Tennis Betting Retirement Rules

Tennis Betting Retirements

** Last updated Jan 2017

We’ve seen a lot of retirements this year at Wimbledon and there’s nothing more frustrating than losing a bet because the player you back has chucked in the towel and retired. It can also be just as annoying when you are on the right side of a retirement but you don’t get paid out because the first set hasn’t been completed.

Unfortunately retirements are even more common throughout the year in lesser well-known tournaments where motivation is lower and risking further damage to an injury deemed unnecessary. It is therefore very important for any serious tennis bettor or trader to factor in the chances of such occurrence into their position. More than this you can get a very good advantage over the bookies by playing close attention to the tennis retirement rules.

The winning margins on tennis betting are extremely tight as 2 team/player contests are generally easy for bookmakers to price up and paying attention to retirement rules can make all the difference to your bottom line. Most punters will not read the terms and conditions of each bookmaker they sign up with and will not be aware of the individual rules of each bookmaker. Do not make this mistake and make sure you stay a step ahead by referring to the following simplified information.


1 Set Completed Bookmakers
Paddy Power
Sporting Bet


Whole Match Completed Bookmakers
Sky Bet
Stan James
William Hill
Winner Sports

As seen above, the tennis retirement rules of all the major bookmakers can generally be categorised into 3 main groups:


1) 1 Ball Served

Bookies who operate the ‘1 ball served’ policy require a player to serve just once for any bets to stand. If there are any retirements after this first ball served then it’s bad luck I’m afraid.

2) 1 Set Completed

The exchanges and a fair amount of bookmakers operate the 1 set must be played policy for bets to stand. If one set has not been completed all bets are void and you get your stake back. A lot of people like this because it is annoying when a player retires who has virtually lost the match anyway and decides not to continue almost out of spite!

3) Whole Match Completed

As you’ve probably guessed, bookmakers in this category require the whole match to be completed before bets can be deemed payable. Many major bookmakers operate this policy and it is recommended that you use these if you are concerned about an injury, especially in smaller tournaments.


It is advisable to use the bookmaker that best suits the bet that you are making and that gives you the greatest advantage. If there are no injury concerns to either player then you are probably best served to place your bet with the ‘match must be completed’ bookmakers. If you are betting against a favourite who you know is struggling then you might want to use the ‘one ball served’ bookmakers so you can take advantage of a retirement. Obviously the bookmakers sometimes change the price to reflect such chances and the price on offer still has to be considered but there are advantages to be found.