Timed Match: Who's responsibility is it to call 'time'?

McLovin

Legend
Played in my 2nd 4.5 40+ league match this past Sunday. In my 1st match, one of our courts was 'timed out' after 1 1/2 hours. On the drive to our 2nd match, me and my partner were discussing timed matches, the fact that neither of us liked them, and also that we were not aware that our matches were actually timed (the club we play at is essentially open only for our matches...when we're finished, they close up).

So, in our match this past Sunday, we lost the 1st set 5-7. We were up 5-4 (on serve) in the 2nd. I looked over at the clock and saw it was almost 7:30. I did the math, and realized if we broke for the set, we'd be tied in sets & games, and was wondering what would happen. Well, we didn't break, so it was 5-all.

It was my turn to serve, and I was waiting for someone to call 'time'. No one did, so we played on. I held, (6-5), then they held. We played a tiebreaker, which we won. So, now the score is 5-7, 7-6. By those numbers, if they had called 'time', we would have lost as they had won 1 more game than us.

We changed sides, and they asked "10-point tiebreaker?"". We said "yes", and we won it 10-7.

Now, first, I would have been fine if they had called 'time' for the win at any moment, but it was an extremely fun match, and neither me nor my partner wanted to stop playing. Both of our opponents were good players, and more importantly, good sports. Line calls were very forgiving on both sides, we complimented each other's shots, and we were joking w/ each other throughout the match & on changeovers.

But...I can't help but wonder if our captain wouldn't have called 'time' if we had won the 1st set.

So, who's responsibility it is to call 'time'? Were we not good sports because we didn't' say anything? Again, it was never stated at the beginning of either of our matches that they were 'timed'. But, knowing that last week's #1 doubles court timed out, we did have 'precedent'.
 
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leech

Rookie
Your local league may have procedures for calling time. In one league in my area, we have to go by the horn/bell if there is one, but if there isn't one, then the visitor captain designates who calls time. In another local league, this is the procedure:

"After exchanging line-ups and before players take to the courts, the team captain or acting captain is required to confirm with all match players how the conclusion of the timed match will be determined. Options available at various clubs include: club buzzers, club clocks, individual watches on the court or cell phone alarms on the court. NO CAPTAIN, COACH OR SPECTATOR can call time for a match other than he/she is playing in."

I usually just let the opponents know I'll be setting the alarm on my phone, and encourage them to do so as well.
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
Local league rules like @leech cited are usually what govern this and outline what is "supposed" to happen. But regardless of the documented rules, if anything other than playing to completion is what should happen, that should be discussed or well understood by all players beforehand and not introduced at "7:30" when one team/player springs it on the other. It sounds like it was not discussed or understood in @McLovin's case, and no one came to kick them off the court, so playing to completion was appropriate.

In my area, we play indoors with 75 or 90 minute court times, but we don't have timed match results. If matches aren't complete at the end of the court time, some clubs allow for the next league match to wait up to 15 minutes to start, or the home team often has an overflow court to use to complete any matches, but sometimes the players have to arrange to complete the match at a later date. Entering a score as a timed match is only a last resort. Prior to a match, players will just confirm what the court time is and ask if there is an overflow court.
 

McLovin

Legend
Ok, so if I understand you both, since it was not verbally stated that the match ended at 7:30, we were under no obligation to mention it was 'time'. But going forward, we should probably all agree whether we're going to play it out or not before we step onto the court.

And of course its easy for me to say now "I wouldn't have called time if the situation were reversed", but really, I wouldn't have. I didn't join this league to 'win', I joined to play some good doubles, and have a fun time. So far, we're 2 for 2 in fun, competitive matches (even though we lost last week in 3 sets).
 

Doan

Rookie
Your local league may have procedures for calling time. In one league in my area, we have to go by the horn/bell if there is one, but if there isn't one, then the visitor captain designates who calls time. In another local league, this is the procedure:

"After exchanging line-ups and before players take to the courts, the team captain or acting captain is required to confirm with all match players how the conclusion of the timed match will be determined. Options available at various clubs include: club buzzers, club clocks, individual watches on the court or cell phone alarms on the court. NO CAPTAIN, COACH OR SPECTATOR can call time for a match other than he/she is playing in."

I usually just let the opponents know I'll be setting the alarm on my phone, and encourage them to do so as well.
The above is for VA, not sure for MD. But as MD plays for 2 hours you have less occurrences of matches timing out. For DC

"Before the start of the match a timepiece with satellite synchronization (cell phone) shall be agreed upon for use by both team Captains or a designee should agree on an official timepiece for matches. Both Captains or designee shall call time at the end of timed match play."
 

McLovin

Legend
By the timed match rules in our area you would not necessarily have lost this match. The procedure kicks in with 15 minutes remaining, and you still would have had a chance to win the 2nd-set tiebreak and match tiebreak, but the former would have been played at 4-4 or 5-5 rather than at 6-6.

