world squash singles rules
Squash is played in a confined space, often at a high speed. Two principles are essential for orderly play:
Safety: Players must always place safety first and not take any action that could endanger the opponent.
Fair play: Players must respect the rights of the opponent and play with honesty.
1 THE GAME
1.1. Singles Squash is played in a court between two players, each holding a racket to strike the ball. The court, ball, and racket must meet WSF specifications.
1.2. Each rally starts with a serve, and the players then return the ball alternately until the rally ends (see Rule 6: The Play).
1.3. Play must be continuous as far as is practical.
2.1 The winner of a rally scores 1 point and serves to begin the next rally.
2.2 Each game is played to 11 points, except that if the score reaches 10-all, the game continues until one player leads by 2 points.
2.3 A match is normally the best of 5 games, but may be the best of 3 games.
2.4 Alternative scoring systems are described in Appendix 3.
3.1 A match should normally be officiated by a Marker and a Referee, both of whom must keep a record of the score, which player is serving, and the correct box for service.
3.2 If there is only one Official, that Official is both the Marker and the Referee. A player may appeal any call or lack of call made by that Official as Marker to that same Official as the Referee.
3.3 The correct position for the Officials is seated at the centre of the back wall, as close to that wall as possible and just above the out-line.
3.4 An alternative Officiating System called the 3-Referee System is described in Appendix 4.
3.5 When addressing players, Officials must use the family name, where possible.
3.6 The Marker:
3.6.1 must announce the match, introduce each game, and announce the result of each game and of the match (see Appendix 2);
3.6.2 must call “fault,” “down,” “out,” “not up” or “stop”, as appropriate;
3.6.3 must make no call, if unsure about a serve or return;
3.6.4 must call the score without delay at the end of a rally, with the server’s score first, preceded by “hand out” when there is a change of server;
3.6.5 must repeat the Referee’s decision after a player’s request for a let, and then call the score;
3.6.6 must wait for the Referee’s decision after a player’s appeal against a Marker’s call or lack of a call, and then call the score;
3.6.7 must call “Game Ball” when a player needs 1 point to win a game, or “Match Ball” when a player needs 1 point to win the match;
3.6.8 must call “10-all: a player must win by 2 points” when the score reaches 10-all for the first time in a match.
3.7 The Referee, whose decision is final:
3.7.1 must postpone the match if the court is not satisfactory for play; or suspend play if the match is already in progress, and when the match resumes later, allow the score to stand;
3.7.2 must allow a let if through no fault of either player a change of court conditions affects a rally;
3.7.3 may award the match to a player whose opponent is not on court ready to play within the time stated in the competition rules;
3.7.4 must rule on all matters, including all requests for a let and all appeals against a Marker’s call or lack of a call;
3.7.5 must rule immediately if disagreeing with the Marker’s call or lack of a call, stopping play if necessary;
3.7.6 must correct the score immediately if the Marker announces the score incorrectly, stopping play if necessary;
3.7.7 must enforce all the Rules relating to time, announcing “15 seconds,” “Half-time” and “Time,” as appropriate;
Note: It is the players’ responsibility to be close enough to hear these announcements.
3.7.8 must make the appropriate decision if the ball hits either player (see Rule 9: Ball Hitting A Player);
3.7.9 may allow a let if unable to decide an appeal against a Marker’s call or lack of call;
3.7.10 must ask the player for clarification if uncertain about the reason for a request for a let or an appeal;
3.7.11 may give an explanation for a decision;
3.7.12 must announce all decisions in a voice loud enough to be heard by the players, the Marker and the spectators;
3.7.13 must apply Rule 15 (Conduct) if a player’s conduct is unacceptable;
3.7.14 must suspend play if the behaviour of any person, other than a player, is disruptive or offensive, until the behaviour has ceased, or until the offending person has left the court area.
4 THE WARM-UP
4.1 At the start of a match the players go on court together to warm up the ball for a maximum of 5 minutes. After 2½ minutes the players must change sides, unless they have already done so.
