How To Become A Tennis Umpire? Exclusive Guide + Inside Tips

When a match takes place at a big tournament, all the credit is kept for the two players. However, it is not true, there are some officials involved in the match whose decision can make or break a first-class encounter.

The chair and line umpires at the tournament have to keep complete focus on the game. They have to be very clear and observant while having strong decision-making.

Before we learn how to become a tennis umpire? Let’s first clarify the difference between an umpire and vs referee. The referee in tennis decides any law that a chair umpire is unable to decide on.

Moreover, in such cases, the decision of the referee is considered final. He supervises all of the aspects a tennis match covers.

So, what are the things that you need to learn to become a good umpire? We have researched and prepared a perfect piece of article here for you.

Let’s learn in detail!

How to Become a Tennis Umpire?

How to become a tennis umpire?
How to become a tennis umpire?

If the appointed top tennis officials can focus on the match then the player can give their best performance.

Professional tennis umpires have to be on top form to make a match successful. Making decisions quickly and accurately is also important.

To become a tennis umpire, the candidate has to go through complete training courses before they can umpire matches.

To be a professional tennis umpire, they will have to officiate at many occasions and events in advance before they can work at a Grand Slam.

Types of Tennis Umpires

In the true spirit of becoming a tennis umpire, we would like to let you know what you need to become an umpire.

Tennis umpires are of two types. These are line umpires usually called “line judges” and chair umpires.

Let’s talk in detail about the types of umpires.

1. Chair Umpire

The chair umpire on the tennis court plays a significant role. A tennis chair umpires tell the score and keep a complete eye on the game to make sure that the rules are being followed.

In addition, it is the responsibility of a chair umpire to assure that the match is being conducted in a fairway.

Once you have experience as a line umpire, the umpires with a license are eligible to apply for the post of chair umpire course.

Just like 34 years old Marijana Veljovic, the most willing and experienced chair umpire overruled and out-call the other umpires and enhanced her reputation. This has shown her willingness to stand her ground and her passion for what she does best.

This course of two days happens two times a year and will build your skills as an introduction to chair umpiring.

Becoming a Chair Umpire

Following are the roles that a chair umpire plays on the court.

  • Supervising the toss to decide which player serves at first
  • Announces the score
  • Have the power to overrule the calls of line judge
  • Time players between sets, games, and points

2. Line Umpire

For becoming a line umpire, the minimum age should be 16. You can apply for the training in line umpiring. Once you have completed the course and have qualified, you can quickly progress further.

If we rewind history, we see that an Indian player Sagar Kashyap took up the seat at the age of 22 at Wimbledon. Wimbledon is the most well-known tournament around the world and is honored.

Here you should note one more thing you do not get paid to an umpire at Wimbledon but you’ll have your expenses paid. It is more of an advantage than a job!

You will be required to attend the basic one-day line umpiring course. This course will be a combination of on-court and the performance result in you achieve which is pass/fail.

Becoming a Line Umpire

To be a Line umpire you need to have the following skills.

  • Vision. Proper vision is required (20/20)
  • Shouting ability. The line umpire must have a good and clear shouting ability, just like Maria Sharapova
  • Reaction Time. Good reaction time is another important skill that a line umpire must have. Do not be too eager, you can’t call the ball before it lands on the ground.
  • Staying calm. It is important to keep a calm temperament to keep the game environment nice. Sometimes, the players can get heated and they can argue with the umpire. Therefore, you’ll have to stay calm even if you are right.
  • Concentration. To perform your role the best you should have excellent concentration.
  • Understanding Swear Words. Swearing in tennis is a rule violation. The umpire should be able to understand the swear words in every language whether they are in English, German or Russian.

3. Roving Umpire

Roving umpires ideally are assigned a maximum of 6 courts. They can’t be assigned more than that. The Referee will advise the roving umpire related to the tournament, rest timings, warm-up time, use of the ball, changing ball, and several sets.

To sum up, the duties of the roving umpire are the same as those of the chair umpire. To make sure that the court is all set to play and enforce rules.

Becoming a Roving Umpire

What you’ll need?

You must have the following things along to provide the best service being a roving umpire.

