Tennis is a racket sport that is often regarded as the hardest sport to learn. For beginners, Tennis rules and regulations can be tricky to understand.
But this is where we came in! We have collaborated with professional tennis players and have done our research to guide you properly about tennis game rules. So sit back and keep on reading for essential information.
History Of Tennis
Originally, tennis was known as “Jeu de paume.” Its roots can be traced back to the 12th century. The modern form originated in the early 19th century in England. According to the International Tennis Federation (ITF), there are 87 million tennis players around the World, making it one of the most popular sports.
As per the United States Tennis Association (USTA), alone in the US, the popularity skyrockets in 2020 by 22%. There are 22 million US citizens who regularly play it.
In 1981, tennis made a return to the Olympics. Now, it also has four major tournaments, which include the French Open, US Open, Wimbledon, and the Australian tournament.
Aim Of Tennis
The aim is to hit the ball over the net, landing it within the margins in such a way that your opponent fails to return it. Every time your opponent fails to return the ball, you win a point.
It is a four-point game that must be won by at least a two-point lead. The match is played in the set sequence. Usually, the winner is determined by the best of three or five sets.
Tennis Equipment List
A match is either played between two players (singles) or four players (doubles). Usually, the tennis court has 4 main types, clay, grass, carpet, and hard surface. Here’s the list of other required gear:
- Oval Head Rackets
- Yellow Colored Spherical Ball
- A Rectangular Net
- Wrist And Head Bands
The tennis ball must be between 2.5 to 2.6 in diameter. Some people think the size of the ball is same as squash and racquetball but that’s not true. The weight of the ball should always be 2 oz. In professional matches, players can only wear shorts that don’t cover their knees.
Tennis Scoring Rules
The game is played in sets. A player needs four points to win the game. Most professional matches are played in a best-of-three set with six games in each. Mostly, a possible tiebreak game is also played between players.
How Do Tennis Points Work?
Tennis points are often regarded as love, deuce, and advantage. If both players make the 40 points, then the game is deuce. To take advantage a player must win “two consecutive matches” to take advantage. The points are:
|40 – 40||Deuce|
|The receiver wins a deuce point||Ad-Out|
|The server wins a deuce point||Ad-In|
If the match is deuced, then you must win two consecutive games to win. For example, if the score of your opponent is 5, then you must lead by at least 7 scores for a legal win.
Tennis Tie Break Rules
All major tournaments have a 10-point tie-breaker system now. In 2022, the French Open also adopted this system. Now, it is widely regarded as the “Wimbledon 2022 tie-break rules.”
The rule simply explains:
“Once the match reaches the tie, the first player that scores 10 points with a minimum of 2 points margin wins the match.”
Tennis Serve Rules
The player needs to serve diagonally into the service box across the court. If the ball hits the net and lands outside the right service box, then it is considered a fault.
While serving, the server’s feet can’t touch the baseline, sideline, or extension of the center line. The player who is serving is also required to stay roughly in the acute position to prevent the opponent from misleading.
Types Of Tennis Serve
There are four types of tennis serves. The rule of thumb is the better your serve; the weaker your opponent will return.
- Flat Serve: It is hard and powerful. This type of serve is mostly played with the Continental or Eastern grip. It is inconsistent and more difficult to play for short players.
- Slice Serve: This serve type draws your opponent out wide to the ad side, which results in an open court for you. The slice serves motion creates sidespin, making the ball bouncier.
- Kick Serve: It is also known as heavy topspin serve. It is the hardest type and takes a lot of technique to master. The kick serve is usually hit high over the net.
- Underhand serve: It is the most controversial and least used type of serve in tennis matches. It is more like a winning tactic rather than a fair technique.
Tennis Court Rules
Here’re some general tennis court rules that players are obliged to follow while playing:
- The rule of thumb is that players or teams can’t reach over the net to hit the ball until the ball clearly passes over the net.
- The court is 78 feet long and for singles matches, 27 feet wide. For doubles matches the court is 36 feet wide.
- The court must be divided into two equal areas by a net suspended by a cord or metal cable attached to two net posts
- Players cannot touch the net or cross onto the opponent’s field side.
- You cannot hit the ball twice.
- While playing, you can’t carry or catch the ball with a racquet.
Apart from it, you are also obliged to wait patiently until the ball reaches your side before you hit it.
10 Basic Rules Of Tennis
Apart from the serving, scoring, and equipment regulation, there are 10 basic rules to remember for a better understanding of the game.
- Coin Toss: A coin toss decides which player will serve. The serving player can also choose the side from which they want to serve.
- Serving Fault: The serving player has 2 chances to serve. If they fail to do so, they lose a point. While serving, the ball must toss into the opponent’s service box diagonally.
- Player Challenge: The players can challenge the decision of the line judge. Each team or player has 2 sets of challenges.
- Set & Games: You have to win 6 games and 4 points before your opponent.
- Ranking System: Each player received a ranking based on their performance.
- Tie Breakers: If a professional match is tied, both players or teams are forced to decide the winner through a 10-point tie-break system.
- Duece: A match is called deuce when it’s tied.
- Double/Singles: Matches are played in two sets. Either one-to-one between individual players or doubles between 4 players or two teams.
- Ball Boys/Girls: These are the people who run and pick the ball after every foul.
- Tennis Chair Umpire: They watch and fix any issue. They also announce the score after every point.
These are more like terminologies rather than rules. But without any one of them, a professional match can’t be played.
5 Ways To Win Points In Tennis
There are 5 absolute ways through which you can win points in a tennis match. Each way has a certain name assigned to it. These are;
- Winners: It is the easiest way to win points. Mainly, if your opponent fails to return the ball before it hits twice, you win a point.
- Double Bounce: The ball is only allowed to bounce once. As mentioned earlier, you lose a point before the ball hits twice.
- Opponent’s Error At Net: If the ball hits the net and lands out, then it is considered a foul.
- Opponent’s Error Outside Court: If the opponent’s ball goes outside the marked court, you win a point.
- Double Faults: When a player loses both serve chances, they lose a point. It is known as double faults.
What Is A Foot Fault In Tennis?
If the server’s foot touches the baseline or the imaginary extension of the center mark, it is a fault. If the foot touches the baseline, while the second serve, you lose a point.
Tennis Rules FAQs
Wrapping It Up!
Tennis is the hardest yet most popular sport in the US. With Olympics status, it also has four major championship tournaments.
In general, there are ten basic rules of tennis and players can score a point in five different matches. The game is played either in the best of three or five sets. There is no time limit during a continuous rally.
Unlike other sports, you can challenge the umpire ruling in it. Players must win the match, with at least four points. If the match is deuce at equal points, then the player who scored ten points first, with a clear two-point difference in the opponent’s score, wins the game.
We hope that this article helps you to comprehend the general rules of tennis. While in the meantime, be happy and keep on fighting for your dreams.