What Happens If It Rains During A Tennis Match? (Find Out)

Rain can put a damper on any type of sporting event. When you consider the fact that tennis players need to have solid footing to be able to play at 100%, you would think that the game would have to stop. Professional tennis players would agree with you, but others would argue that you should play rain or shine. What actually happens if it rains during a tennis match, though?

As a general rule, professional tennis matches will be delayed for up to 20 minutes to see if the rain stops. If it is still raining after that amount of time, the scores and details will be written down, and the match will be set for a later date, beginning where they left off.

Rain makes the playing field slippery, especially when made from clay or grass. The point is to keep the players safe from injury, not necessarily to keep them dry. Professional rules require the match to stop, but there are some circumstances when the match would have to continue. Read on to find out.

Do Tennis Matches Continue When it Rains?

The rules that have been set into place by the United States Tennis Association (USTA) are clear when it comes to rain and the match that is being played in it.

The players will sit it out for 20 minutes until the rain stops. The match can continue if both parties and the official agree that the court is safe for them to play on.

There are exceptions to this rule, which will be covered shortly.

The USTA governs professional games, though, so the players will have to go with what the officials say. If they say it is time to call a delay, the players will take a break and wait for better weather.

However, if the match is not professional, it will be up to the people playing.

Let's take a look at when the match will continue.

  • Pro match:

    In some places worldwide, it rains a substantial amount of the time. If the matches were delayed or rescheduled all of the time, you would never be able to actually play.
  • Amateur match:

    Matches that are not professional do not have to follow the same rules because they are not governed by the rules of the USTA.

    Playing through the rain is expected because they do not have the luxury of waiting around or rescheduling for a different day.
  • Personal match:

    If you have a private match with friends or family, you may find playing in the rain fun. That will ultimately be up to you and your opponent, but be careful of your footing if you play in the rain.

You will stop playing if you play tennis on a professional level. If your level of play is anything else, you may have to continue playing.

It will depend upon the rules of the match and what the official desires. If you are playing for fun, the decision will be up to you.

What Happens When a Match Gets Rained on?

You have already read about when the match would be delayed or rescheduled, but what happens to the professional players when the rain comes down.

Other than the players getting wet, some rules are set in stone. So there is no question from anybody involved about what happens.

  • Report to the official:

    The first step is for both players, or all four if it is a doubles match, to approach the bench where the official and the scorekeeper are sitting.
  • Scores:

    Both players must agree with the score that has been recorded. If not, you will have to go into an in-depth discussion until the point amounts are resolved.
  • Serving order:

    The order of the serve will be maintained. If you were serving at the time of the delay, you would serve once the match commences.
  • Balls:

    The person serving will keep the balls that they had. No replacement balls will be accepted for play when the match begins again.
  • Coaching:

    It is allowed to have some coaching during the break.
  • Warm-up:

    A warm-up is allowed once play has resumed.

The official rules are set for professional tennis players to keep them safe. It also sets a guideline for them to follow that is fair for everyone involved.

Rain may not seem like a big deal to most people, but you need to have a playing surface that offers solid footing when you are going all out.

How is The Tennis Match Started Back up?

If the rain stops within 20 minutes, all the players and officials will get back into position, just like nothing happened.

The players will have the option to check out the court on their own, and if they feel that the surface is still unsafe, they can approach the official and request to reschedule.

If they think that the request is substantiated, the match will be called for the day. If not, it will resume.

  • Positions:

    The players will take their positions just like when the original match started, and they need to be on the same side that they were when the game was delayed.
  • Scores:

    The match will start with the scores achieved before the rain begins.
  • Serve:

    The player that had the serve before will continue this. The same balls will be used in the same position they were in before.

Basically, the match will resume just like it has never been stopped. The main difference is that the court could still be wet.

It is essential to adjust how you play to prevent injuries.

Keep a rag close by to wipe off your hands and your racket. Stay as dry as possible, using what is allowed within the time you have.


Playing tennis in the rain is not the safest thing you can do, but it may be fun if you play it safe.

You may think that it would be essential to continue with the match, but it is better to wait when it comes to safety. If you have to reschedule, do so.

It is never suggested that you play tennis in the rain, but if you must, slow down and concentrate on volleys. You will not be able to run at full speed, so you will have to rely on your skills of placing the ball.

Brian Henderson

I am what you might call a true tennis fanatic. When I am not on the tennis court teaching or playing myself, I am probably writing an informative article about tennis. My goal is to get as many people as possible excited and informed about tennis.
June 9, 2022
Published: June 9, 2022