What Does Retired Mean in Tennis

What Does Retired Mean in Tennis?

General Sports

Tennis is a captivating sport that has its own unique set of terminologies. One such term that often comes up during matches is “retired.” But what does “retired” actually mean in tennis? In this article, we’ll dive into the meaning of this term and explore its significance within the context of tennis matches and tournaments.

What Does “Retired” Mean in Tennis?

When a player retires in tennis, it signifies that they have chosen to withdraw from the match or tournament they were participating in. This decision can be made for various reasons, including injury, illness, or personal circumstances. 

Essentially, retiring is a voluntary action taken by a player to cease their participation in a particular match or tournament.


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Why Do Players Retire in Tennis?

Players may retire from a tennis match due to several factors:

  1. Injury: If a player sustains an injury during a match that hinders their ability to continue playing, they may choose to retire. Common injuries include sprains, strains, or even more severe conditions such as fractures.
  2. Illness: In some cases, players may fall ill during a match, experiencing symptoms that make it impossible for them to continue competing. In such situations, retirement becomes a viable option.
  3. Fatigue: Tennis matches can be physically demanding, especially during long and grueling tournaments. If a player becomes excessively fatigued and feels they are unable to perform at their best, they may decide to retire.
  4. Personal Reasons: Occasionally, players may encounter personal issues or emergencies that require their immediate attention. In such cases, retirement allows them to prioritize their personal well-being or attend to pressing matters outside of the game.

Consequences of Retirement

When a player retires from a tennis match, several consequences follow:

  1. Loss: By retiring, the player effectively concedes the match to their opponent. The opponent is declared the winner, regardless of the score at the time of retirement.
  2. Walkover: If a player retires before a match begins or fails to complete even a single set, it is referred to as a “walkover.” This means that the opponent advances to the next round without having to play the match.
  3. Tournament Implications: Retiring from a match may have implications for a player’s participation in the overall tournament. Depending on the tournament rules, a player may face penalties or be ineligible to compete in future events due to frequent retirements.


FAQs about Retiring in Tennis

Can a player retire from a match at any time?

Yes, a player can retire from a match at any point, even in the middle of a game or set. However, once the decision to retire is made, it cannot be reversed.

Does retirement impact a player’s ranking?

Retiring from a match does not directly impact a player’s ranking. However, frequent retirements can lead to penalties and may affect a player’s eligibility for future tournaments.

Are there any financial implications of retiring?

While retiring from a match does not result in a financial penalty, players often lose out on potential prize money that they could have earned had they continued in the tournament.

Is there a difference between retiring and defaulting?

Yes, there is a distinction between retiring and defaulting in tennis. Retirement is a voluntary decision made by a player, while defaulting occurs when a player is forced to withdraw due to external factors, such as disqualification or injury caused by an opponent.

Can a retired player come back to professional tennis?

Yes, a retired player can make a comeback to professional tennis if they choose to return to the sport. However, re-establishing their ranking and securing tournament invitations may require additional efforts and achievements.

Is retiring considered poor sportsmanship?

Retiring from a match is generally accepted within the tennis community as a legitimate decision based on individual circumstances. However, excessive or strategic retirements can be seen as poor sportsmanship and may damage a player’s reputation.


In tennis, “retired” refers to a player’s voluntary withdrawal from a match or tournament. Whether due to injury, illness, fatigue, or personal reasons, retiring signifies the end of a player’s participation in a specific event. 

While it may lead to immediate consequences, such as a loss or a walkover for the opponent, retiring is a personal decision that players make to prioritize their well-being or address pressing matters. Understanding the meaning and implications of “retired” in tennis allows both players and spectators to grasp the significance of this term within the context of the game.

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