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Want to be a tennis umpire?

Tennis umpire
Contact: Lawn Tennis Association
Tel: 020 8487 7000

What's involved?
There are two types of umpires - chair umpires and line umpires.

The chair (or senior) umpire sits in the tall chair at one end of the net. He calls the score and can overrule the line umpires.

The line umpire sits outside the court looking down all the court lines. It's their job to decide whether the ball is in or out.

There are also referees who work behind the scenes, liaising with players and organising things such as the draw and order of play.

  • Good eyesight and hearing
  • Excellent concentration
  • Ability to stay cool under pressure
  • A team player, who can accept constructive criticism.
  • A good knowledge of the rules
  • A loud voice!


The Lawn Tennis Association holds free umpire seminars at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton. It starts with an introduction to umpiring techniques, and from there you can decide whether or not you want to take it further.

The next step is an LTA Accreditation Course. This involves on-court training, on lines and in the chair and a written examination on the Rules of Tennis.

A top umpire can expect to earn £50-£60,000 per annum, but it takes a long time to get there! Most earn around £30,000. On average a line judge can expect to earn £20,000.

Best part of the job
"I've umpired at all the top tennis events and on my travels I've made friends in all four corners of the world. It's been a wonderful experience."Phillip Evans, LTA umpire

Worst part of the job
"Realising you've made a mistake! You have to make decisions in split seconds so you have to go with what you see. Inevitably mistakes are made." Phillip Evans, LTA umpire


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