Tennis Betting Rules: What Happens When a Player Retires, During Rain Delays and More
Alex Pantling/Getty. Pictured: Rain covers are pulled on the court at the Italian Open.
- Stuckey tries to answer some of the most common tennis betting questions, like what happens when a player retires, if a match gets delayed because of weather and more.
- Tennis betting rules can vary by sportsbook, so be sure to check yours if any of these situations come up.
A frequent question I get from followers and friends is what happens to their tennis bet after a player retires. I also get similar questions during rain delays or postponed matches that span multiple days.
It’s a great question, but extremely difficult to answer since tennis betting differs drastically from other major sports, which generally have standard rules across all books.
As a result, I almost always respond with “It depends. Check the rules of your book(s)!”
Let’s start with what happens with a moneyline bet under different circumstances.
Tennis Betting Rules
A walkover win occurs when a player advances as a result of their opponent pulling out of a tournament before a match.
Since the match never started, all bets would void. This is pretty much a universal rule.
What If a Player Retires?
This is when a player advances after their opponent retires during a match. Injuries are the primary reason this would happen. We saw this at the 2019 French Open as Benoit Paire advanced after Pablo Carreno Busta retired down 2-1 in sets.
You also see a lot of these when players aren’t fully fit for the heat of Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, but want to show up at the tournament for a paycheck.
Moneyline rules get a little trickier with retirements since different books will have different rules. The four likeliest possibilities include:
- First ball — All moneyline bets are action after the first ball is played. Therefore, if you bet on a player who retired during the first game, you lose your moneyline bet.
- One set — Some books like FanDuel require at least one set to be completed before moneyline wagers become action.
- Two sets — The same rules as above but with two full sets.
- Full match — No moneyline are considered action until the full match is completed.
Also, keep in mind that books will usually grade the winner declared by the umpire — a.k.a. the person who didn’t retire. Therefore, you could lose a moneyline bet on a player that retires despite leading on the scoreboard.
Here is how the major U.S. sportsbooks grade retirements:
|Other Kambi Sportsbooks||One Set|
Tip: If you are fading a player due to fatigue and/or injury reasons and have multiple books to bet at, you’d obviously want to choose the one with the least-restrictive moneyline requirements.
Also, if you are also trying to scalp the market by playing both sides to lock in a profit in an arbitrage opportunity at different books, make sure they have the same rules! You don’t want to end up losing one side and pushing the other in the event of a retirement.
Lastly, there may be different rules for when a player (most likely Nick Kyrgios) gets disqualified rather than retiring. I’m going to be a broken record throughout but check your book! For the most part, these situations will be graded like retirements, but that isn’t always the case.
If rain (or darkness) causes your bet to move (or finish) on the next day, your bet is generally still valid. Tennis does not work like baseball, where you would have to re-place your bet if the same pitchers match up the very next day.
Some books will have 48-hour or one-week rules, which means the match must be completed in that time span from the scheduled start in order to be considered action. Here is how major sportsbooks handle this situation.
|Book||Weather Delay Rule|
|DraftKings||All Bets Stand|
|PointsBet||All Bets Stand|
|FanDuel||All Bets Stand|
|BetMGM||All Bets Stand|
|Barstool||All Bets Stand|
|Other Kambi Sportsbooks||All Bets Stand|
Weather may also cause a change of venue. Rain could cause players to move to a different court that has a roof. Or they may just temporarily delay the match to close the roof if the court has one. That could change the conditions and potentially favor one specific player, but your bet will stand.
Wagers on the full match over/under will generally get voided unless it reached the over already. Otherwise, it’s void.
For example, if you bet a match to go over 21 total games and someone retires at 7-6, 5-4 — some books most U.S. books will grade totals on that match as action since the outcome was already decided. This would never happen in baseball but, again, check your specific book for their rules because variations do exist.
Also, if you bet the over/under on just the first set, that bet should stand as long as the players finish the first set.
Most major American sportsbooks abide by this logic:
|DraftKings||Graded if number is reached, void if not|
|PointsBet||Graded if number is reached, void if not|
|FanDuel||Graded if number is reached, void if not|
|Caesars||Graded if number is reached, void if not|
|BetMGM||Graded if number is reached, void if not|
|Barstool||Graded if number is reached, void if not|
|Other Kambi Sportsbooks||Graded if number is reached, void if not|
For the most part, books will apply the same rules from totals to spreads. But if you do bet with a book that has this as a void rule, you could have a seriously unfortunate situation.
Let’s say you bet Genie Bouchard +1.5 sets against Angie Kerber. If Bouchard leads 6-3, 5-0, your bet can’t possibly lose. However, if Kerber then decides to retire, your bet would get refunded.
Oh, by the way, that actual scenario played out five years ago. Unfortunately, I had Genie.
Live betting (moneyline, totals, etc.) can require a match to be completed at times, but most sportsbooks in the U.S. maintain the same rules they would for pre-match moneyline bets.
This means that if you make a live moneyline wager beyond the second set and a player retires, that wager will be graded based on the official result and will stand.
FanDuel has the most generous policy for this scenario, as it will grade winning live moneyline bets past the first set via retirements as such and void losing ones.
FanDuel has the most generous policy for this scenario, as it will grade winning live moneyline bets via retirements as such and void losing ones.
If you bet a player in the live market to win a specific set or game, as long as they complete that specific set or game, the bet should stand.
At risk of sounding redundant, make sure your book abides by that standard. Here is how each sportsbook handles live retirements according to their rules. In cases where a caveat is not listed for live betting, I’ll defer to their moneyline rules.
|Book||Live Betting Rule|
|Other Kambi Sportsbooks||One Set|
If you bet a tennis future and your player withdrawals from the tournament, you may either get your money refunded, get a partial refund, or it will be graded as a loss.
While I would have loved a refund on my Kiki Bertens 2019 French Open future, those are the breaks.
Although it is possible some books will refund your future if a player never plays a ball. You already know what I’m about to say…
CHECK YOUR RULES….. but here’s what major U.S. sportsbooks say:
|PointsBet||Refund with possible deduction|
|Caesars||Refund with possible deduction|
|Barstool||Graded as loss|
|Other Kambi Sportsbooks||Graded as loss|