Within the USTA, United States Tennis Association, there are many tennis official certifications and several levels within each. A USTA line judge can work at the local, national or professional level; each one has specific training, testing and on-court requirements. For a complete understanding of the requirements, visit the USTA website.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Friend at Court
Join the USTA; it is required for all USTA officials. Contact your USTA sectional or district Chairman of Officials to obtain information regarding umpire training and testing. Purchase the current Friend at Court. This is an inexpensive booklet containing the Rules of Tennis, The Code and USTA Tournament Regulations. You will need to know and thoroughly understand the rules. Visit the USTA website to obtain information on membership and contact information for the Chairman of Officials in your area.
Become a Provisional Umpire, an entry level official. This does not require attending a USTA training course, but you may be required to attend a training session in your area. You will need to take and pass an open book test. Once you have completed the test, obtain a data card from your sectional chairman, fill it out, have it signed by the chairman and turn it in to the USTA official's office indicating you have taken the test for the Provision Umpire classification. This will add you to the USTA's database of certified tennis officials.
Get involved in local tournaments to become familiar with USTA tournament and officiating regulations. To get certified as a USTA Line Umpire (UL), you must attend the required training courses and pass the written tests appropriate for this type of classification. You must also have officiated for a minimum of 10 days as a line umpire with a satisfactory evaluation. Keep a data card updated with the events you worked and have the event Chief of Umpires or Referee validate your card. Turn in your card each October to your Sectional Chairman.
Maintain your USTA Line Umpire certification and work 20 days as a line judge at national, ITF, and professional tournaments with satisfactory national evaluations in order to become a National Line Umpire (NL). Record all the tournaments and training sessions you attend on a data card. Have it validated by the Chief of Umpires or Referee at each event you work and submit it to your Sectional Chairman each October.
Maintain your USTA National Line Umpire certification and work 50 days as a line judge at professional tournaments with prize money of at least £32,500 in order to become a Professional Line Umpire (PL). Some of the matches you work must have prize money of at least £97,500. Record the events you work on your data card, have the card validated and submit it to the National Chairperson of Officials.
Tips and warnings
- All USTA on-court officials are required to have yearly proof of 20/20 vision, either corrected or uncorrected.
- The provisional umpire test can be downloaded from the USTA website.
- For all USTA Line Umpire, National Line Umpire and Professional Line Umpire requirements, refer to the USTA website.
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