Full procedure here if you're curious:

Ok, so maybe my knowledge of the rules isn't correct. If splitting sets, we don't total up the games.

The truth is, I've never played a timed match. I rarely play USTA leagues in Northern VA (where timed matches are more frequent), and those that I have played were always finished in the time allotted.
 

Doan

Rookie
If you need a flow chart to explain - then its more complicated then necessary...

Ok, so maybe my knowledge of the rules isn't correct. If splitting sets, we don't total up the games.
It depends. For NOVA this is the procedure. Also more complicated then necessary...

 

TennisOTM

New User
For NOVA this is the procedure. Also more complicated then necessary...

Interesting, so by these rules in the OP's match, if 7:30 hit in the middle of the 10th game, their opponents could have called time and won 7-5, 4-5 (by the "invalid second set" rule)? Seems unfair, but I guess there's no great solution if you need to abruptly end a match and figure out a winner.

I think it'd be better if 90-minute (or less) timed matches used something like the WTT sets (no-ad scoring and tie-break at 5-5). I guess you'd still need an end-time procedure just in case, but it would rarely be needed. I've played a few matches with crazy scores like 7-6, 1-2, 1-0 because of multiple marathon deuce games in the first set. On the other hand, it seems a lot of people hate no-ad even more than timed matches.
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
There are two sets of timed match rules for Middle States, one for two hour time limits and another for 90 minute lime limits.

Two-Hour Timed Matches

USTA Middle States Timed Match Rules

Format is the best 2 out of 3 sets with a match tiebreak, first to 10 by 2, in lieu of a third set.
However, once there is only 15 minutes remaining on the clock, the match tiebreak is
shortened to the first to 7 by 2(see below on procedure).

If two hours have been reserved for team match play, the following rules will be in effect:
Time will be determined by a clock that is agreed upon by all players prior to the start of the
match. We recommend players use their cell phone to set the alarm and put the phone on
mute.

With only 15 minutes left in the match, the game in progress is to be completed and the
following will apply:
a. If one team is ahead by two games or more, they win that set.
b. If the teams are tied in a set, they play a Set Tiebreak (first to 7 by 2). Players may
switch every 6 points
c. If one team is ahead by only one game, play one more game, and then either “a” or
“b” will apply.
d. If sets are split, play a Tiebreak (first to 7 by 2) for the third set. Players may switch
sides every 6 points.
e. If you are in the middle of a Tiebreak, the TEAM AHEAD when the time expires wins
the tiebreak. When time is expired and there is a tie in a tiebreaker, play ONE
SUDDEN DEATH POINT to determine the winner of the tiebreak.

90 Minute Timed Matches

Format is the best 2 out of 3 sets with a match tiebreak, first to 10 by 2, in lieu of a third set.
If tied 6-6 in the set, play the first to 7 by 2. However, once there is only 10 minutes remaining
on the clock, the set tiebreak and the match tiebreak are shortened to a 9 point (see below
on procedure).
 Time will be determined by a clock that is agreed upon by all players prior to the start of
the match. Set the clock for 1 hour 20 minutes from the start time. We recommend
players use their cell phone to set the alarm and put the phone on mute.
 If indoors, players may remain on the same side throughout the entire set. They will
switch sides in the second set. Drink breaks are allowed on the odd games except for
after the first game.

If the second set has not been completed with 10 minutes to go:
a. If the server is in the middle of her game, she must complete her service game with no
ad scoring.
b. The team leading by one game, wins the set.
c. If the teams are tied in games in the second set, play a 9 point tiebreaker for the second
set (9 point - see below)
d. If the first and second sets are split, play a 9 point tiebreaker

9 Point Tiebreaker
The person or team who is to serve next begins the tiebreaker. Each player serves two points in
succession starting from the deuce court. The first team to score five points wins the
tiebreaker. If the tiebreaker reaches 4-4, the person who served the eighth point serves the
ninth (final) point. The receiving team has the choice of sides. The winner of the ninth point is
the winner of the set.

Captains can agree to have players remain on the same side for an entire set, particularly if
you are playing indoors.
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
By the timed match rules in our area you would not necessarily have lost this match. The procedure kicks in with 15 minutes remaining, and you still would have had a chance to win the 2nd-set tiebreak and match tiebreak, but the former would have been played at 4-4 or 5-5 rather than at 6-6.

Full procedure here if you're curious:

What's interesting about this is that it says that you do not switch sides during a set, but you do in a match tb. That is a question that came up in a different discussion earlier in the week.
 

Doan

Rookie
Interesting, so by these rules in the OP's match, if 7:30 hit in the middle of the 10th game, their opponents could have called time and won 7-5, 4-5 (by the "invalid second set" rule)? Seems unfair, but I guess there's no great solution if you need to abruptly end a match and figure out a winner.
Correct. And I've seen instances where players are unaware of the NOVA rules and use the # games won. e.g win first set 7-6, losing 3-4 and cellphone rings. They then play a sudden death tiebreak point and lose a match which they would have won.

