In the world of sports, it is always interesting to see how different games have their own set of rules. Even though some are similar and share similar principles, the way they are played and observed can be quite different. The game of tennis is one such game. It has its own peculiarities but the rules of tennis make it stand out from other games.
To begin with, tennis is usually a singles game but can also be played in doubles. It involves hitting a tennis ball over a net to get your opponent to miss it so you can hit it again without letting them get it back over the net within a certain number of hits. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? This article will give you everything you need to know about the basics and rules of tennis as well as some techniques and strategies for playing like a pro.
Table of Contents
- Rule 1 – The court and its Dimensions
- Rule 2 – The Progression of the Game
- Rule 3 – Serving in Tennis
- Rule 4 – Returning a Serve
- Rule 5 – Rallying After a Serve
- Rule 6 – Scoring in Tennis
- Rule 7 – Game Point and Match Points
Rule 1 – The court and its Dimensions
Tennis is played either indoors or outdoors on a rectangular court with a net running across its center. In tennis, the court is 78 feet long by 27 feet wide. The service line, which is 9 feet behind the baseline, divides the court into two halves. The net is 2 feet 6 inches high at the center and bisects the court width-wise.
Rule 2 – The Progression of the Game
- Tennis is a game of points. If a player wins a point, they score a point and the opponent loses a point.
- The first player to win 4 points wins the game. The set is won when a player wins 6 games. Thus, a tennis match is best of three sets.
- A game is won by the player who first wins 4 points, by 2 points if tied at 3-3 or by the first player who breaks the tie and gets ahead 3-4.
- A tie-break is played to decide the winner if the score is 6-6 in games.
- A match is won by the player who wins 2 out of 3 sets or by the player who wins more games in the 3 sets.
Rule 3 – Serving in Tennis
The player who is designated first serves the ball into the diagonally opposite court. After the first ball is served, the server alternates between serving and receiving each next ball.
The server stands behind the baseline on the right side of the court and the receiver stands at the left side of the baseline on the opposite side.
The server has two chances to hit the ball. If the ball goes out, it is the receiver’s turn to hit the ball. If the receiver fails to hit the ball, the server wins the point.
Rule 4 – Returning a Serve
- The receiver hits the ball to the server’s side of the court. A point is scored when the ball passes over the net and is not returned back by the server.
- When the ball is served and hits the receiving player, then it is a fault, and the server gets a point.
- When the ball is served and hits the receiving player’s side of the net and goes out of the court, it is called a let. A let is awarded when the ball barely touches the net and lands on the opposite side of the court.
- When the ball is served and hits the receiving player’s side of the net but doesn’t go out of the court, it is called a let.
Rule 5 – Rallying After a Serve
- After a point is scored, the server alternates positions with the receiver, with each player remaining on their side of the court.
- The ball must be struck in a way that it lands within the boundaries of the court.
- The ball must be struck with a part of the racket, not with the racket’s handle or the racket’s frame; otherwise, it is a fault and the opponent gets a point.
- If a player fails to return the ball over the net and into the other side within the allotted number of hits, it is a fault, and the opponent gets a point.
- A player can score a point only when the ball is above the net and in play.
Rule 6 – Scoring in Tennis
- A point is scored by the player who first hits the ball and it is above the net and in play.
- A point is scored when the opponent fails to return the ball over the net and it is in play.
- A point is scored when the ball is above the net and below the level of the net.
- A point is scored when the ball is below the net and within the width of the court.
- A point is scored when the ball first hits one’s own court and then hits the opponent’s court.
Rule 7 – Game Point and Match Points
- The first player to reach 6 points wins a game. If the score is 5-4 or 4-4, the winner of the next point wins the game.
- If a player wins 6 games and the score is 5-0 or 4-0, they have a two-game advantage. In this case, they only need to win one game while their opponent needs to win two to win the set.
- A game point is when the score is 40-40 and the next point decides the game.
- A match point is at 40-0 when the next point wins the set.
Tennis is a game of strategy and skill. It requires you to be alert at all times, react quickly to the ball’s path, and plot your movements step by step. However, it is also one of the most fun sports to play because it can be played by all ages and fitness types.
If you’re new to tennis, remember to start out slow and easy. Work on developing your forehand, backhand, and serve, as these are the main shots used in tennis. If you’re eager to start playing, make sure you understand the rules and progress of the game before you grab a racket and step onto a court.