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What are ladder rules?

Tennis ladder rules example

Manage Tennis Ladders

What are tennis ladder rules?

A tennis ladder is governed by a set of rules. The ladder rules manage ladder rankings, match play, challenges...

  • Point System
  • Leap-frog (also called Win-replace)
  • Win-Loss point system
  • Custom ladder rules
  • Elo rating system
Point System

Point system ladders reward players based on player rankings, number of games and sets won / lost... These ladder rules have the added advantage of encouraging match play and rewarding those who play often and play early. In such matches, both the winner and the loser earn points. Players are ranked based on the total number of points accumulated up to a given date.


  • 1. When a lower ranked player defeats a higher ranked player:
    • The lower ranked player moves up the ladder by taking the higher ranked player’s spot.
    • The defeated higher ranked player drops in ranking by one.
  • 2. When a higher ranked player defeats a lower ranked player there are no changes in ranking positions.
  • 3. When a new player is added to the ladder, he or she is given a pre-determined ranking. The ladder manager can change this ‘Initial Ranking’. In this case the players’ rankings are adjusted in the same manner as if the last player in the ladder defeats someone who is higher ranked.
  • 4. In some cases, the ladder manager may remove players the ladder (inactive players…) In this case, players’ rankings are adjusted automatically.
Custom Ladder Rules

Some ladders are run in an ad-hock manner where the ladder organizer defines general ladder guidelines and a simple point system. These types of tennis ladders are ideal in a casual tennis environment.

Elo Rating System

The Elo rating system was originally used as an improved chess-rating system. Using this system, players start with an arbitrary number of points (also called rating). After every match, the winning player takes points from the losing one. The difference between the ratings of opponents determines how many points are gained or lost after the match.

The iTennisLadder supports several tennis ladder rules, from which you can easily create and organize your challenge ladders.
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