How to Play Tennis – Tennis Basics

Tennis Basics

What is Tennis?

First and foremost, in discussing Tennis the first question would be – What is Tennis? Tennis is a game played as singles (a man v man or a lady v lady) doubles (two men v two men or two ladies v two ladies) or mixed doubles (a man and a lady v a man and a lady). A tennis match is played on a court. Tennis is played in a knockout tournament format.


Tennis Rules

Below in this section, you can find out how to play tennis and the rules of Tennis.

Players play from one side of the court with the main objective being to hit the ball with your racquet over the net into your opponents’ side of the court. The ball is “served”, using the racquet from the baseline on one side of the centre mark to the service area diagonal to you.

The ball must land inside the service area or on the lines marking it. The person being served to must return the ball within the singles sidelines if a singles game or the doubles side lines if it is doubles game. Points are scored by either one player hitting the ball to their opponents’ side of the court and the opponent not being able to return the ball back over the net or if the ball lands outside of the play area a point is given to the player who was about to receive the ball. The ball may only bounce once, if it bounces twice this is also a point to the other player.


Play in Tennis

Under this section, learn the various terms used in Tennis and learn Tennis basics.

The beginning of play for each point is initiated by the serve. Players take turns to serve for one game and alternate the side of the court they serve into for each shot. The player has a first serve but if a player serves the ball and it lands outside of the service area this is called a fault and the player will get a second serve. A player will also have to take a second serve if they serve the ball into the net. If the second serve is a fault or a net then this is called a double fault and their opponent scores a point. If a player serves the ball and their opponent is unable to touch it they will score a point and this is called an Ace.


Tennis Scoring and Points in Tennis

Integral part of the Tennis basics is the scoring and point system in Tennis.

In tennis game each point has a name.

If you have no points this is called Love.

The first point you score is called 15.

In tennis the person serving’s score is always shown first. So if player (A) was serving against player (B) and player (B) scores the first point this would be called Love – 15. If the serving player scores the first point the score would be 15 – Love.

The basic tennis game is made up of four points – 15 then 30 then 40 then Game point.

If the points are tied at 15 or 30 this is called 15 All or 30 All. If both players have 40 this no longer applies and the score is shown as Deuce. The reason for this is that in tennis to win any game you must do so by two clear points. So, if the score is Deuce either of the players must score the next two points to win the game. If Player (A) scores the next point this would be called Advantage (A) if player (A) then scores the next point he wins the game. If when player (A) has Advantage player (B) scores the next point the score would return to Deuce. This will continue until either player scores the Game point after taking Advantage.

The result of any tennis match is determined through a sets system.

The above describes how you win a “Game” in tennis but tennis is divided into “Games”, “Sets” and then the “Match”. Each Set is made up of Games in which, as described before, players take it in turns to serve. To win the Set you need to be two Games clear of your opponent with a minimum score of 6 Games. In tennis games, the reason you need to be two games clear is that serving is considered an advantage, therefore to win the set a player must “Break” their opponents serve at least once and “Hold” their own serve. If therefore you were to break all of your opponents service games and hold your own serve the score would be 6 – 0. If opponents are closely matched in skill a common score for a Set may be 6 – 4 meaning one player broke the others serve in just one game and held all of their own service games.

Finally tennis games are won by a “best of” certain number of sets, either 3 or 5 Sets. This concludes the answer to the question – how to play Tennis.


Tennis Associations and Tennis Tournaments

To be able to fully answer the question what is Tennis – is also getting familiar with the associations and tennis tournaments, in the section below you can find the most significant tennis tournaments.

The most important tennis tournaments are run by the ATP which is the Association of Tennis Professionals and the WTA the Women’s Tennis Association. These associations “Rank” the best players in the world such as Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams.


Grand Slam tournaments

The four most famous Tennis Tournaments are called the “Grand Slams” or “Majors” they are –

Team Tennis Cups

  • Davis Cup (men)
  • Fed Cup (women)
  • Hopman Cup (men/women)