explain fully, the rules you need to know.
However, firstly, there are a number of common incidents, which will not have an impact on your bet and these are the following:

  1. A change of venue
  2. A change in the schedule of matches
  3. A change from playing the match indoor or outdoor
  4. A change of surface, before a match has started

If any of the above happen, your bet will stand.

Player Retirement and Match Betting

Much of the confusion when it comes to tennis betting rules, surrounds the retirement of players. During the 2016 Wimbledon tournament, there were a number of players who failed to finish their matches, for different reasons. Kei Nishikori of Japan retired in his fourth round match with a rib problem, during the second set. He lost the first set and was 5-1 down in the second, before calling it a day. Richard Gasquet also retired during his fourth round match at Wimbledon, with a back problem. He was losing the first set 4-2 and was 40-0 down to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, when he confirmed he could not continue. So, what happens to your bet, if you have placed one on either Nishikori or Gasquet to win their match?

Tennis Betting Rules | Example from a Leading UK Based Bookmaker

Tennis Betting Rules | Example from a Leading UK Based Bookmaker


Well, the outcome depends on which bookmaker you have placed your bet with. For the purposes of this example, we are going to look at Bwin, Betfair and Bet365. With Bwin, their rules state that as soon as the first point has been played, your bet will not be refunded, regardless of retirement. So, if you had placed a bet on either Nishikori or Gasquet to win their match, you would have lost the bet, as Bwin classes the person who is awarded the match by the umpire, as the winner. Therefore, if betting on a tennis match with Bwin, you know as soon as the first point has been played, you run the risk of losing your bet, if your player retires.

If you had placed a bet on Nishikori with the Betfair Sportsbook, the bet would have stood and you would have lost your money as a result. This is because Betfair deem the player who has not retired as the winner, if one set of the match has been completed. Nishikori had completed the first set and as a result, the best is lost. However, if you placed a bet on Gasquet to win his match, the bet would have been declared void, as the Frenchman retired before the first set was complete. Therefore, your stake would have been returned. This applies to bets being placed using the Betfair Exchange.

Immediately, you can see the difference between the outcome of a bet with Bwin and Betfair, for the match involving Gasquet. With Bwin, the bet would have been lost but with Betfair, the bet would have been classed as void and the stake returned.

Now on to Bet365 and as you might have guessed, different rules apply at this bookmaker too. If you placed a bet on Gasquet to win his match with Bet365, the bet would have been void and your stake returned. However, if you placed a bet on Nishikori to win his match, despite having completed one set, the bet would still be classed as void and the stake returned. This is because at Bet365, if a player retired at any stage of a match, the bet is void, regardless of the score in the match, at the time of the retirement.

This example, shows exactly why it is important to become familiar with the tennis betting rules of the bookmakers you are using regularly. Furthermore, if you have checked the history of the player you are betting on and they have been struggling with injury recently or have withdrawn from tournaments on a specific surface regularly, it may be best to use a bookmaker who will return your stake, if they retire from the match.

There are more retirements during tennis matches than you probably think and as mentioned above, it’s wise to know the injury history of the player you are backing. Take Mexican tennis player, Daniel Garza, who’s matches end in retirement 9% of the time, with 75% of those being due to him retiring. You would want to use a bookmaker who will void the bet, at whatever stage the match is at, such as Bet365, if you were to bet on a match involving Garza.
You may find the odd bookmaker, who will only void a bet following retirement, before 2 sets have been completed but this is rare.

Another factor to take into account with player retirements, is it may not be the player you have backed to win the match, who retires. In this instance, the same rules apply but depending on who you placed your bet with, the outcome of the bet will differ. If it’s an early retirement, in the first game of a match for example and you bet with Bwin, you will win the bet. If you had placed the same Bet with Betfair, sportsbook or exchange, the bet would have been void and likewise with Bet365. If the match had gone into a second set and you placed your bet with Betfair, you would have won the bet, so it can work both ways but a good rule of thumb, is to try and use a bookmaker where the entire match has to be completed, in order for the bet to stand.

In conclusion, there are four groups of bookmakers to consider, when placing a bet on the outcome of a tennis match. Those who allow the bet to stand, after the first point has been played, regardless of a player retirement. Those who require one set to be completed, before the bet will stand, those who require two sets to completed before the bet will stand and those who require the match to be completed, for the bet to stand. It’s your choice which bookmaker you decide to use but with this information in mind, always check their player retirement policy before placing a bet on a tennis match.

Outright Winner Betting Rules

One area of tennis betting which all bookmakers agree on, is the outright winner market. If you had placed a bet on Nishikori or Gasquet to win Wimbledon, regardless of the bookmaker you used, the bet would have been classed as lost. As soon as a player leaves a tournament, regardless of whether they have been eliminated because they lost their match, they were injured during a match or withdrew from a match before it was played, the player is deemed to have been knocked out of the tournament and all bets will stand and thus be lost.

Game and Set Betting Rules

All the major tennis bookmakers, such as Bet365, Betfair and Ladbrokes, all agree on the rules when it comes to the settlement of bets involving game or set betting. If a player retires from a match and a game has not been completed, the bet will be declared as void and all stakes returned. If a game is interrupted for any reason, such as a break in play for the weather or because the trainer was required but the game resumes and is concluded, the game will be deemed as complete. If a game is completed because the umpire awarded a penalty point, the game is deemed to be complete and all bets will stand. However, if a game is completed because the umpire has awarded a penalty game (this is a very rare occurrence), any bets on the outcome of that game, will be void and stakes returned.

