What is a Walkover in Tennis

What is a walkover in tennis is commonly asked question by people? It is possible that in the world of sports you have observed the initials “WO” in the competition tables of some tournament or championship. It is widespread to see it in tennis tournaments. WO is the abbreviation of the word walkover, which is used to indicate that one of the competitors has not shown up for a confrontation, whatever the reason. The origin of the walkover in tennis comes from the classic British horse races, in which when these circumstances occurred, the horse had to travel (walkover) the entire track to be considered the winner, even if there was only one horse in the competition.

Other sports were adopting this term, and its use is already widely accepted today. Tennis is the sport that uses it the most, mainly because it is an individual sport, with a large number of contenders per tournament. And with a large number of games each season, which is why walkover in tennis is very common to see in the competition tables when a tennis player cannot play a match due to diverse reasons.

The most famous story that happened under the circumstance of the tennis walkover was the one produced during the final of the ATP World Tour Finals, the Tennis Masters Cup, in its 2014 edition. There was a scheduled meeting between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, but an injury that the latter had been dragging prevented him from jumping to pistar and playing the previous match. Thus, the Serbian won the title by walkover.

Also in 2014, at the Sony Open Miami tennis tournament, none of the finalists played their semi-final. Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal reached the grand final by walkover since their rivals in the semi-finals, Kei Nishikori (due to groin injury) and Tomas Berdych (due to gastroenteritis) could not play those matches.

What does Walkover Mean?

When we talk about walkover in tennis, it refers to the fact that one of the two players does not appear on the court to play. This either due to injury or some physical discomfort. A walkover in tennis does not occur frequently; however, it happens because as an individual sport, there is no way to change the player or have a replacement.

How do you do a Walkover?

First, begin with the same exercises as you would do to start learning the walkover and bridge, with one foot lifted:

Raise one leg as high as possible and push up to a bridge. Next, work up to a position where you can raise your leg so that it points to the ceiling directly. This will aid you in maintaining balance with only one leg and one hand, and enhance your flexibility as well. Practice raising your legs frequently too. Although you would use the same leg to support your forward steps regularly, you can still perform this exercise in various ways.

Next, try a walkover limber (basically two feet crossing) on a barrel mat or with a spotter:

Begin to stand, with your arms stretched above your head.

Sprint forward and spring into a handstand.

Use your barrel mat or spotter to support your legs through the handstand. You would end up in a bridge position at this point. Now is the tricky part. Push away your hands, transfer all the weight of your body to your feet, and then stand up slowly. Likewise, use your barrel pads or spotter to support your back. When you and your instructor feel that you are ready, try doing a Walkover Limber without any pads or spotter.

How do you do a Back Walkover?

The back walkover is a classic gymnastics movement, and it is the catalyst for compound rolling techniques such as backflips. Here, the gymnast must first master the standing backbends and kick overs before performing more complex walks. It would help if you also had a flexible back, a strong core, and shoulders. You must also practice the back walkover in the company of a qualified gymnastics coach. When you gain strength and abilities during the exercise, ask the coach to spot you by supporting your back or lifting your working legs.

Before working on how to do a back walkover, you should also perform 5 to 10 minutes of aerobic exercise, such as jogging, cycling or skipping rope, to warm up. You can also perform 10 minutes of weightlifting exercises such as push-ups, rows and bridges after aerobic exercise to activate your shoulders, back, core, and hips. 

To do the backwards walkover:

  1. Stand tall with your shoulders, ankles and hips in a straight line.
  2. Extend your arms above your head and align your upper arms with your ears.
  3. Contract your abdomen, lift your chest slightly, and slide your shoulders back.

Next, point your toes forward and straighten up one leg. Keep your feet as straight as possible. When arching your back, stretch your body and begin to bend backwards. When you reach the floor behind your standing leg, push your hips forward slightly. Let the raised leg extend towards the ceiling. Focusing your eyes on your hands will help keep your head neutral too.

Next, perform a reverse split by pressing one hand on the ground and raising the standing or foundation leg so that it is parallel to the floor in front of the body. At the same time, the first leg should drop to a level parallel to the floor behind the body. The legs should then form a straight line from heel to heel. When keeping the abdomen fixed, the torso should be centred on the shoulders.

Next, place the foot of the first leg on the floor directly below the hip. When the second leg swings, continue to press on with your hands. And place it on the floor behind the body. Finally, when you stand up, raise your head, arms and torso towards the ceiling. Then go ahead and do the back walkover. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a walkover count as a win in tennis?

Yes. As earlier highlighted, a walkover in tennis counts as a win for the present contestant in a tennis match.

Does a walkover count as a loss?

In contrast to the first point, a walkover in tennis counts as a loss for the absent contestant in a tennis match.

Why is it 40 not 45 in tennis?

To keep the score within the “60” clock ticks, the 45 was changed to 40 in tennis.

What is a bad serve in tennis called?

A bad serve in tennis is called a fault/ invalid serve attempt. It is a fault in tennis once they serve fails to get into the serve box of the receiver. In tennis, the gameplay can’t begin until a serve lands in the receiver’s box.

Why does it go 15 30 40 in tennis?

The origins of 15, 30 and 40 points are considered to be the French in the middle Ages. It is quite possible that a clock was used on the court, and a quarter movement of the hands indicated points of 15, 30 and 45. But if the player fails to score twice in a row, the clock will go back to 40 to establish another “tie”.

Is a back or front walkover easier?

A back walkover is more accessible than a front walkover because you can generally stand from it. When working on how to do a front walkover, you must jump out of a bridge.

How do you do a Kickover in one day?

A kick over involves making use of your dominant foot from the bridge position. With some practice and a friend to spot you, then kick over can be achieved in 1 day.


Stretch your back, ankles and wrists beforehand. You can stretch your wrists and ankles by gently rolling them in a circle. Lunges can help extend your legs and hamstring muscles too. Do yoga to stretch your back, or practice bridges to prepare your back for the kick over. 

Stand up straight with your feet and shoulder widely apart. Once bent over, this will place the legs in a natural posture to support the body. Make sure there is enough space behind so that you can safely do the Kickover.

Place your feet firmly on the ground, extend your arms above your head, and lean backwards. Continue to lean backwards slowly until your arms touch the ground. If this is the first time you have tried a Kickover, do consider finding a spotter to help you stay stable and make sure you don’t fall.

Lie on the floor, bend your legs, and place your feet flat on the ground. Next, place your hands on the ground above your head while bending your elbows. Push your body off the floor with your arms and legs until it bridges your body. Finally, go ahead and perform the kick over.


In conclusion, the meaning of WO tennis is something that many people do not know and are confused when hearing this term. However, this occurs when one of the two players does not appear for the match. And the player who remains on the court will be the winner. The walkover in tennis further has diverse sections worth taking note of as highlighted above.