Tennis is a fun and competitive sport to watch and play. It offers multiple benefits that other sports have trouble matching; however, it can be challenging to understand due to its complex rules.
Initially, beginners are taught how to hold and swing a racket and hit the ball. However, this is pointless if you don't learn the basics of the game first.
Without understanding things such as playing format, the purpose of court lines, score-keeping, and etiquettes, the entire process can seem counter-productive.
Therefore, to fill you in on the basics, tennis is played on a rectangular court by either four players (known as doubles) or two (known as singles).
And as far as the competitive arena goes, Wimbledon is the oldest tennis tournament globally and is a prestigious event to partake in.
Read on as we delve into basic tennis rules and how the sport is received:
Equipment Required To Play Tennis
Playing tennis requires you to be geared up. You obviously cannot play tennis without a racket and a ball; however, some other equipment can also be considered necessary.
As mentioned, a stringed tennis racket is the first thing you will need. These come in multiple sizes and brands depending on your physical size, age, and level of expertise.
Another piece of equipment necessary for beginners is dedicated footwear. Tennis shoes are designed to prevent any clay and grass court injury.
The surface of the court also dictates what kind of shoes you can wear. Moreover, flat-soled sneakers may also be recommended to protect the pitch.
What is tennis without its signature yellow tennis balls? Yellow tennis balls are primarily used by adults and moderate to professional players.
On the other hand, beginners and juniors get to use orange, red, and green balls. These are a feature of beginner games and are suitable for transitioning players.
Basic Rules Of Tennis
Tennis has meticulously crafted rules that keep players from looking like they're pointlessly flailing around fly swatters.
All tennis classes for beginners educate students on the following rules:
Aim Of Tennis
There is a net in the middle of a court, and two players stand on either side of it. Each player must then wack a ball to the other, keeping it within bounds and without bouncing twice.
As easy as it sounds, it is not. Players must hit the ball in ways that would compel their opponent to either miss it or wack it out of play. Doing so will acquire them a point.
Each game of tennis consists of three sets – or more if they tie. To complete or win a set, a player needs to beat their opponents in six rounds.
To win a round, a player must score three points and then follow it up with a round-winning game point. However, the points aren't referred to in as straightforward a manner:
- 0 points: Love
- 1 point: 15
- 2 points: 30
- 3 points: 40
- 4 points: Game point
Keep in mind that if both players are stuck on 40 (3 points) together, the score is known as 'deuce.' Contrary to what one might believe, the following point doesn't count as a round win.
Instead, the first player to get two points in a row from here wins. This means that from 40, they must first get an 'advantage point' and then a 'game point.' This counts as a round win.
Rules Of Tennis: Serving
A serve is the only time players can touch the ball with their hands. A round starts with a serve – it constitutes a player tossing the ball in the air and striking it towards the opponent.
A coin toss determines who will serve first, whereas the other player chooses the end of the court from which to start at.
Moreover, the server has to strike from the court's right hand to the left hand of the service box, and this switches for the next serve.
The player on the other end can stand wherever they like; however, they have to let the ball bounce onto the court before returning it.
A serve is considered to be faulty if the server is not behind the baseline while striking. Additionally, a double fault is when the server misses the target twice, losing a point.
And in the event of the ball striking the top of the net before landing on the correct service box, the server gets another try, and not a single point is lost or won.
Rules Of Tennis: The Net
A player loses a point when the ball hits the net and lands back on their side. However, the ball is in play if it hits the net and lands in the opponent's court.
Furthermore, a point is lost if the player touches the net with their body part or racket, whether it is intentional or not.
Rules Of Tennis: The Court
There are two types of court, or three, if practicing on an unofficial level:
The ball behaves differently on each type of court, affecting how the game is played and its eventual outcomes.
In addition, players lose a point when the ball flies straight without bouncing into the opponent's court. However, if the ball touches any part of the line, it is deemed inside, and no point is lost, but the same cannot be said if it crosses the line.
Other Basic Rules Of Tennis
In situations where there may be a distraction from outside the court, you can call in a 'let' that means 'play point again.'
Moreover, you cannot purposely hit the ball twice by moving the racket in two swings when attempting to return a strike.
During doubles (two players on each side), the tramlines – the extra side portions – also constitute playable parts of the court. Each player takes turns to serve every third game.
Unspoken Rules Of Tennis
Apart from the basic rules of tennis, specific principles and unspoken rules need to be learned before entering the court.
- All the points that you play in good faith are counted. For instance, if you find out that the net was 3 inches higher after losing your point, the point stands
- There is no replay when you play a point from the wrong court, and if during play you realize that you made a mistake at the start – like servicing from the wrong side – you can continue playing. Corrective action can be taken after you have completed the point
- Understand that warming up is not considered practice. You must provide your opponent a warm-up time of 5-10 minutes
- Shaking hands once the match is over is also a common courtesy that acknowledges a fair game
- Tennis is a game of etiquette and discipline; hence, players must carry themselves accordingly
Making Calls On The Court
Among the basic rules of tennis, a player can make calls on the court in certain ways. Here are some of the calls allowed:
- You are allowed to make calls on your side of the net
- You can call the shots you are landing or the ones you have aimed at the net
- You cannot call a ball out unless you have seen space between the line and where the ball hits (if the ball is 99% out but 1% on the line, it still counts as a point)
- If a ball, which cannot be called out, it is considered as good. As a player, you cannot claim a 'let' because you did not see the ball
- During doubles, either of the partners can make calls
- All the points in the game are treated as such, regardless of how important they are. There are no justifications for thinking that a match point differs from the first point
- When you request an opponent's opinion and get a favorable response, it must then be accepted
- If you call out a ball, but you realize that the ball was good, or you become uncertain, then you should reverse the call. The point will then go to your opponent and will not be replayed
- If the receiver reverses a faulty call on a serve that hits the net, the server is allowed two serves
- A player must call their shots out if they see the ball is out regardless of the request by an opponent
- If one of the partners calls the ball out and the other sees it as good, it is better to give your opponent the benefit of the doubt instead of possibly hurting their feelings
- It does not matter how obvious it is to anyone that a ball is out; the opponent has to call it out instantly, whether audibly or visibly
- Spectators are never allowed to make calls
- You must make all calls quickly
- A player must concede the point whenever;
- A ball touches the player during play
- The player hits the ball before crossing the net
- The player touches the opponent's court or net while that ball is in play
- The player purposefully double hits or carries a ball
- The ball bounces more than once in the opposite court
Practice The Basics Of Tennis With The Help Of A Professional
It is a fun sport to play competitively or with friends; however, before starting, you have to understand the basic rules of tennis.
If you are contemplating beginning tennis lessons but do not know where to start, Superprof is worthy of your consideration.
Superprof offers hundreds of tennis tutors to help you practice and understand the game better. And you can choose one according to your learning requirements
They provide tutors according to your level, and you can also select tutors based on the lesson cost and location.
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