4.2 The players must have equal opportunities to strike the ball. A player retaining control of the ball for an unreasonable time is warming up unfairly and Rule 15 (Conduct) must be applied.
5 THE SERVE
5.1 The player who wins the spin of a racket serves first.
5.2 At the beginning of each game and after each change of server, the server chooses from which service-box to serve. While retaining the serve, the server must serve from alternate boxes.
5.3 If a rally ends in a let, the server must serve again from the same box.
5.4 If the server moves to the wrong box to serve, or if either player is unsure of the correct box, the Marker must inform the players which is the correct box.
5.5 If there is any dispute about the correct box, the Referee must rule.
5.6 After the Marker has called the score, both players must resume play without unnecessary delay. However, the server must not serve before the receiver is ready.
5.7 A serve is good, if:
5.7.1 the server drops or throws the ball from a hand or racket and strikes it correctly on a first or further attempt before it touches anything else; and
5.7.2 at the time the server strikes the ball, one foot is in contact with the floor inside the service-box with no part of that foot touching any boundary of that box; and
5.7.3 the ball is struck directly to the front wall, hitting it between the service- line and the out-line, but does not hit the front and side walls at the same time; and
5.7.4 the ball, unless volleyed by the receiver, bounces for the first time in the opposite quarter-court without touching any line; and
5.7.5 the ball is not served out.
5.8 A serve that does not comply with Rule 5.7 is a fault and the receiver wins the rally.
Note: A serve that hits the service-line, or the short-line, or the half-court line, or any line bounding the top of the court, is a fault.
5.9 If the server drops or throws the ball, but makes no attempt to strike it, this is not a serve, and the server may start again.
5.10 A let is allowed if the receiver is not ready to return the serve and does not attempt to do so. However, if that serve is a fault, the server loses the rally.
5.11 If the server serves from the wrong service-box, and the server wins the rally, the rally stands and the server then serves from the alternate box.
5.12 The server must not serve until the score has been called by the Marker, who must do so without delay. In such an event, the Referee must stop play and instruct the server to wait until the score has been called.
6 THE PLAY
6.1 If the serve is good, play continues as long as each return is good, or until a player requests a let or makes an appeal, or one of the Officials makes a call, or the ball hits either player or their clothing or the non-striker’s racket.
6.2 A return is good if the ball:
6.2.1 is struck correctly before it has bounced twice on the floor; and
6.2.2 without hitting either player, or their clothing or racket, hits the front wall, either directly or after hitting any other wall(s), above the tin and below the out-line, without having first bounced on the floor; and
6.2.3 rebounds from the front wall without touching the tin; and
6.2.4 is not out.
7.1 A maximum of 90 seconds is permitted between the end of the warm-up and the start of play, and between each game.
7.2 Players must be ready to resume play at the end of any interval, but play may resume earlier if both agree.
7.3 A maximum of 90 seconds is permitted to change damaged equipment. This includes glasses, protective eye-wear or a dislodged contact lens. The player must complete the change as quickly as possible, or Rule 15 (Conduct) must be applied.
7.4 Intervals in the case of injury or bleeding are specified in Rule 14 (Injury).
7.5 During any interval either player may strike the ball.
8.1 After completing a reasonable follow-through, a player must make every effort to clear, so that when the ball rebounds from the front wall the opponent has:
8.1.1 a fair view of the ball on its rebound from the front wall; and
8.1.2 unobstructed direct access to the ball; and
8.1.3 the space to make a reasonable swing at the ball; and
8.1.4 the freedom to strike the ball to any part of the entire front wall. Interference occurs when the player does not provide the opponent with all of these requirements.
8.2 A striker who believes that interference has occurred may stop and request a let, preferably by saying “Let, please.” That request must be made without undue delay. Notes:
- Before accepting any form of request the Referee must be satisfied that the player is actually requesting a let.
- A request for a let includes a request for a stroke.
- Normally, only the striker may request a let for interference.
