What Is A Walkover In Tennis?

What Is A Walkover In Tennis

A walkover in tennis refers to a situation where a player wins a match without having to compete, due to their opponent being unable to play.

Reasons For a Walkover

This can occur for various reasons, such as injury, illness, personal reasons, or disqualification. In such cases, the player who is unable to compete forfeits the match, and their opponent is declared the winner by default.

The concept of a walkover is deeply rooted in the rules and etiquette of tennis. It ensures the smooth progression of tournaments despite unforeseen circumstances that may prevent a match from taking place.

While a walkover grants an automatic victory to one player, it’s often met with mixed feelings. On one hand, it provides an unexpected and sometimes easier passage through the tournament for the benefiting player. On the other hand, it can be a disappointing outcome for players and fans alike, who miss out on the chance to witness a competitive match.

What Happens In A Tournament With A Walkover?

From a tournament perspective, walkovers can affect the scheduling and overall dynamic of the event. For instance, a player who advances due to a walkover may have more rest and preparation time compared to their next opponent, who had to play their previous match. This can potentially give them a physical and psychological edge.

Moreover, walkovers can have implications for rankings and statistics. For example, in professional tennis, a walkover does not count as a win or loss for either player in terms of their head-to-head record. However, the player who advances still earns ranking points and prize money as if they had won the match.

Walkover vs Retirement

It’s important to note that a walkover is different from a retirement. In a retirement, the match begins, but one player is unable to finish due to injury, illness, or other reasons. In this case, their opponent is declared the winner, and the match statistics until the point of retirement are recorded.


A walkover in tennis is a unique aspect of the sport. And it deals with the reality of unforeseen circumstances affecting players. While it can obviously provide an advantage to one player, it also reflects the sport’s adaptability and commitment to fairness and order in competition.

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