  • Stopwatch
  • Water
  • Sweater/ Vest
  • Lunch (optional)
  • Lead Pencils
  • Note Pads
  • Measuring Tape
  • Sunscreen
  • Visor/ Eye Shield

Things to Remember

Always remember the following things as a Roving Umpire.

  • Walk around all of the grounds assigned to you. You are responsible for all of them.
  • Be watchful for the players having problems. Go to court and resolve the problem. If players are interacting with each other instead of playing, take the initiative and continue the conversation some other reasonable time.
  • Be available when you are needed but do not involve in the game a lot.
  • Stay aware of “The Rules of Tennis” and “The Code”
  • Implement the rules fairly for all the players.

Tips For Roving Umpires

  • Get proper instructions from your referee (such as warm-up times, ball changes, rest timings, etc).
  • Do carry a match schedule, rulebook, stopwatch, pencils, and some extra balls along with you.
  • Make your presence count on the court. Be visible on the court instead of watching the match from behind the stands or on a windscreen.
  • While briefing the players, keep it short and to the point.
  • Try not to call a shot from off-court to a player, even if asked. Keep reminding the players to make calls. Confirm close calls immediately.
  • Stand near the court to watch out for potential problems. Communicate with other rovers while moving in the court. Talk about questionable calls such as foot faults, code violations, and slow play.
  • If you see a wrong call you should overrule it at that very moment.
  • Keep the level of the tournament you are officiating when settling the issues and be fair.
  • Don’t be friends with players, coaches, parents, or anyone as it is an unprofessional approach.
  • Look sharp and alert and be quick on the courts you are assigned.

Tips on DONTS When Roving

  • Do not lessen the warm-up time.
  • Don’t walk through the court when the game is being played.
  • Try not to talk loud near the court.
  • Do not fit out penalties without following each step of PPS: Point, Game, Default.
  • Make sure you do not forget to issue the borderline practices.
  • Never forget to call watch-on-foot faults to the second player when you have called them on the first one.
  • Avoid making negative comments of any kind in the presence of parents, players, or spectators.

4. Chief Umpire

In a tennis match, officiated by two or more umpires, the umpire-in-chief is the one who is in charge of the whole game.

Since the chief umpires are responsible for the recruitment and hiring of professionals for large tournaments. Chief umpires make it all happen.

They are responsible for all the things assigned to them. He/ she implements the rules, the Code of Conduct, and the Tournament Regulations on the court.

For better officiation during the match, chief umpires can move or rotate any line umpire. He/she has the authority to answer all the questions regarding the facts arising during the match.

This includes overruling the line umpire on any blatant mistake. He stays determined on all the questions about the law arising, subject to the right of the player.

Becoming a Chief Umpire

Want to become a Chief Umpire? Well, there is no easy recipe for it. The road to gold often leads after going through hurdles.

Becoming a chief Umpire won’t be easy peasy. It takes a lot of dedication and facing hardships. These hardships make you an expert as a chief umpire.

Using that experience to resolve upcoming issues makes you the best one. It is all up to your experience. You need to do a lot of matches to go to that level.

In short, chief umpires spend most of the year traveling from tournament to tournament. Kaufman, a professional Chair Umpire says that he was on road for about 40 weeks traveling for the tournaments.

Qualifications To Become a Tennis Umpire

Qualifications To Become a Tennis Umpire
Qualifications To Become a Tennis Umpire

There are several levels of umpires in tennis. To reach the highest level you need to go through all the relevant levels of umpiring in tennis.

To become a successful umpire, you must have to complete the relevant training schools. In the USA, the basic qualification requirement is to attend the annual course and attempt the written test for the post you want to apply for.

You must also take part in the test for Provisional Umpire, available on the USTA website. As your training moves forward, your experience in the field grows, and you can move up to the higher ranks.

But each step up demands your solid experience in the post a step below. The levels you can upgrade your rank through are given below:

  • Professional Chair Umpire
  • Provisional Umpire
  • Sectional Umpire
  • National Chair Umpire
  • USTA Roving Umpire
  • USTA Chair Umpire

Skills Required To Be A Tennis Umpire

Keeping up with the professional development of umpiring is an important part. But before you get into umpiring, you must have these skills.