However, if the non-striker requests a let for lack of access before the ball has reached the front wall, that request may be considered, even though that player is not yet the striker.
8.3 The Referee, if uncertain about the reason for a request, must ask the player for an explanation.
8.4 The Referee may allow a let or award a stroke without a request having been made, stopping play if necessary, especially for reasons of safety.
8.5 If the striker strikes the ball and the opponent then requests a let, but then the ball goes down or out, the opponent wins the rally.
8.6 General The following provisions apply to all forms of interference:
8.6.1 if there was neither interference nor reasonable fear of injury, no let is allowed;
8.6.2 if there was interference but the striker would not have been able to make a good return, no let is allowed;
8.6.3 if the striker continued play beyond the interference and then requested a let, no let is allowed;
8.6.4 if there was interference, but it did not prevent the striker from seeing and getting to the ball to make a good return, this is minimal interference and no let is allowed;
8.6.5 if the striker would have been able to make a good return but the opponent was not making every effort to avoid the interference, a stroke is awarded to the striker;
8.6.6 if there was interference that the opponent was making every effort to avoid and the striker would have been able to make a good return, a let is allowed;
8.6.7 if there was interference and the striker would have made a winning return, a stroke is awarded to the striker.
In addition to Rule 8.6, the following provisions apply to specific situations.
8.7 Fair View
Fair View means enough time to view the ball and prepare to strike it as it returns from the front wall.
8.7.1 If the striker requests a let for lack of fair view of the ball on its return from the front wall, the provisions of 8.6 apply.
8.8 Direct Access
If the striker requests a let for lack of direct access to the ball, then:
8.8.1 if there was interference but the striker did not make every effort to get to and play the ball, no let is allowed;
Note: Every effort to get to and play the ball should not include contact with the opponent. If any contact that could have been avoided is made, Rule 15 (Conduct) must be applied.
8.8.2 if the striker had direct access but instead took an indirect path to the ball and then requested a let for interference, no let is allowed, unless Rule 8.8.3 applies;
8.8.3 if the striker was wrong-footed, but showed the ability to recover and make a good return, and then encountered interference, a let is allowed, unless the striker would have made a winning return, in which case a stroke is awarded to the striker.
8.9 Racket Swing
A reasonable swing comprises a reasonable back swing, a strike at the ball and a reasonable follow-through. The striker’s back swing and follow-through are reasonable as long as they do not extend more than is necessary. If the striker requests a let for interference to the swing, then:
8.9.1 if the swing was affected by slight contact with the opponent who was making every effort to avoid the interference a let is allowed, unless the striker would have made a winning return, in which case a stroke is awarded to the striker;
8.9.2 if the swing was prevented by contact with the opponent, a stroke is awarded to the striker, even if the opponent was making every effort to avoid the interference.
8.10 Excessive Swing
8.10.1 If the striker caused the interference by using an excessive swing, no let is allowed.
8.10.2 If there was interference but the striker exaggerated the swing in attempting to earn a stroke, a let is allowed.
8.10.3 The striker’s excessive swing can contribute to interference for the opponent when it becomes the latter’s turn to play the ball, in which case the opponent may request a let.
8.11 Freedom to strike the ball to any part of the entire front wall
If the striker refrains from striking the ball because of front-wall interference, and requests a let, then:
8.11.1 if there was interference and the ball would have hit the non-striker on a direct path to the front wall, a stroke is awarded to the striker, unless the striker had turned or was making a further attempt, in which case a let is allowed;
8.11.2 if the ball would first have hit the non-striker and then a side wall before reaching the front wall, a let is allowed, unless the return would have been a winning return, in which case a stroke is awarded to the striker; or
8.11.3 if the ball would first have hit a side wall and then the non-striker before reaching the front wall, a let is allowed unless the return would have been a winning return, in which case a stroke is awarded to the striker.
