Tennis Betting Rules: What Happens With Tennis Bets When A Player Retires?
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Tennis Betting Rules: What Happens With Tennis Bets When A Player Retires?

The rules sportsbooks use to settle our bets differ from bookmaker to bookmaker and depending on which sports you bet on. But out of all the sports, tennis is arguably the most common sport to have different tennis betting rules.

From rain delays to retirements, many things can affect a tennis match and, consequently, the bets and how they’re settled. Depending on the sportsbook you use, the bets will be settled differently, and in this article, we’ll take a closer look at all the possible rules and which sportsbooks use what rules to determine the outcome.

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So what happens when you bet on a tennis player and his opponent retires before the ball is served? What if one set was already completed or if two sets had already passed before the game was abandoned? Does it if the game is at a tie break or which player is leading?

In the end, it depends on which sportsbook or betting exchange you use.

Tennis Retirement Rules

When betting on tennis, there will be cases where a player will retire or leave the game, meaning they effectively forfeited the game and handed the opponent a win. This can happen for many reasons, most commonly due to an injury which can occur at any time of the match.

bet365 tennis betting rules
bet365 tennis betting rules

Injuries will happen, and it’s entirely understandable, especially during a major tournament where a tennis player has to play several matches in the span of a few days. But while we understand what happens when a player retired, the main question is, what happens with our bets?

It may sound easy enough – if a player forfeits a match, then his opponent should be declared a winner. But things aren’t as straightforward if we take into account the tennis betting rules, which dictate when bets stand and don’t necessarily declare the retired player a loser and his opponent a winner.

So to fully understand what will happen with our bets and when bets stand in case of retirement, we have to understand how the bookmaker or betting exchange we use approaches setting their rules.

For example, if you bet on player A to defeat player B, but then player A retires, a bookmaker could void the bet on player A because the match hasn’t finished. Another bookmaker might declare player A a loser. But things get a bit more complicated when the sportsbooks take into account the time at which a tennis player retires to settle the bets.

There is, however, one exception – Walkovers.

A walkover happens when a player pulls out of the tournament and forfeits a match before even stepping onto the court. In this case, all match bets are settled as void since the game never started. This is pretty much a universal rule all sportsbooks follow.

Sportsbook/ExchangeTennis Rules
bet365Match Complete
William HillMatch Complete
UnibetFirst Ball
PinnacleOne Set
10betMatch Complete
188betMatch Complete
888sportMatch Complete
BetMGMOne Set
BetHardMatch Complete
BetOnlineOne Set
BetSafeMatch Complete
BetVictorMatch Complete
BetWayMatch Complete
BetWinnerOne Set
BovadaMatch Complete
BoylesportsMatch Complete
BwinOne Set
CoralOne Set
Everygame (Intertops)Match Complete
LadbrokesOne Set
MarathonbetOne Set
MatchbookOne Set
MrGreenOne Set
NetBetMatch Complete
NorskTippingMatch Complete
SBOBetMatch Complete
SkyBetMatch Complete
SmarketsFirst Set
SportingbetFirst Ball
TipBetMatch Complete
TitanBetMatch Complete
TwinSpiresOne Set

WARNING: Bookmakers can change their rules at any time, so we can’t guarantee that the information presented in our table is 100% correct.

Four Types Of Tennis Betting Rules

Bookmakers and betting exchanges approach the tennis retirement rules differently, but they all fall into one of four categories – First Ball, 1 Set, 2 Sets, Match. The four possibilities differ on what the sportsbook counts as a valid match and how they decide which bet stands regardless if the game is at a tie break or whichever player is leading.

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First Ball Rule

All moneyline bets are in play after the first ball is served, meaning that no matter what happens after the first serve won’t result in a void bet. For example, if you bet on player A and he retires early due to an injury or any other factor after the first serve, your wager will be settled as a losing bet.

1 Set Rule

The one-set tennis betting rule follows the same idea as the first ball, except that the bets can still be void – if a player retires – before the first set is complete. 

In other words, all moneyline will have action as long as one set has been completed.

2 Set Rule

The two-set tennis betting rule works on the same principle as the one-set rule, only here the bet becomes active only after the second set. So assuming the player you bet on, or his opponent, retires before the second set is completed, all bets will be void.

All moneyline bets will have action as long as two sets have been completed.

Match Completed Rule

The simplest of the tennis retirement rules is the match completed rule, which works exactly how it sounds – if a player is out with an injury or retires before the match is completed or if the full match fails to end for any other reason, all bets will be settled as void.

With the match player retirement rule, no bets stand until the full match is completed.

Understanding the tennis match betting rules can help you greatly when betting on tennis matches, especially if you’re fading a player who is fatigued or injured. In this case, you’ll want to bet on his opponent on the bookmaker with the least restrictive tennis rules since you don’t want your tennis wager settled as a void bet if the player you’re fading retires after the first two minutes of play.

Weather Delays and Futures

The retirement rules are very straightforward to understand, but there are a few niche situations which we have to touch on.

The majority of big tournaments are not played on an indoor tennis court, so weather can and will affect the games, which in some cases can lead to delays. Typically, if a match is delayed and moved to the next day, your bets will remain valid, but there are some exceptions.

A few bookmakers will have 48-hour or one-week rules, which indicate that the match or the next round of the tournament must be completed in the time span for the bets to remain valid. Otherwise, the bets are settled as void, and you have to re-bet on the next round.

With bet365, for example, any bet stand even if there is a change in schedule or day of a match, as well as a change in the courts (from indoor to outdoor and vice versa) or change in the surface either before or during the match,

bet365 tennis betting rules
bet365 tennis betting rules

If you bet on a tennis tournament outright and your player retires from the tournament, a few things can happen – either you get your money refunded, your wager gets settled as a loss, or you get a partial refund.

How the sportsbooks will approach settling bets on players who withdraw from a tournament is entirely on them, so make sure you check the rules.

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Tennis Betting Rules On Exchanges

Compared to sportsbooks, which can use any of the retirement rules to settle the bets, all betting exchanges follow a universal rule – if a player retires, regardless of when all bets are considered valid if at least one set is completed.

So no matter whether you’re using Betfair, Betdaq, Smarkets, Matchbook, or Orbit/Fair Exchange (Betfair clone for people who reside in countries that can’t get access to Betfair, available via a betting broker), you’ll be subject to the one set rule.

Understanding tennis betting rules is often overlooked, but important to avoid unfortunate situations where you bet against a player because he’s fatigued only to see your wager settled as a void because of the rules the sportsbook uses. It’s just one more thing to keep an eye on top of having to put in the time to do all the research to find betting opportunities.

That’s why we prefer to use the services of WinnerOdds, which helps automate a lot of the work we would’ve needed to put in a bet on tennis. Not to mention that during our review of the service, we’ve found WinnerOdds to be one of the best tools for betting on tennis.

This concludes our guide on tennis rules which explains everything you need to know about what happens with your bets when a full match isn’t played and how do bookmakers and betting exchanges approach settling bets when retirements, injuries, and other factors prevent the match to begin.

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