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Basic tennis rules every fan should know

Tennis court
Basic tennis rules every fan should know. Photo/ a Trend Hub.
  • Tennis is one of the most popular sports in the world. Some big names in tennis include Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. 
  • Knowing basic tennis rules can make you a good tennis player.
  • Tennis, which is a physically intensive sport, traces its origin to England in the 19th century.

Did you know that you could become a good tennis player by just learning the basic rules of the sport?

Tennis, which is a physically intensive sport, traces its origin to England in the 19th century.

Tennis court

An ongoing tennis match. Photo/ a Trend Hub.

Tennis has grown over the years to become one of the most popular sports in the world. As of 2022, there are about 17.96 million professional tennis players. And the number is still growing.

Tennis has thrown up several stars who have gone on to become global celebrities. Some of the big names in tennis include Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. 

In this article, we will discuss the basic rules of tennis that every person interested in the sport should know.

1. How To Start A Tennis Match 

A tennis match starts with a racket spin or, in most cases, a coin toss. The person who wins the toss has the freedom to decide to serve first or select a side of the court they would like to receive the opponent’s serve.

The first player to serve continues serving the ball until the first set ends. The receiver then becomes the server in the next set and continues to serve until the end of the set. This process is repeated until the end of the match. 

2. Counting Scores 

Counting scores in tennis is a bit tricky compared to other sports. You should know that the server’s score is always announced first before the receiver’s. 

For a player to win a game, they must be ahead of their opponent with at least a two-point lead. A set is won when one of the players has won a minimum of six games and has a two-game advantage.

Tennis rules

Basic tennis rules. Photo/ University of Denver Athletics.

For instance, a six-set game comes to an end when the score is 6-4 or 6-0. When the score of a set is tied at 5-5, one of the players must win two consecutive games for he/she to be declared the winner. 

Below is the point system of a tennis match: 

  • 4 points earned = set point (set over)
  • 3 points scored = 40 points 
  • 2 points earned = 30 points 
  • 1 point scored = 15 points 
  • No points scored = Love 

3. Fault And Double Fault 

A server has two opportunities to serve the ball within the service court. The player has to stand before the right side of the baseline and serve the ball diagonally to the receiver’s right service court. He/she then goes to serve the ball from the left side of the baseline diagonally to the receiver’s left service court. 

If they fail to get the ball into the diagonally opposite service court, it is referred to as a fault serve. 

If the server commits a fault serve in his second attempt, it is called a double fault. A double fault earns the receiver a point. 

If the ball hits the net and falls within the service court, it is referred to as a net serve. The server is entitled to re-serve the ball in case of a net serve. There is no limit to the number of net serves that a player can commit. 

4. Tennis Shots 

Tennis players use different speeds, angles and techniques to hit the ball in the direction they want it to go. 

The two main common shots in tennis are the forehand and backhand. A forehand refers to when a right-handed player extends his right hand to hit the ball from the right side of his body. 

A backhand refers to when a right-handed player brings his right hand across his body to have a shot from the left side of his body. 

A drop shot is when a player reduces the speed of his shot to land the ball slightly above the net to the opposite side. 

A smash occurs when a player hits the ball with all their power in a way that the opponent is not able to get it.

Tennis shot

A player takes a shot. Photo/ Michigan High School Athletic Association.

Abraham Odhiambo is an avid sports fan who loves to write about football, boxing and wrestling. He's a big supporter of Manchester United. He's pursuing a bachelor's degree in Media and Communication at Egerton University.

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