8.12 Further Attempt.
If the striker requests a let for interference while making a further attempt to strike the ball, and could have made a good return, then:
8.12.1 if the non-striker had no time to avoid the interference, a let is allowed.
Turning is the action of the player who strikes, or is in a position to strike, the ball to the right of the body after the ball has passed behind it to the left or vice versa, whether the player physically turns or not.
If the striker encounters interference while turning, and could have made a good return, then:
8.13.1 if the swing was prevented, even though the opponent was making every effort to avoid the interference, a stroke is awarded to the striker;
8.13.2 if the non-striker had no time to avoid the interference, a let is allowed;
8.13.3 if the striker could have struck the ball without turning, but turned in order to create an opportunity to request a let, no let is allowed.
8.13.4 When the striker turns, the Referee must always consider whether the action was dangerous and rule accordingly.
9 BALL HITTING A PLAYER
9.1 If the ball, on its way to the front wall, hits the non-striker or the non-striker’s racket or clothing, play must stop; then:
9.1.1 if the return would not have been good, the non-striker wins the rally;
9.1.2 if the return was going directly to the front wall, and if the striker was making a first attempt without having turned, a stroke is awarded to the striker;
9.1.3 if the ball had hit or would have hit any other wall before the front wall and the striker had not turned, a let is allowed, unless the return would have been a winning return, in which case a stroke is awarded to the striker;
9.1.4 if the striker had not turned but was making a further attempt, a let is allowed;
9.1.5 if the striker had turned, a stroke is awarded to the non-striker, unless the non-striker made a deliberate movement to intercept the ball, in which case, a stroke is awarded to the striker.
9.2 If the ball, on its return from the front wall, hits a player before bouncing twice on the floor, play must stop; then:
9.2.1 if the ball hits the non-striker or the non-striker’s racket, before the striker has made an attempt to strike the ball and no interference has occurred, the striker wins the rally, unless the striker’s position has caused the non-striker to be hit, in which case a let is allowed;
9.2.2 if the ball hits the non-striker, or the non-striker’s racket, after the striker has made one or more attempts to strike the ball, a let is allowed, providing the striker could have made a good return. Otherwise, the non- striker wins the rally;
9.2.3 if the ball hits the striker and there is no interference, the non-striker wins the rally. If interference has occurred, Rule 8 (Interference) applies.
9.3 If the striker hits the non-striker with the ball, the Referee must consider if the action was dangerous and rule accordingly.
10.1 Either player may stop play during the rally and appeal against any lack of call by the Marker by saying “Appeal, please.”
10.2 The loser of a rally may appeal against any call or lack of a call by the Marker by saying “Appeal, please.”
10.3 If the Referee is uncertain which return is being appealed, the Referee must ask for clarification. If there is more than one appeal, the Referee must consider each one.
10.4 After the ball has been served, neither player may appeal anything that occurred before that serve, with the exception of a broken ball.
10.5 At the end of a game any appeal regarding the last rally must be immediate.
10.6 In response to an appeal against a Marker’s call or lack of call the Referee must:
10.6.1 if the Marker’s call or lack of call was correct, allow the result of the rally to stand; or
10.6.2 if the Marker’s call was incorrect, allow a let, unless the Marker’s call interrupted a winning return by either player, in which case award the rally to that player; or
10.6.3 if the Marker made no call on a serve or return that was not good, award the rally to the other player; or
10.6.4 if the Referee was uncertain whether the serve was good, allow a let; or
10.6.5 if the Referee was uncertain whether the return was good, allow a let, unless the Marker’s call interrupted a winning return by the other player, in which case award the rally to that player.
10.7 In all cases the Referee’s decision is final.
11 THE BALL
11.1 If the ball breaks during a rally, a let is allowed for that rally.
11.2 If a player stops play to appeal that the ball is broken, and it is found that the ball is not broken, that player loses the rally.
11.3 If the receiver, before attempting to return serve, appeals that the ball is broken, and the ball is found to be broken, the Referee, if uncertain when it broke, must allow a let for the previous rally.
