Here are the basic rules of tennis explained for a beginner:
Object of the Game:
The goal of tennis is to win points, games, and ultimately, sets. A player wins a point by making a successful shot that the opponent fails to return within the defined boundaries of the court.
Tennis uses a scoring system that goes 15, 30, 40, and then game. If both players reach 40 (known as “deuce”), one player must win two consecutive points to win the game. The first player to win six games wins a set, and the first player to win two sets (in a best-of-three set match) or three sets (in a best-of-five set match) wins the match.
The game begins with a serve. The server must stand behind the baseline and hit the ball diagonally across the net into the opponent’s service box. The serve must land within the service box, and it must clear the net.
The player receiving the serve stands on the opposite side of the net. They try to return the serve after it bounces in their service box. The receiver aims to return the ball in a way that makes it difficult for the server to respond.
After the serve, players take turns hitting the ball back and forth over the net. This is called a rally. The ball must bounce within the boundaries of the court, and players must take turns hitting it.
Scoring in Detail:
- Love: Means zero. The score starts at “love-love” (0-0).
- 15: The first point won by a player.
- 30: The second point won by a player.
- 40: The third point won by a player. If both players reach 40, it’s called “deuce.”
- Advantage: The point won immediately after deuce. If the player with the advantage wins the next point, they win the game.
When the score reaches 40-40, it’s called deuce. From deuce, a player must win two consecutive points to win the game. The first point won after deuce gives the player “advantage,” and if they win the next point, they win the game.
Faults and Double Faults:
A serve that fails to land in the opponent’s service box or hits the net is called a fault. Two consecutive faults result in a double fault, and the opponent wins the point.
Out of Bounds:
If the ball lands outside the court’s boundaries, it’s considered out, and the opponent wins the point.
If the serve hits the net and still lands in the correct service box, it’s called a “let.” The server gets to re-serve.
Players change sides of the court after every odd-numbered game in a set.
In some cases, when a set reaches 6-6, a tiebreak is played to determine the winner of the set.
Remember, these are the fundamental rules, and there are more detailed rules in professional and competitive play. However, for beginners, understanding these basics will get you started on the court!