The Rules of Tennis

Rules of Singles Tennis

Tennis dates back to 1860s England, and the sport has picked up steam and gained popularity in the past 150 years. Since the beginning, the competition has been split into singles and doubles, each having their own brackets and individual tournaments. The rules have changed a little bit since the inception of the sport, and tennis has been wise to embrace technological advancements in order to help to better officiate the game, but the original structure largely remains intact. Here are the basic rules of singles tennis.

Court & Procedure Breakdown

A singles tennis court is essentially one giant rectangle that is split into six sections, with three on each side and a net in the middle. Players alternate serving from behind the back line, and they must land the serve in the opposite side of the court and in the half of the court closest to the net in order for it to be in play. A server will have two chances to do so, and if they are unable to land the ball in play after two attempts, it is considered a double fault.

If the server is able to land the serve in play, the players then hit the ball back and forth until one of them either hits a volley that lands out of play or their opponent hits a ball that bounces twice on their side of the court without being struck by a racket. The result of each interaction is one “point” being awarded to the victor, which are actually tallied in increments larger than one.

Scoring System

Tennis has a unique scoring system, but it is basically based on a long series of individual games, which form sets. Sets form matches, and the winner of the match advances in the tournament. Each game begins at 0-0, or Love-Love. The first “point” of each game is worth 15, the second another 15, and the third 10 points. The final “point” doesn’t actually have a value, but it officially closes out the small affair and resets the scoring for the beginning of the next game.

Each game that is won goes onto a running tally, and the first player to win six individual games wins the set. The entire match is won when one player wins either two sets or three sets. In female tennis, the standard structure is the best of three sets. In men’s play, it is the best of five.

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