11.4 A player who wishes to appeal at the end of a game that the ball is broken must do so immediately and before leaving the court.
11.5 The ball must be changed if both players agree or if the Referee agrees with one player’s request.
11.6 If a ball has been replaced, or if the players resume the match after a delay, the players may warm up the ball. Play resumes when both players agree or at the discretion of the Referee, whichever is sooner.
11.7 The ball must remain in the court at all times, unless the Referee permits its removal.
11.8 If the ball becomes wedged in any part of the court, a let is allowed.
11.9 A let may be allowed if the ball touches any article in the court.
11.10 No let is allowed for any unusual bounce.
12.1 Either player may request a let because of distraction, but must do so immediately.
12.2 If the distraction was caused by one of the players, then:
12.2.1 if accidental, a let is allowed, unless a player’s winning return was interrupted, in which case the rally is awarded to that player;
12.2.2 if deliberate, Rule 15 (Conduct) must be applied.
12.3 If the distraction was not caused by one of the players, a let is allowed, unless a player’s winning return was interrupted, in which case the rally is awarded to that player.
12.4 At some events crowd reactions during play may occur. To encourage spectator enjoyment, Rule 12.3 may be suspended, and if sudden crowd noise occurs, players will be expected to continue play and referees will not ask spectators to be quiet. However, a player who stops play and requests a let because of a loud or isolated noise from off the court may be allowed a let for distraction.
13 FALLEN OBJECT
13.1 A player who drops a racket may pick it up and play on, unless the ball touches the racket, or distraction occurs, or the Referee applies a Conduct Penalty.
13.2 A striker who drops the racket because of interference may request a let.
13.3 A non-striker who drops the racket because of contact during the striker’s effort to reach the ball may request a let, and Rule 12 (Distraction) applies.
13.4 If any object, other than a player’s racket, falls to the floor during a rally, play must stop; then:
13.4.1 if the object fell from a player without any contact with the opponent, the opponent wins the rally;
13.4.2 if the object fell from a player because of contact with the opponent, a let is allowed, unless the striker has struck a winning return, or requests a let for interference, in which case Rule 8 (Interference) is applied;
13.4.3 if the object falls from a source other than a player, a let is allowed, unless;
13.4.4 the striker’s winning return was interrupted, in which case the rally is
awarded to the striker;
13.4.5 if the object was not seen until the rally ended and had no effect on the outcome of the rally, the result of the rally stands.
14 ILLNESS, INJURY AND BLEEDING
14.1.1 A player who suffers an illness that involves neither an injury nor bleeding must either continue play immediately, or concede the game in progress and take the 90-second interval between games to recover. This includes conditions such as a cramp, nausea, and breathlessness, as well as asthma. Only 1 game may be conceded. The player must then resume play, or concede the match.
14.1.2 If a player’s vomiting or other action causes the court to become unplayable, the match is awarded to the opponent.
14.2 Injury The Referee:
14.2.1 if not satisfied that the injury is genuine, must advise the player to decide whether to resume play immediately, or to concede the game in progress and take the 90-second interval between games and then resume play, or concede the match. Only 1 game may be conceded;
14.2.2 if satisfied that the injury is genuine, must advise both players of the category of the injury and of the time permitted for recovery. Recovery time is permitted only at the time the injury takes place;
14.2.3 if satisfied that this is a recurrence of an injury sustained earlier in the match, must advise the player to decide whether to resume
play immediately or concede the game in progress and take the 90-second interval between games, or concede the match. Only 1 game may be conceded.
Note: A player who concedes a game retains any points already scored.
14.3 Categories of injury:
14.3.1 Self-inflicted: where the injury is the result of the player’s own action. This includes a muscle tear or sprain, or a bruise resulting from a collision with a wall or falling over. The player is permitted 3 minutes to recover and, if not then ready
to resume play, must concede that game and take the 90-second interval between games for further recovery. Only 1 game may be conceded. The player must then resume play or concede the match.
