What Are The Rules For Playing Tennis -Learn The Basics

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If you new to the game, you surely want to know,What Are The Rules For Playing Tennis? We have all the answers on our site. Visit us to learn them now.

Learning all the rules in tennis as a new player might be confusing at first but you’ll get the hang of it as you continue to play. In order to be successful at the sport there are a few basic rules that you should know.

With that said, in this guide we’ll go through all the rules that you should know when it comes to playing tennis. At first it may seems overwhelming, but if you read the entire article you will find it quite simple and easy to understand especially the basics.

We all should know by now that tennis is a game that is played on a rectangular court with a net and the main target of the game is to hit the ball over the net in a way that resulted in your opponent being unable to return the ball. Each time you hit the ball and your opponent is unable to return the ball within the court, you will win a point.

What Are The Rules For Playing Tennis

What Are The Rules For Playing Tennis

Let’s take a look at some of the general rules.

  • First thing you’ll notice is that the game usually starts with the flip of a coin toss which is used to determine which player must serve first and which side they want to serve from.
  • Players/teams are not allowed to touch the net or posts or cross onto the opponent’s side.
  • Players/teams cannot carry the ball or catch it with the racquet.
  • Players must first wait until the ball passes the net before they can return it to the opposing side.
  • Players are not allowed to hit the ball twice.
  • A serve must bounce first before the receiving player can return it.
  • Once the ball hits any part of the line the point will be called in, outside the line and the ball is out.
  • A player should always return a live ball before it bounces twice else he/she will lose the point.

Serving and Choosing Side

As you know, serving is a huge part of the overall tennis match. A player usually serves on the right side of the court at the beginning of each match, with the aim of serving the ball into the diagonal service box. When starting out you have a total of 2 chances to land a proper serve each point, at first serve and second serve.

If you are unable to make a proper serve at both try, it will count as a double fault and the point will go to the opponent. Even if the ball touches the net and land on the correct side of the court, the serve will not count, so what will happen is that you will have a “second” first serve.

Proper Serve – As mentioned earlier, you have to literally put the ball into the service box diagonally opposite. If you should serve and the ball grazes the net and still falls in the serve box it is called a “let”. A let means that you get to serve one more time.

Foot Fault – Another thing you should keep in mind is that when serving you should have your feet behind the baseline, if you don’t it will count as a fault.

If you don’t have an idea on which side to serve on then I’ll explain. When starting the game you always start serving on the right hand side and after that you have to go to the left. However, it is very easy to forget which side you have just recently served at.

What most tennis players used to remember which side to serve on is this; they check whether the current score is odd or even. It’s quite simple, if the score is even then you’ll know that you should serve on the right side. While if the score is odd, then you should serve on the left side, it’s as simple as that.

Who Serves First in a Match?

A flip of a coin or spin of the racket also known as toss is usually used to determine which player or team goes first. If called correctly, the player or team that did so chooses who serves first.

Apart from that, the player that wins the toss also gets to decide, which side of the court he/she wants to start on or that he/she wants to leave the choices up to their opponent. Whoever gets the chance to serve first will continue to serve until the game is over. Then what will happen is that the serve will move to the other player.

The Score System

If you’re new to the game, then you should know that in order to win a game you must win by 2 points. For example, if the score is 40 – 40 and you win the next point, the game isn’t over as yet. Instead you have an advantage (AD – 40). If you should win the other point, then you will be winner of the game.

This is why a lot of tennis matches seem to go on forever. The game will not end until one player achieves a two point advantage, the game will eventually go on and on. But, that’s one of the main reasons why tennis is so fun. You can learn more about tennis score here.

How Do You Win a Tennis Match?

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In order to win a tennis match you must first win six games to win a set, but you must win the set by at least two games. It’s the best of three for women’s matches and best of five sets for men’s matches. If your opponent should win by 5 games you must win the set 7-5.

If the score in a set gets to 6-6, it will then lead to a tiebreak. Tiebreak is known to be the penalty shoot-out of tennis and then it is simply the first player to 7 points. The player that wins the tiebreak, will eventually win the set 7-6.

With that being said, tennis matches are played the best out of three sets. So you’ll see a score like 2-0 or something like 2-1. However, there are a few tournaments like Wimbledon and Davis cup that are played best of five sets.

Tennis Equipment

The equipments that are used by a tennis player will depend on which level you are playing at. There are absolutely no strict rules about your equipment, more than you need a ball and a racket to get started right away.

Tennis Clothes – The first thing you need to keep in mind is the clothes that you’re planning on playing in. It is obviously differs base on your gender. However, one thing for sure is that your clothes need to have a special kind of pockets on your shorts for both men and women. Because, whenever you’re on the court playing, you need to have somewhere to store the balls when serving.

Racquet – A tennis racquet is comprised of a handle, a frame, and strings that are bound in crisscross weaving patterns. There is lots of technology that has developed in tennis racquets over the past 20 years. This is why it can be very difficult when it comes to choosing one for your needs. A racquet’s frame should not exceed 32 inches in length, with a handle no longer than 12.5 inches in width and a surface no more than 15.5 inches in overall length or 11.5 inches in width.

Ball – A tennis ball is consist of a two-piece rubber shell that manufacturers mold together to form a hollow core, injected with pressurized gas to give the ball its bounce. A ball Is usually white or yellow in color for tournaments, with measurements of 2-1/2 to 2-5/8 inches in diameter and weighing anywhere from 2 to 2-1/16 ounces.

Here’s why rules are important in tennis

One can never forget the games they learned when growing up. Those were fun times. Also, if you recall, before every game you would have had your parents, friends or elders briefing you on the rules of the game. All games have their own rules. It could be a board game you play with your friends or an International game of tennis. Some quick learners usually like to learn the rules as they play the game. This however almost doesn’t work. 

In any sport you play, rules are the mandatory do’s and don’ts that you need to keep in mind whilst on the playing field or outside it. Rules include the dress code, behavioural ethics, marking schemes, etc which applies not only to players, but also to referees and coaches too. Rules differ from game to game. For instance, in tennis, a player should hit the ball within the white line on the other side of the net to score a point. Similarly, in slots, a player has to get three symbols lined up in order to win. Hence it is important to understand the rules of the game before playing. Here’s why:

  • Rules provide all the necessary information about the game. This helps you understand the restrictions as well as what you are permitted to do.
  • Knowing the rules of the game well would increase your chances of winning the game. This also helps avoid cheating and foul play.
  • When in dispute regarding points, you are more likely to win if you know the rules, or else you might get cheated.
  • Another reason why rules are so important is that they prevent and end riots between teams. For any local or International game, the answer to all disputes is the rule book.


One of the most common questions asked by tennis lovers are “what are the rules for playing tennis?” Which is why we have out together this brief guide explaining all the rules that must be followed when taking part in the sport.

Gaurav Mongia

Welcome! We are a passionate group of writers and researchers who enjoy writing about tennis racquets, tennis balls, and other tennis equipments. We hope you find this guide helpful.

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