Are transgender people allowed to play tennis on the WTA & ATP tours as their non-original gender? I know that Renee Richards was the first one to play at a Grand Slam, about 20 years ago.

Does the rulebook accept deny entry currently for people who have changed sex? Are the rules different on ITF & ATP/WTA circuit?

I know this question can be asked of any sport, but I am restricting it to tennis only.

1 Answer 1



In short, male to female transitions can participate under a set of conditions with respect to gender identity, hormonal treatment, and testosterone levels. Female to male transitions cannot participate if they are going through hormonal treatment.

WTA defines this in their Gender Participation Policy, most recently updated in December 2016:

The following guidelines set forth the eligibility of entry into and participation of transgender players in WTA Tournaments:

A) A player who transitions from male to female (also known as a trans female (MTF)) is eligible to enter into and participate in WTA Tournaments under the following conditions:

i. The player has declared that her gender identity is female. The declaration cannot be changed, for purposes of entry into any WTA Tournament, for a minimum of four (4) years. 2

ii. The player undergoes hormonal treatment for gender transition and demonstrates that her total testosterone level in serum has been below 10 nmol/L for at least twelve (12) months prior to her first WTA Tournament (with the requirement for any longer period to be based on a confidential, case-by-case evaluation, considering whether or not twelve (12) months is a sufficient length of time to minimize any advantage during competition).

iii. The player's total testosterone level in serum must remain below 10 nmol/L throughout the period of desired eligibility to enter into and participate in any WTA Tournament. iv. Compliance with these conditions may be monitored by testing, which testing shall be administered in WTA’s sole discretion based on standards of reasonableness and fairness and in consultation with physicians and medical experts. In the event of non-compliance, the player’s eligibility for competition in WTA Tournaments will be suspended for twelve (12) months.

B) A player who transitions from female to male (also known as a trans male (FTM)) is not eligible to enter into or participate in any WTA Tournaments if he is undergoing hormonal treatment for gender transition.


The policy in the ATP is less clear as it's not specifically addressed in the way the WTA addresses the matter (that I could find). This is addressed in "Entries" in rule 7.02 of the 2017 ATP Official Rulebook:

Gender / Age Limitation

ATP will use the age of a player on the first (1st) day of the qualifying competition. Male players age sixteen (16) or older are not limited in the number of tournaments they may enter.

However, in the Foreword under the "Exhibits" section, it states:

Note: Except where otherwise stated, every reference in these Rules of Tennis to the masculine includes the feminine gender.

I'm not sure if this means females are included as males, or because since mixed doubles rules are covered in the document, females and males are both referred to in the same manner (ie, s/he).


Transitions before puberty are recognized as the latter gender (ie, if an individual transitions from female to male before puberty, said individual will be recognized as male).

Transitions after puberty are eligible to participate in male or female competitions respectively with respect to surgery, legal gender identity, verifiable hormonal therapy, and two years after a gonadectomy.

The ITF goes into this in Appendix A of the 2017 ITF Pro Circuit Regulations:

Any individuals undergoing sex reassignment from male to female before puberty are regarded as girls and women (female), while those undergoing reassignment from female to male are regarded as boys and men (male).

Individuals undergoing sex reassignment from male to female after puberty (and the converse) are eligible for participation in female or male competitions, respectively, under the following conditions:

a. Surgical anatomical changes have been completed, including external genitalia changes and gonadectomy.

b. Legal recognition of their assigned sex has been conferred by the appropriate official authorities.

c. Hormonal therapy appropriate for the assigned sex has been administered in a verifiable manner and for a sufficient length of time to minimise genderrelated advantages in sport competitions.

d. Eligibility should begin no sooner than two years after gonadectomy.

  • FTM should be listed on ATP rulebook right? Apr 14, 2017 at 12:04
  • @KharoBangdo I didn't find anything specific for the ATP. Doesn't mean it's not out there.
    – user527
    Apr 14, 2017 at 12:20
  • 1
    I think "every reference in these Rules of Tennis to the masculine includes the feminine gender" means that if it says "if a player does X he will be penalized in Y manner" or "a player shall not make contact with ABC with his hand" applies to all players, not just male ones, and is irrelevant for this question. Apr 14, 2017 at 18:15

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