14.3.2 Contributed: where the injury is the result of accidental action by both players. The injured player is permitted 15 minutes to recover. This may be extended by a further 15 minutes at the discretion of the Referee. If the player is then unable to continue, the match is awarded to the opponent. The score at the conclusion of the rally in which the injury occurred, stands.
14.3.3 Opponent-inflicted: where the injury is caused solely by the opponent.
126.96.36.199 Where the injury is accidentally caused by the opponent, Rule 15 (Conduct) must be applied. The injured player is permitted
15 minutes to recover. If the player is then unable to resume play, the match is awarded to the injured player.
188.8.131.52 Where the injury is caused by the opponent’s deliberate or dangerous play or action, if the injured player requires any time for recovery, the match is awarded to the injured player. If the injured player is able to continue without delay, Rule 15 (Conduct) must be applied.
14.4.1 Whenever bleeding occurs, play must stop and the player must leave the court and attend to the bleeding promptly. Reasonable time for treatment is allowed. Play may resume only after the bleeding has stopped and, where possible, the wound has been covered.
14.4.2 If the bleeding was accidentally caused by the opponent, then Rule 15 (Conduct) must be applied.
14.4.3 If the bleeding is the result of the opponent’s deliberate or dangerous play or action, the match is awarded to the injured player.
14.4.4 A player who is unable to stop the bleeding within the time permitted must either concede 1 game and take the 90-second interval and then continue play, or concede the match.
14.4.5 If blood is again visible during play, no further recovery time is permitted, and the player must concede the game in progress and use the 90- second interval between games for further treatment. If the bleeding has not then stopped, the player must concede the match.
14.4.6 The court must be cleaned and bloodstained clothing replaced.
14.5 An injured player may resume play before the end of any permitted recovery- period. Both players must be given reasonable time to prepare to resume play.
14.6 It is always the injured player’s decision whether or not to resume play.
15.1 Players must comply with any tournament regulations additional to these Rules.
15.2 Players may not place any object within the court.
15.3 Players may not leave the court during a game without the permission of the Referee.
15.4 Players may not request a change of any Official.
15.5 Players must not behave in a manner that is unfair, dangerous, abusive, offensive, or in any way detrimental to the sport.
15.6 If a player’s conduct is unacceptable, the Referee must penalise the player, stopping play if necessary.
Unacceptable behaviour includes, but is not limited to:
15.6.1 audible or visible obscenity;
15.6.2 verbal, physical or any other form of abuse;
15.6.3 unnecessary physical contact, which includes pushing off the opponent;
15.6.4 dangerous play, including an excessive racket swing;
15.6.5 dissent to an Official;
15.6.6 abuse of equipment or court;
15.6.7 unfair warm-up;
15.6.8 delaying play, including being late back on court;
15.6.9 deliberate distraction;
15.6.10 receiving coaching during play.
15.7 A player guilty of an offence may be given a Conduct Warning or penalised with a Conduct Stroke, a Conduct Game, or a Conduct Match, depending on the severity of the offence.
15.8 The Referee may impose more than one warning, stroke or game to a player for a subsequent similar offence, providing any such penalty may not be less severe than the previous penalty for the same offence.
15.9 A warning or a penalty may be imposed by the Referee at any time,
Including during the warm-up and following the conclusion of the match.
15.10 If the Referee:
15.10.1 stops play to issue a Conduct Warning, a let is allowed;
15.10.2 stops play to award a Conduct Stroke, that Conduct Stroke becomes the result of the rally;
15.10.3 awards a Conduct Stroke after a rally has finished, the result of the rally stands, and the Conduct Stroke is added to the score with no change of service-box;
15.10.4 awards a Conduct Game, that game is the one in progress or the next one if a game is not in progress. In the latter case an additional interval of 90 seconds does not apply;
15.10.5 awards a Conduct Game or a Conduct Match, the offending player retains all points or games already won;
15.11 When a Conduct Penalty has been imposed, the Referee must complete any required documentation.