Tennis rules can sometimes be tricky and confusing. Unlike football and basketball, its more than just kicking the ball into the opponent’s net or throwing a ball through a hoop.
Different terminologies and methods go along the way which can be difficult to catch on. Nobody thought that ‘Love’ could mean ‘zero’, but in tennis it does.
Tennis is a popular sport played globally, both professionally and as a recreational activity. It is a physically demanding game that requires a combination of speed, agility, and strategy. It is played between two players(singles) or two teams(doubles); each team comprising of 2 players.
The objective of the game is to hit the ball over the net and into the opponent’s court, in such a way that the opponent is not able to play a valid return. Points are scored when a player is unable to return the ball or hits it out of bounds.
Two people cannot just pick up rackets and start playing tennis without knowing the rules. That would just end up in a quarrel, or worse; a fistfight.
Let’s look at a quick summary of tennis rules that would provide you sufficient knowledge to play your first game.
Here are some of the basic rules and regulations of tennis:
- Court dimensions:
Yes, the size of the court matters. Even if you are playing it casually with a group of friends, you will need a proper court, otherwise the game would become unplayable. A standard tennis court is 78 feet long and 27 feet wide for singles and 36 feet wide for doubles. The court is divided in half by a net that stands 3 feet high in the center and 3 feet 6 inches high at the posts.
- Tennis Serve:
The game starts with a serve. The player who serves the ball starts the point, and the first serve must be made from the right hand side of the court. If the serve lands in the service box, it is considered a good serve and the rally continues.
In case the ball lands outside the service box, it is considered a fault, and the player gets a second chance to serve. In the game of tennis, the player who is serving
A service box is the area on the other side of the net in which a serve must land in order to be legal. Note that points are not awarded to opponent upon one faulty serve. Points are awarded on two consecutive faulty serves.
Points in tennis are awarded to you upon your opponent’s miss or fault. Points are scored when a player wins a rally. Points are called “love”, “15”, “30”, “40”, and “game”. Love means 0 points, 15 means 1 point, 30 means 2 points, and 40 means 3 points. A player must win by two points, meaning that if the score reaches 40-40, it is called “deuce”, and the player who wins the next point is said to have “advantage”. If that player wins the next point, they win the game. If they lose the next point, the score goes back to deuce.
- The Tennis Rally:
A rally starts when the ball is served and continues until a person is unable to return the ball or hits it out of bounds. The ball must be hit before it bounces twice on the court, and it must land within the opponent’s court. If a player hits the ball before it has a chance to bounce, it is called a volley.
- Out of Bounds:
The ball is out of bounds if it lands outside the court or touches any of the lines marking the court’s boundaries. If a player hits the ball out of bounds, they lose the point.
If a player serves the ball and it hits the net but still lands in the opponent’s court, it is called a “let”. The point is replayed, and no points are awarded to either player.
- The Tiebreak:
If the score reaches 6-6 in any set, a tiebreak is played to determine the winner of the set. In a tiebreak, points are counted differently than a regular game. The first player to reach 7 points with a difference if two or more points wins the tiebreak and the set.
- No. of sets:
Most tennis matches are played as best-of-three or best-of-five sets. A best-of-three set match consists of three sets, with the winner being the player who wins two of the three sets. A best-of-five set match consists of five sets, with the winner being the player who wins three of the five sets.