Tennis South Africa recognises the importance of officiating within the spectrum of tennis and looks after the compilation and coordination of training of official on a Provincial and National basis.

While tennis officiating is a “fun” way for interested parties to either become involved or remain involved in tennis, it is mainly seen as a hobby, which can provide regular opportunities to be involved at various levels of tennis tournaments within South Africa.

TSA compiles the various course material and provides course leaders, while also training and passing on experience to local course leaders in Provinces. Training is key and the consistency thereof is also important in terms of course leaders and the message being portrayed.

TSA also works closely on the ITF basis of presenting courses in order to ensure that local officials are trained on par with what is happening internationally.

Course being presented under the auspices of TSA are:

  • Pre-Level 1 Course (Teachers Course) – Covers basic tennis rules and introduction to tennis
  • Level 1 Course:
    • Rules of Tennis
    • Line Umpiring
    • Chair Umpiring
    • Off Court Officiating (Court Monitor)
    • Code of Conduct
    • Basic Refereeing
  • Level 2 Course:
    • Chair Umpiring Specific Module; or
    • Refereeing Specific Module
  • Refresher Courses

Level 1 Courses run for 3 days and are primarily in the classroom environment, with some on court practical at the end of the second day. A written test is taken at the end of the course and the required pass mark is 75%.

Level 2 Courses take place over two days and focus is on both theory and practical. Candidates at this stage are expected to have a good understanding of the rules and how to apply these in various cases. A written test is taken at the end of the course and the required pass mark is 85%.

Refresher courses are held as regularly as possible to re-emphasise the various rules, duties and procedures and to ensure that officials are up to date with new officiating policies and protocols.
Refresher courses generally run between one / two days and comprise of pop quizzes and theory, with some on court evaluations also taking place.

All of the above are run in conjunction with the TSA Provinces, where TSA and the Province set dates for courses to be held. In some cases where Provinces are close i.e. Gauteng, North and Gauteng East then a combined course will be held. Course dates can be found under the Officiating Course Calendar on the website.

Interested Officials who would like to progress further than being a National official can also attend ITF courses which are presented by the International Tennis Federation. ITF Courses are:

  • National
  • Level 1
  • Level 2
  • Level 3

TSA course curriculum covers the National and Level 1 course.

TSA endorses local officials to attend an ITF school and candidates are generally selected by the ITF based on work record and evaluations.

ITF Level 2 courses are presented over a period of 4 days and officials who pass the respective modules can then be certified as an ITF White Badge Chair Umpire, Referee or Chair of Umpires. Being an ITF Certified officials enables local officials to work at ITF sanctioned events where certain minimum requirements need to be met, with the possibility of progressing further.

ITF Level 3 courses are where officials attend the school and those who pass are rewarded with an International Certification. International Certifications are awarded in all three modules as follows:

  • Chair Umpire: Bronze Badge
  • Referee: Silver Badge
  • Chief of Umpires: Silver Badge

Being recognised as an International official then provides opportunities to work at events where certain minimum requirements have to be fulfilled. However, with the certification comes expectations and the officials also have to maintain a high level and officiate at a certain number of events/matches based on the certification level.

The ITF Certification Levels are as follows:

  • Chair Umpire: Bronze, Silver & Gold
  • Referee: Silver and Gold
  • Chief of Umpires: Silver and Gold

Officials can be promoted or demoted on an annual basis depending on meeting and fulfilling certain minimum requirements during the year by the ITF.

South Africa (when considering the limited number of events) has fared well in terms of ITF certifications amongst top local officials and a number of officials have travelled on the continent and internationally. South Africa currently has the following certified officials:

  • White Badge Chair Umpire: 12
  • White Badge Referee: 2
  • Silver Badge Referee: 2
  • Silver Badge Chief of Umpires: 1
  • Gold Badge Referee: 1

TSA is proud of the officiating programme and look forward to continuing the success and welcoming new officials on board. Hope to see you on the lines or in the chair soon.

If you'd like to become a TSA Official please use this contact form