  • 20/20 Vision
  • Knowing the rules of tennis
  • Having loud voice
  • Quick reactions but not too quick to respond even before the ball lands
  • Alertness
  • Cool tempered
  • Understanding swear words in different languages
  • Total concentration

Responsibilities of a Tennis Umpire

When it comes to the responsibilities of the umpire, according to the International Tennis Federation (ITF), there are 21 responsibilities.

However, the main responsibilities include:

  • Keeping the players cool and the environment good
  • Keep announcing the score
  • Check if the court fits best for the match or not
  • Communicate clearly with the players
  • Keep informing the crowd
  • Make sure there are enough good balls
  • Overruling any calls that seem incorrect

Tennis Umpire Salary

Tennis Umpire Salary
Tennis Umpire Salary

No doubt, tennis umpires earn a handsome amount of salary along with their expenses during traveling. In short, tennis umpires bring home the bacon with their strong experience and effort.

How Much Do Tennis Umpires Earn?

A professional umpire who is just stepping into the field of tennis umpiring can expect $60k – 70k yearly if they are constantly going in the matches.

About 30-40% of the rate that a chair umpire gets is earned as a top-line umpire. However, leading umpires now earn $450,000 yearly if they officiate and work hard throughout the year and keep traveling for the Grand Slams.

You might also be interested to know how much tennis coaches make.

Benefits of Becoming a Tennis Umpire

There are a lot of benefits to becoming a tennis umpire but none of them can beat having the best seat in the house. Gym benefits, travel expenses, and uniforms customized by Ralph Lauren are also counted as benefits to umpires.

Life of a Tennis Umpire

Advancing your career as a tennis umpire is surprisingly strategic. While you may be keen to have the chair of the umpire but you always have to be full of concentration and perform your best.

You have to be thoughtful before taking any tournament. Facing the problem and resolving the issues is a part of an umpire’s life. Although the umpire post is unappreciated among the crowd and players too, it is the most crucial part of the play.

This job takes up 25 weeks of the year and a lot of traveling is also a part of it. Making fair calls and taking stress from blatant calls is an addition to their tough job.

Best Tennis Umpires

By now, do you know how to become a tennis umpire? How to qualify for it? How is their life and what benefits do they enjoy?

Let’s now see the ten best tennis Umpires around the globe.

  1. Mohamed Lahyani
  2. Carlos Ramos
  3. Eva Asderaki-Moore
  4. James Keothavong
  5. Kader Nouni
  6. Alison Hughes
  7. Adel Nour
  8. Marijana Veljović
  9. Carlos Bernardes
  10. Marija Čičak

Summary –  Final Thoughts on Becoming a Tennis Umpire

No doubt becoming a tennis umpire brings a lot in terms of money plus other perks like traveling to gorgeous locations. But the path to becoming a tennis empire is not that easy, you have to be very cool in your mind, sharp in eyes, and quick at your reactions to perform your job in the right manner.

If you are such a kind of person, you must take on this amazing job and brighten your future as a tennis umpire just like Mohamed Lahyani. Make sure, you don’t miss the next most competitive opportunity. Good luck!


1. How long does it take to become a tennis umpire?

To become a tennis umpire, you go through different courses and training programs. After that, you have to pass the one-day line umpire course to get familiar with the responsibility of the line umpire. Aside from this, you must have sharp eyesight, be very quick in your reactions, and be calm in your mind.

2. How much do tennis umpires make?

Generally, tennis umpires make around $60,000 to $70,000 a year on average. Top-tier umpires make $200,000 to $500,000 yearly. Apart from this, they also enjoy lots of other perks like traveling to amazing places, customized outfits by Ralph Lauren, gym, etc.

3. What is the minimum age to qualify for a tennis umpire?

The minimum qualification age for becoming a tennis umpire is 16 years for a line umpire.

4. Who is the best tennis umpire?

So far, 55 years old Mohamed Lahyani from Sweden is the best tennis umpire in the world. He is a gold badge holder and certified by the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals).

5. What are the other names of tennis umpires?

The major types of tennis umpires are:

  • Line Umpire
  • Chair Umpire
  • Roving Umpire
  • Chief Umpire

6. What is the difference between a referee and an umpire?

In tennis, an umpire is a person who imposes official rules while the referee is the person who ensures that those rules and regulations are being followed during the game.

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