Tennis Betting Markets | Complex Rules Apply

Large Range of Tennis Betting Markets | Complex Rules Apply for Each Individual Bet Type


In terms of set-by-set betting, if a player retires from a match, while the set is in progress, the set is deemed to be incomplete and all bets will be classed as void. If betting on the number of sets in a match, bets are void if the statutory number of sets are not completed. For example, if you placed a bet on match between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray to go five sets but Djokovic was forced to retire in the second set, the bet will be void and the stake returned.

The same rule applies when betting on who will win the first set. If the first set is not complete, the bet will be void and again, this rule is in place at the majority of the popular bookmakers but it’s always a good idea to check the rules at each individual bookmaker, before placing a bet.

Tie-Breaks

Similarly, to game and set betting, most of the major online bookmakers, all agree on the same rules when it comes to tie breaks. It’s possible to bet on tie-breaks in a number of ways but the most common are whether there will be a tie break in the first set and if there will be a tie-break in the match.

In regards to betting on whether there will be a tie-break in the first set, if the set reaches 6-6 in games, then the set is deemed to have reached a tie-break situation. Even if a player retires prior to the tie-break actually starting, the first set has still gone to a tie-break in the eyes of the bookmaker and those who have bet on the first set going to a tie-break, will win the bet and those who have done the opposite, will lose.

When betting on the possibility of a tie-break occurring in a match, once the match has started, if it is not completed for any reason and a tie-break has not been required, the bet will be void. The same applies if a match finishes due to a retirement in the final set, where a tie-break cannot happen, such as during the final set of matches at Wimbledon.

Break of Serve

Some bookmakers, such as Bet365, offer you the chance to bet on which player will break serve first in a match. More often than not, this is very straight forward to settle, as nearly all tennis matches feature a break of serve at some stage, even if the deciding set has to go on until 70-68 in games, as it famously did at Wimbledon, there will be a break of serve. However, on the rare occasion a match is completed without a break of serve, the bet will be settled as a push and your stake will be returned.

Aces

Some bookmakers, including Bet365, will allow you to bet on the number of aces served in a match. However, if a player retires or is disqualified, the bet will be deemed as void. Therefore, the match must be completed, for the number of aces market to stand.

In-play

In-play betting has become huge with online bookmakers in recent years and tennis has played a large part in its growth. The rules for in-play betting, on aspects of a tennis match, such as the number of sets and total games can differ slightly, from pre-match tennis betting.

For example, if betting in-play on the total number of sets, such as 2, 3 or 5, this bet will be void, if a player retires. This is because the outcome of the market, cannot be determined, having placed a bet after the match has started. If betting in-play on the total number of games in a set or match and a player retires or is disqualified, all bets will be void.

Other Types of Bet

There are also other forms of tennis betting, which may not be as popular as the ones discussed above but still need some clarification in regard to the rules. If betting on the fastest serve in the tournament, a player only needs to serve one ball, for the bet to stand. If the player withdraws before he/she has served a ball, it will be void. When betting on the nationality of a winner, the bet will stand, even if the player you have backed withdraws from the tournament, for any reason.

If you have placed a bet on the number of sets a player will drop during a tournament and the player retires from a match or does not start it, this will count as 2 or 3 sets dropped, depending on the format of the tournament.
When betting on the stage of elimination in a tournament, as soon as a player plays one point, all bets will stand and if betting on whether the winner of an event will be an odd or even seed and an unseeded player wins, the bet will be void.

Summary: Bookmaker & Sports Betting Exchanges Tennis Betting Rules

As you can see, there are a number of tennis betting rules and they can easily come into play and have an impact on your bet. We have provided a thorough breakdown of these rules and have also highlighted how various bookmakers, can have a different take on the same incident, before or during a match.
When using our great selection of tennis betting tips, always make yourself familiar with the rules of tennis betting at the bookmaker you are using and avoid being caught out when a player retires. Use this article for reference and take note of the situations in which a bet will be void or settled. Enjoy betting on tennis, safe in the knowledge you know exactly what to expect, from any outcome during a match.

Which Bookmaker or Sports Betting Exchange offer the Most Favourable Tennis Betting Rules from the Punter Perspective?

Tennis Tips UK typically recommend using a sports betting exchange. Especially to our VIP Club members whom face issues such as bookmaker account closures and severe limitations due to sustained profitability. There are various sports exchanges included Betfair, Ladbrokes/BETDAQ and Smarkets. Each have their respective pros and cons such as range of markets and liquidity.

Overall Matchbook.com are the best choice in most cases as they offer the lowest commission rate (at 1%). The tennis rules for match winner bets require that the first set must be completed for bets to stand. Research has found this benefits our members more than any other variation of tennis rules for bet settlement in this market.

tennis betting rules matchbook exchange


Tennis Betting Rules Graphic from Tennis Tips UK:

Tennis Betting Rules (Retirement, Injury)

Tennis Betting Rules Graphic | Match Winner Settlement Rules


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