You also matches where people throw away a 1st or 2nd set to give yourself enough time to get to the 10point tiebreak. I've done it myself.
 

5sets

Professional
Played in my 2nd 4.5 40+ league match this past Sunday. In my 1st match, one of our courts was 'timed out' after 1 1/2 hours. On the drive to our 2nd match, me and my partner were discussing timed matches, the fact that neither of us liked them, and also that we were not aware that our matches were actually timed (the club we play at is essentially open only for our matches...when we're finished, they close up).

So, in our match this past Sunday, we lost the 1st set 5-7. We were up 5-4 (on serve) in the 2nd. I looked over at the clock and saw it was almost 7:30. I did the math, and realized if we broke for the set, we'd be tied in sets & games, and was wondering what would happen. Well, we didn't break, so it was 5-all.

It was my turn to serve, and I was waiting for someone to call 'time'. No one did, so we played on. I held, (6-5), then they held. We played a tiebreaker, which we won. So, now the score is 5-7, 7-6. By those numbers, if they had called 'time', we would have lost as they had won 1 more game than us.

We changed sides, and they asked "10-point tiebreaker?"". We said "yes", and we won it 10-7.

Now, first, I would have been fine if they had called 'time' for the win at any moment, but it was an extremely fun match, and neither me nor my partner wanted to stop playing. Both of our opponents were good players, and more importantly, good sports. Line calls were very forgiving on both sides, we complimented each other's shots, and we were joking w/ each other throughout the match & on changeovers.

But...I can't help but wonder if our captain wouldn't have called 'time' if we had won the 1st set.

So, who's responsibility it is to call 'time'? Were we not good sports because we didn't' say anything? Again, it was never stated at the beginning of either of our matches that they were 'timed'. But, knowing that last week's #1 doubles court timed out, we did have 'precedent'.
Usually the person winning calls time in my experience. And then afterwards says we can keep playing for fun if you want.
 

winchestervatennis

Hall of Fame
Played in my 2nd 4.5 40+ league match this past Sunday. In my 1st match, one of our courts was 'timed out' after 1 1/2 hours. On the drive to our 2nd match, me and my partner were discussing timed matches, the fact that neither of us liked them, and also that we were not aware that our matches were actually timed (the club we play at is essentially open only for our matches...when we're finished, they close up).

So, in our match this past Sunday, we lost the 1st set 5-7. We were up 5-4 (on serve) in the 2nd. I looked over at the clock and saw it was almost 7:30. I did the math, and realized if we broke for the set, we'd be tied in sets & games, and was wondering what would happen. Well, we didn't break, so it was 5-all.

It was my turn to serve, and I was waiting for someone to call 'time'. No one did, so we played on. I held, (6-5), then they held. We played a tiebreaker, which we won. So, now the score is 5-7, 7-6. By those numbers, if they had called 'time', we would have lost as they had won 1 more game than us.

We changed sides, and they asked "10-point tiebreaker?"". We said "yes", and we won it 10-7.

Now, first, I would have been fine if they had called 'time' for the win at any moment, but it was an extremely fun match, and neither me nor my partner wanted to stop playing. Both of our opponents were good players, and more importantly, good sports. Line calls were very forgiving on both sides, we complimented each other's shots, and we were joking w/ each other throughout the match & on changeovers.

But...I can't help but wonder if our captain wouldn't have called 'time' if we had won the 1st set.

So, who's responsibility it is to call 'time'? Were we not good sports because we didn't' say anything? Again, it was never stated at the beginning of either of our matches that they were 'timed'. But, knowing that last week's #1 doubles court timed out, we did have 'precedent'.
I’d have lost a bet on whether your partner was old enough for 40s.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Here's Maryland's rule for our league:

"Official Match Time Piece and Who Calls “Time:” Where a facility uses a horn, bell or similar device to announce time, and it can be heard on the courts where MCTA league matches are in play, then it shall be relied upon as the official timepiece for all matches. Where no such device is present or operable, then the Home Team Captain shall determine the official timepiece to be used for the match and the Visiting Team Captain shall determine the person responsible for calling “Time” using said timepiece. No other means of time notification to players on court is permitted."

There is usually another team waiting to come on court when a match times out (or the facility is closing), so you don't have the option to keep playing. But if all players decide they want to keep playing when a match should time out, then that's their agreement.

I personally don't like it when my players want to keep playing. Sure, you can all agree to keep playing. But what are you going to do if you keep playing and the facility manager walks up and says you have to stop (because you didn't pay for the extra time or the place is closing or someone needs that court after all). Then what is your agreement? Nah. Just end it when you're supposed to.
 
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