Knock Out Competition Formats

The Knock-Out competition format has been presented by KNLTB, The Netherlands.

What is a Knock Out competition?

Knock Out is the most famous format in tennis, players are put in a draw the winners progress to the next round the losers drop out. (See Knock Out with Consolation, which has a second draw for players knocked out in the first round).

1 day - 1 week 16-128 players Singles or Doubles
9-years-and-older Individual Competitive

Structure of a Knock Out competition

The following are some key tips for organisers:


Minimum of 16 players is best in a knockout, though byes can be given if you don’t have enough players. Aim to have enough courts for the first round so that all or most first round matches can be played in a day.


Choose a scoring format. Best of 3 tiebreak sets works well. For younger players, or if you have less time, play best of 3 tiebreak sets to 4 games (at 44 a tiebreak is played). Players score their own matches.


Display and update a drawsheet so players can see the draw and keep up with who wins and loses.



Conduct the draw. If seeding players, keep them separate for the first round (see page 2). Once you have drawn your matches, give players a time to arrive and sign-in and play their matches. You may give different times to different players so that 50% of players arrive at 10.00 hours and 50% arrive at 12.00 hours, allowing time for the first 50% of matches to be played and out of the way before the other 50% are ready to start.


The winner at the end is the player who progresses through all the rounds and wins the final. Note: The knockout format is not recommended for starter players or those under 10 years of age.

Adapting the Format

Many formats can easily be adapted to suit players e.g. aged 10-and-under, mixed ages, teams and to be a more or less competitive event. To understand more about how to adapt competition to suit to the needs and lifestyles of the player, click here.

Applying Themes

Many competitions are more fun and easier to promote if they have a theme such as Davis Cup, Olympics or Family Day attached. To understand more about how to apply themes to competitions, click here.

Example Knock Out Competition

Click below under 'Related Links' for an example Pyramid Competition format, including a sample to use.

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