The Ultimate Tennis Rules for Beginners: A Step-by-Step Guide

by Norma Brockman
The Ultimate Tennis Rules for Beginners: A Step-by-Step Guide

Tennis is a captivating sport that requires skill, strategy, and a solid understanding of the rules. If you’re new to tennis and eager to learn, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the essential rules of the game. From how to start a tennis match to serving rules and scoring, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive in and unravel the world of tennis rules!

As a beginner, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the basic rules of tennis. Here are the key rules you need to know:

How to Start a Tennis Match

To start a tennis match, players must follow these steps:

  • Begin by warming up and practicing your strokes.
  • Toss a coin or spin a racket to determine who serves first.
  • The winner of the coin toss gets to choose either to serve or receive.
  • The player who serves first stands on the right side of the court behind the baseline.

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Basic Tennis Rules

Understanding the basic rules of tennis is essential for fair gameplay. Here are a few fundamental rules:

  • The ball must be served diagonally over the net into the opponent’s service box.
  • Each player gets two attempts to serve. If the ball fails to land in the correct service box, it is a fault.
  • The server’s foot must not touch or cross the baseline until after the ball is struck.
  • The ball must always land within the boundaries of the court for it to be considered in play.
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Doubles Tennis Rules vs. Singles Tennis Rules

Doubles and singles have slight variations in their rules. In doubles tennis:

  • Each team consists of two players.
  • The serving team takes turns serving.
  • The receiving team chooses which player returns the serve.

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Keeping Score in Tennis

Tennis scoring can be a bit perplexing at first. Here’s how it works:

  • The scoring system is based on points, games, sets, and matches.
  • The first point is called 15, the second point is 30, the third point is 40, and the fourth point wins the game.
  • If the score reaches 40-40, it’s called deuce. From deuce, a player must win two consecutive points to win the game.

Tips for Remembering Tennis Score

Remembering the score can be challenging, especially in the heat of the game. Here are some tips:

  • Call out the score before every serve to keep track.
  • Remember that the server’s score is always called first.

When Do You Switch Sides in Tennis?

In a standard tennis match, players switch sides after odd-numbered games in each set. This ensures fairness, as players experience different wind and court conditions.

Calling a Ball Out in Tennis

When a ball is hit out of bounds, it’s crucial to make accurate calls. Here’s how to handle it:

  • If you’re unsure whether the ball is in or out, it’s better to play it safe and call it out.
  • If your opponent disagrees, you can replay the point.

Tennis Serving Rules

Serving is a critical aspect of the game. Here are some important serving rules to keep in mind:

  • The serve must be made from behind the baseline and within the correct service box.
  • The server must toss the ball and strike it before it hits the ground.
  • If the serve touches the net and lands in the correct service box, it’s called a let, and the server gets another chance.
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Where Should Your Serve Land?

When serving, your goal is to hit the ball into the diagonal service box on the opponent’s side. Aim for accuracy and placement to gain an advantage.

Can You Touch the Net in Tennis?

While playing, players are not allowed to touch the net or cross over to their opponent’s side. Doing so results in the loss of the point.

What if the Ball Tennis Touches the Net?

If the ball touches the net during a serve and lands within the correct service box, it’s called a let. The server gets another opportunity to serve.

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Hitting the Ball

During a rally, players must hit the ball before it bounces twice on their side. The ball can be hit with any part of the racket, but players must not carry or scoop the ball.

Your First Match

Participating in your first tennis match can be exhilarating. Remember these tips:

  • Stay focused and remain calm.
  • Communicate with your partner (in doubles) and develop a strategy.
  • Enjoy the experience and have fun!


Mastering the rules of tennis is a significant step toward becoming a skilled player. By understanding the basics of tennis, you’ll feel more confident on the court and enjoy the game to the fullest. So grab your racket, practice your strokes, and get ready to embark on an exciting tennis journey!

Frequently Asked Questions About Tennis Rules

  1. What are the basic rules of tennis?

The basic rules of tennis include serving diagonally, keeping the ball in play, scoring points, and following the correct court boundaries.

  1. Are there specific rules for singles tennis?
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While most rules apply to both singles and doubles, there are slight differences in terms of court positioning and serving.

  1. How do I keep score in tennis?

The scoring system in tennis involves calling out the score before each serve, with points progressing from 15 to 30 to 40, and winning a game requires winning four points.

  1. Can I touch the net in tennis?

No, players are not allowed to touch the net during play, as it results in the loss of the point.

  1. What happens if the ball touches the net during a serve?

If the ball touches the net and lands within the correct service box, it’s considered a let, and the server gets another opportunity to serve.

Remember, practice and familiarize yourself with the rules to enhance your tennis skills and enjoy the game to the fullest!

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