Rules of Tennis

Are you a novice tennis player? We've got you covered, so don't worry. From the fundamentals to some of the rules that even some professionals might not be familiar with, we've put together a fantastic handbook covering the most crucial tennis rules. So what are the guidelines for playing tennis?

Rules of Tennis

Are you a novice tennis player? We've got you covered, so don't worry. From the fundamentals to some of the rules that even some professionals might not be familiar with, we've put together a fantastic handbook covering the most crucial tennis rules. So what are the guidelines for playing tennis?

The Basic Rules of Tennis

  • Two players battle against one another in a title defense. 
  • Each tennis player stands on opposite sides of the net and uses a tennis racket to hit the ball back and forth. 
  • To start the point, one of the players serves, and the other player attempts to return the serve. 
  • A service must rebound in the service box before it can be delivered.
  • A FAULT occurs when the server misses the service box. The player now has a second opportunity to advance the ball. An example of this is a SECOND SERVE. 
  • A DOUBLE FAULT will result in the server losing the point if he or she fails to serve on the second attempt.
  • If the serve hits the net cord and bounces inside the appropriate service box, it is known as a LET, and the serve is repeated. 
  • If the opponent fails to return a valid serve, the point goes to the server. 
  • Once the ball is in play, each player seeks to score a point by maintaining possession of it, preventing the other player from regaining possession of it, or making a mistake that costs them a point.
  • When a player misses the ball, smashes it into the net, is out of bounds, or bounces twice, the point is over. 
  • The point continues if the ball strikes the net cable and rebounds over the net (on the proper side).
  • The player is not permitted to cross over onto the court of the opposition while the game is in progress or touch the net or net post. This player will forfeit the point if they do. 
  • The ball can only be struck once before it is returned to the opposing side of the net by the player. 
  • The court's perimeter is regarded as a part of the court. A ball is deemed to be in if it crosses the line.

The Tennis Court Dimensions

  • Baseline: On either side of the court, parallel to the net, the baseline is the line that is furthest away from the net. The baseline, from which the players will serve, determines the court's maximum length. 
  • Centre Mark: The short baseline line that splits the court into two halves is known as the center mark. It mostly serves as a reference to help players decide where to stand while serving. A player will position themselves on one side of the center line and hit the ball to the service box on the opposite side of the net in the opposing half of the court (so diagonally).
  • Service Line: Between the net and the baseline, there is a line that runs parallel to it. It designates the service box's length. The ball must land in front of the service line when being served. 
  • Center Line: The line dividing the service boxes and running perpendicular to the net is known as the center line. 
  • Singles Sideline: The innermost line running the length of the court is known as the singles sideline (perpendicular to the net). One on the left and one on the right, there are two per court, and they regulate the court's width.
  • Doubles Sideline: Along the length of the court, the doubles sideline is the longest (perpendicular to the net). Once more, there are only two per court, which restricts the court's breadth. As the name implies, only doubles tennis is played on the doubles sidelines. 
  • The Net: The court is split into two ends by the net. When a doubles net has been used, as is typical in contemporary tennis, it is 3 feet tall (0.914 meters) in the middle but sags at either net post to 3 feet 6 inches.
  • The Surroundings: The minimum distance required to circle the court at the recreational level is 5.49 meters behind the baseline and 3.05 meters on either side. The minimum distances at the competitive level are 3.66 meters on either side and 6.40 meters behind the baseline.
  • The Lines: According to established guidelines, each line's thickness varies as well. The center mark has a maximum width of 4 inches and a maximum length of 4 inches. All lines on the court are between 2-2.5 inches wide, except for the service line and center line, which are both 2 inches wide. Once more, if a ball bounces on the line, it counts as an IN.

Tennis Scoring - Point, Game, Set & Match


A typical game has a minimum of four points. First, the server's score is called, and it is as follows: 

No point = “Love” | First point = “15” | Second Point = “30” | Third Point = “40” | Fourth Point = “Game”

For instance, the score would be "15 - Love" if the server won the first point. The result will be "Love - 15" if the receiver wins the first point. A player scores 4 points with at least 2 clear points to win the game. When both players receive three points, the result is "40-40." This is referred to as "DEUCE." After two, the player who scores the point will receive an "ADVANTAGE" in the score. The game will be won by the same player if they score the subsequent point. The score will go back to Deuce if they lose the point.


The first player to achieve 6 games with at least a 2-game lead wins the set, which consists of 6 games. 

Player A will serve to begin a set and continue through the first game. Player B will then start serving after the player’s flip ends of the court. The player will then continue to alternate ends every two games. 

A set will go to seven if it ends in a tie at 5-5. 

If the score is 6-6, a "Tie break" will be used to determine the set winner.

Tie Break

A player must win 7 points in a tie-breaker with at least a 2-point advantage. If there is a lead of two points over the opposition, the Set and Tie break will go to the first player to score seven points. Player A will serve the first point, and after that, the service will alternate every two points.


Regular matches are often played in best-of-three sets, with each player needing two sets to win. 

Depending on the event played, a match's structure and duration will vary. Men's and women's professional matches are played to the best of three sets. 

On the men's pro tour, however, some competitions call for best-of-five-set matches. These are the majors, also known as Grand Slams (Australian Open, Roland Garros French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open) and the Davis Cup.

The Rules in Doubles Tennis

Tennis rules for a game of doubles are slightly different from those for a match of singles, although being largely the same. There will be two major players on either side of the net, which is the actual distinction. The tramlines are incorporated into the court as a result, expanding its size.


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