How to Play Tennis

Tennis Tips for Beginners

Tennis is a sport that originated in the 19th century. The sport of tennis has evolved dramatically since its inception in the 1890s but the game remains true to its original form. In its early years, tennis was mostly considered an upper-class sport, similar to golf. Tennis has since spread around the world and is now enjoyed by millions. Countries from around the world compete in tennis every four years at the summer Olympic Games. There are four major or Grand Slam tournaments at the professional level – the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

Tennis, like most sports, is relatively easy to learn but takes quite some time to master, which is why we put together this set of tennis tips for beginners. When playing tennis, either two or four players can play with one-on-one play termed singles and partner play called doubles. Each player uses a racket, which is made of durable synthetic strings stretched over a strong material frame (often carbon graphite or ceramic based) to hit a felt-covered rubber tennis ball.

Tennis Courts

Tennis is played on different surfaces. The most common are hard court (some type of asphalt or concrete) grass and clay. The court dimensions for singles play are 78 feet long by 27 feet wide while the doubles court is extended to a width of 36 feet across. A three and a half foot net is stretched across the court at its center. At either end of the court lie the baselines (or end lines). The lines that run along the length of the court at the outside are called the sidelines. The outermost sidelines are only for doubles play and can be ignored in singles competition. About halfway between each baseline and the net is a service line which runs across the length of the singles court. The service line is split by another line running from the middle of the service line to the net. The two resulting rectangular areas represent the areas to which players will serve the ball.

Tennis Scoring

How to Play Tennis

How to Play Tennis

The scoring system in tennis is unique and not at all similar to other racket sports like badminton or ping-pong. The entire contest is termed a match, which is made up of the best of three or five sets. Women’s matches are often played as the best of three and men’s matches take place as a best of five set series. Each set consists of games and each game is made up of points. In order to win a set, a player must be the first to reach six games by a margin of two or more games. If the score is six games to six, a tie-break is played to determine the victor of the set.

To win a game, a player must be the first to score four points by a margin of at least two. A player winning the first volley is awarded 15 points. A second successful volley puts the player’s score at 30 and the third point puts the player’s score at 40. A score of zero points is also known as “love.” If one player has scored three times and his or her opponent has yet to score, it can be said that the game is at 40-love (the first score, 40, refers to the player who is serving that particular game). In the event the game is tied at 40 points apiece, the game is at deuce and a player must win back-to-back points to win the game. When a player wins the first point following a deuce, that player has the “advantage.” Should he or she lose the next point, the game goes back to deuce and continues in this manner until one player wins two straight points from deuce.

Tennis Techniques

Tennis techniques begin with the actual game play. The game begins when one player serves the ball from the right hand side of the court. The serve must cross over the net and land somewhere within the rectangular box on the opposite side of the court. In other words, the player serves the ball initially from the right (or forehand) side of the court to the opponent’s right side of the court (left side from the server’s perspective). After the completion of the first point, the server starts the next point from the left side of the court, alternating sides every point. The same player serves for the duration of the game and the serve alternates between the players after that. Players may switch sides after every three games if they choose to do so.

Tennis Terms

There are a variety of important terms in tennis, a few of which are explained below:

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