Why Do Tennis Players Ask For The Supervisor?

A tennis supervisor overlooks everything that’s going on at a tournament. In many ways, they make the final decision on anything. That can be final calls on weather and playing conditions, to controversial rulings on-court.

With them almost always siding with whatever the chair umpire says initially, is there a reason to ask for the supervisor in the first place?

Why Do Tennis Players Ask For The Supervisor? Tennis players almost always ask for a supervisor because they are frustrated for some reason. It can be due to a call, playing conditions, crowd noise, and more. Supervisors must come out when a player insists, but they don’t tend to do much as far as drastic changes are concerned.

Breaking Down The Major Decisions Supervisors Make On-Court

Supervisors handle a lot of different things at eight a tournament, but this article focuses on issues on the court only. Players only call the supervisor during a match for one of these general reasons.

Fan Disturbance

Fans can get pretty rowdy in certain situations. If it is becoming a distraction, players may decide to ask for the supervisor to see if they can do something. This is usually done only after the chair umpire has tried to unsuccessfully calm down the fans.

This move works in some cases, but it can also backfire if one player is particularly disliked by the fans. If anything, players should be very cautious about letting the crowd know that they are bothering them. It could be a recipe for disaster.

If there are one or two troubling fans in the stands, there’s also the option of calling a supervisor and seeing what can be done. Whether it’s being inappropriately loud or being racist towards a player, a supervisor can speed up the process of getting a person removed.

With tennis being a quiet sport overall, it’s usually pretty easy to figure out who is pushing the limit and making noises that are too much.


A supervisor has the final ruling on many different issues that happened on the tennis court. If a supervisor is called out, there’s usually some level of controversy that’s going on.

Controversial calls will always get players on both sides riled up. One or two bad calls might not make too much of a difference, but players will start to take action if they feel like they are getting the wrong side of the deal.

Judging line calls and making split-second rulings are very difficult for a supervisor to overturn. While they have the power to do so, they are not in the same position as the chair umpire. It’s impossible to have a supervisor try to make a call from wherever they are watching the match.

Fortunately, there are less controversial rulings now because of all the technology that goes into calling lines.

More and more tournaments are using the Hawkeye system and other real-time technological advances to make line calling more accurate. With video evidence, it’s hard for a player to argue over a ruling.


It’s never a good sign to see the supervisor come out of the tunnel and be very close to the action during a match.

They’ve usually received word that the weather is starting to get bad, and they are about to discuss with the umpire in the chair to make a final decision. Sometimes, they wait until the end of a game, but fast-moving storms need faster results.

Supervisors will talk to the chair umpire, as well as the two players when the weather starts to look pretty bad. If it’s already started to rain, supervisors need to check the lines and see if the surface is too slippery.

Generally speaking, if both players feel like they are slipping around and it’s not safe, the supervisor will postpone the match.

They are also in charge of deciding whether the players should stay on the court for a short delay, or go back to the locker rooms. Once the players go back to the locker room, there will be a necessary warm-up time once everything is clear to play.


Very rarely will umpires lose track of a score. If a player feels like a score is incorrect, they can ask for a supervisor to come in and check things out.

With the way technology is today, this is likely not going to happen. Any mistakes are caught before the supervisor has to come out.

The supervisor has access to other pieces of information that aren’t going to be on the court. That way they can be briefed on the situation and make the smart decision so that the matches remain as fair as possible.

Is it Pointless for a Player to Call for the Supervisor?

In most cases, calling for the supervisor isn’t going to end up well for the player. It’s a way to complain and put up an argument for something, but they are unlikely to make a change unless it’s clear that a mistake occurred.

Players also might be more tempted to lose their cool if a supervisor comes out, which could lead to penalties.

Most players won’t call out the supervisor unless they feel like they have to. They know that it is a relative waste of time, and could turn the crowd against them in general. They are always there for a reason, but abusing the power of asking for a supervisor too much will give players a bad reputation.

Calling the supervisor is also a delaying tactic that might seem decent in theory, but it could hurt a player’s reputation. If the fans and fellow players feel like the supervisor was only called to delay a match, it’s messing up the overall flow of the match.

Is a Supervisor Necessary?

A supervisor will always be necessary at a tennis tournament, regardless of what they actually do on-court. There needs to be someone who makes the final decision, and they will be the ones to do that.

It is true that they very rarely overrule what the chair umpire decides, but there needs to be someone governing over them if they make an error. A supervisor isn’t paying attention to a particular match, so they can see the bigger picture as well.

Ultimately, supervisors are needed at every single tennis tournament to help run things more than anything. Without someone solely in charge, it can end up being chaos in a hurry. Tennis matches have a ton of high-intensity moments, and on-court issues are just part of their responsibilities.

Fred Simonsson

I'm Fred, the guy behind TennisPredict. Apart from writing here, I play tennis on a semi-professional level and coach upcoming talents.

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