What is a Walkover in Tennis & How Does It Affect Your Wager?

What is a walkover in tennis? And how do walkovers, retirements and more affect your tennis bets? We explain all.

The reality of tennis is that many factors can contribute to a specific match, or a player’s ability to complete the match.

That comes with uncertainties for tennis bettors. Let’s be honest, do we all really know what an injury or rain delay means for our wagers?

We’re here to explain exactly what certain events will mean for your tennis bets. From moneyline bets to futures bets. Specifically, we are here to shine some light on what is a walkover in tennis, and how it affects your sports bet.

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What is a Walkover in Tennis?

A walkover in tennis is when one player wins the match and progresses due to their opponent withdrawing before the match.

In the case of a walkover, no points are awarded. Instead, the match is forfeited by the player who has withdrawn. The other player wins by default.

Unfortunately, as tennis is generally an individual sport. And it is extremely intense. Walkovers are normal occurrences. If a player cannot play due to illness, injury or other circumstances, the match simply cannot go ahead. In other major sports like football and basketball, a different player can be called upon and the match can take place.

What is a Walkover in Tennis?

What Does a Walkover Mean for My Tennis Bet?

So, you know what a walkover is. Now, it’s time to explain what a walkover means for the outcome of your tennis bets.


A moneyline bet is simply picking a player to win the match before it begins. As a walkover results in the match not starting, all bets are void.

This is the case at all of the reputable online sportsbooks in the United States.


As you probably already know, a parlay bet combines multiple matches into one.

For example, Djokovic, Medvedev and Tsitsipas all to win can be combined into a parlay bet.

In this example, if Djokovic were to progress by walkover, your 3-leg parlay would become a 2-leg parlay. If Medvedev and Tsitsipas win their matches, you will be paid out at reduced 2-leg odds.

What is a Walkover in Tennis Betting

What Happens if a Player Retires?

It’s not just walkovers that are frequent in tennis. Players also are prone to retirement during a game due to injury.

Different sportsbooks have different rules regarding bets following retirements. Also, different types of bets are settled differently when a player retires.

With moneyline bets, a retirement could result in one of the following four outcomes:

  1. First Ball – once the first ball is hit, all moneyline bets are in action. Regardless of whether your chosen player retires in Game 1 or Set 3, your bet is settled as a loser. If your chosen player’s opponent retires at any point, your bet is a winner.
  2. One Set – your moneyline wager is in action once one set has been played. If your chosen player retires in Game 4 of the first set, the bet is void rather than lost. However, if they retire in Game 4 of the second set, your bet is a loser.
  3. Two Set – the same principle as ‘One Set’ rules, except two sets are required to be played.
  4. Full Match – your moneyline bet is only settled as a winner or a loser if the full match is completed.

Not to confuse things any further, but sportsbooks tend to decide the winner based on the umpire’s decision. This would be the player that didn’t retire. This means that your moneyline bet could lose even if your chosen tennis player was leading the match before they retired.

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How Do the U.S. Sportsbooks Grade Retirements?

As we said, sportsbooks differ on how a moneyline bet is settled following retirements. Here is what to expect at each of the major books in the United States:

SportsbookRule on Retirements
FanDuelOne Set
BetMGMOne Set
DraftKingsFull Match/First Set (Depending on Event)
CaesarsFull Match
PointsBetOne Set
bet365First Ball

What About Overs/Unders Bets?

The outcome of this is a bit more clear-cut than the moneyline outcomes explained above. All of the major books agree on the same rules regarding overs/unders bets if a player retires.

If you place an over/under bet on a tennis match and there is a retirement, the bet will become void. However, if the over has already been reached when the retirement takes place, your bet is a winner.

For example, you have placed a wager on over 20 games in a match between Djokovic and Medvedev. The match is 7-5, 6-3, and in the third set Djokovic is forced to retire. As there have already been 21 games played, your bet is a winner.

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How Do Retirements Affect Tennis Spread Bets?

Spread bets (also called handicap bets) are refunded if there is a retirement, no matter which player it is who retires.

This can make it either a positive rule or a negative rule for you as the bettor, depending on which player you have wagered on.

For example, you have bet on Djokovic +2.5 against Medvedev and he is leading 6-2, 6-0, 1-0. Your bet can’t possibly lose now. However, if Medvedev then retires, you will be refunded rather than receiving your winnings.

Not so great news. BUT, if you had bet on Medvedev then all is good in the world. The tennis gods are on your side and you have got your stake back at no cost.

Anyway, back to the walkovers.

What is a Walkover in Tennis? Most Matches Lost By Walkover or Retirement

Now you know how a walkover will affect your tennis bet. But which players have suffered the most defeats due to walkovers or retirement?

Jimmy Connors has lost the most matches in history by walkover or retirement.

PlayerNo. of Matches Lost
Jimmy Connors35
Tommy Haas33
Nikolay Davydenko31
Gael Monfils31
Philipp Kohlschreiber29
Kim Warwick28
Richard Gasquet28
Janko Tipsarevic27
Paul Henri Mathieu25
Marcos Baghdatis24
Kei Nishikori24

(Note: Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet are both still playing. It might be worth remembering this when you’re betting on tennis tournaments in the future…)

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