Tennis

Taylor Wray and Tori Riggs

Object of the Game

The game of tennis played on a rectangular court with a net running across the center. The aim is to hit the ball over the net landing the ball within the margins of the court and in a way that results in your opponent being unable to return the ball. You win a point every time your opponent is unable to return the ball within the court.

History

The original name for tennis was lawn tennis. There has been much dispute over the invention of modern tennis, but the officially recognized centennial of the game in 1973 commemorated its introduction by Major Walter Clopton Wingfield in 1873. Wingfield’s court was of the hourglass shape and may have developed from badminton. The game had spread to the United States in the 1870s. The origins of the game can be traced to a 12th–13th-century French handball game called jeu de paume (“game of the palm”), from which was derived a complex indoor racket-and-ball game: real tennis. This ancient game is still played to a limited degree and is usually called real tennis in Britain, court tennis in the United States, and royal tennis in Australia.


The first international team competition was the Davis Cup, officially called the International Lawn Tennis Challenge Trophy, which was donated by U.S. doubles champion Dwight Davis in 1900. Only Great Britain challenged the first year; it was defeated by the United States, Davis himself playing on the victorious team. There was no challenge in 1901, but in 1902 a strong British team that included the Doherty brothers went to America. The United States retained the trophy, but the following year the Doherty brothers helped Britain win the cup, which it retained the next three years.


Olympic tennis began in 1896 and went until 1924 but then began again in 1968 and stopped yet again and began in 1984 and has continued ever since.

Players and Equipment

A tennis match can be played by either one player on each side – a singles match – or two players on each side – a doubles match. The rectangular shaped court has a base line (at the back), service areas (two spaces just over the net in which a successful serve must land in) and two tram lines down either side. A singles match will mean you use the inner side tram line and a doubles match will mean you use the outer tram line.

A court can be played on four main surfaces including grass, clay, hard surface and carpet. Each tournament will choose one surface type and stick without throughout. All that is required in terms of equipment is a stringed racket each and a tennis ball.

Rules & Gameplay

  • The game starts with a coin toss to determine which player must serve first and which side they want to serve from.
  • The server must then serve each point from alternative sides on the base line. At no point must the server’s feet move in front of the baseline on the court prior to hitting their serve.
  • If the server fails to get their first serve in they may take advantage of a second serve. If they again fail to get their second serve in then a double fault will be called and the point lost.
  • If the server clips the net but the ball goes in the service area still then let is called and they get to take that serve again without penalty. If the ball hits the net and fails to go in the service area then out is called and they lose that serve.
  • The receiver may stand where they wish upon receipt of the serve. If the ball is struck without the serve bouncing then the server will receive the point.
  • Once a serve has been made the amount of shots between the players can be unlimited. The point is won by hitting the ball so the opponent fails to return it in the scoring areas.
  • Points are awarded in scores of 15, 30 and 40. 15 represent 1 point, 30 = 2 and 40 = 3. You
  • need 4 points to win a game. If a game lands on 40-40 it’s known as deuce. From deuce a player needs to win 2 consecutive points to win the game. After winning one point from deuce they player is on advantage. If the player wins the next point they win the game, if they lose it goes back to deuce.
  • To win the set a player must win 6 games by 2 or more. The opening sets will go to a tie break if its ends up 6-6 where players play first to 7 points. The final set will not have a tie break and requires players to win by two games with no limits.
  • If a player touches the net, distracts his opponent or impedes in anyway then they automatically lose the point.
  • The ball can hit any part of the line for the point to be called in, outside the line and the ball is out.
  • The balls in a tennis match are changed for new balls every 6 games

  • A player loses a point if they fail to return the ball in either the correct areas on the court, hits the net and doesn’t go into opponent’s area or fails to return the ball before it bounces twice in their half.

Difference between Singles and Doubles

Since there are two tennis players on a team in doubles (compared to one tennis player on a team in singles) an individual tennis player has less court to cover making it less demanding, but not necessarily less challenging than singles.


The primary objectives in singles and doubles tennis competition are constant. Win ...


  • points to win games
  • games to win sets
  • sets to win matches
  • every match and ultimately the championship in a tennis tournament
  • Most of the singles tennis rules and guidelines are applicable in doubles tennis, but there a few exceptions. First and foremost, the court size is wider. The boundaries are extended from side to side to the doubles sidelines.


This includes the alleys between the singles and doubles sidelines on the court. Keep in mind though that the doubles tennis court boundaries are only in play after the ball is served.

Scoring

You need to score four points to win a game of tennis. The points are known as 15 (1 point), 30 (two points), 40 (three points) and the fourth would result in the winning point and the end of that game. If the scores went to 40-40 this would be known as deuce. When a game reaches deuce the player must then win by two clear points.

Serving

  • Before the service motion, the server must stand at rest, with both feet behind the baseline (in between the center mark and the sideline). The server then releases the ball by hand and must hit it before the ball reaches the ground. The service motion is complete once the racket either hits or misses the ball. A player who only has the use of one arm may use the racket to toss the ball.

  • The server alternates serving from the two halves of the court. In both a standard game, and tie-break game, the server begins by serving from the right half of the court. The serve must pass over the net and hit the service court that is diagonally opposite the server, before the receiver may return it.

  • If the first serve is a fault, the server must serve again without delay from behind the same half of the court from which that fault was served, unless the serve was from the wrong half.

  • The serve is a let if:

    1. The served ball touches the net, strap or band, and lands in the correct court.
    2. The served ball touches the net, strap or band and then touches the receiver, the receiver’s partner or anything they wear or carry before hitting the ground.
    3. The ball is served when the receiver is not ready.

    When it is a let serve, that particular serve does not count and the server shall serve again. However a let serve does not cancel the previous fault.

  • Singles: After each game the receiver then becomes the server.

    Doubles: The team that is due to serve in the 1st game of each set decides which player will serve for that game. In the second game of each set the opponents get to decide which player will serve first. The partner of the player who served in the 1st game then serves in the 3rd game. The partner of the player who served in the 2nd game then serves in the 4th game and this rotation continues until the end of the set.

Definitions

  • Ace: Serve where the tennis ball lands inside the service box and is not touched by the receiver; thus, a shot that is both a serve and a winner is an ace. Aces are usually powerful and generally land on or near one of the corners at the back of the service box. Initially the term was used to indicate the scoring of a point.
  • Alley: Area of the court between the singles and the doubles sidelines, which together are known as tramlines.
  • Deuce: Score of 40–40 in a game. A player must win two consecutive points from a deuce to win the game, unless the tournament employs deciding points, as in the 2010 ATP World Tour Finals. A player who has won one point after deuce is said to have the advantage.
  • Double Fault: Two serving faults in a row in one point, causing the player serving to lose the point.
  • Groundstroke: Forehand or backhand shot that is executed after the ball bounces once on the court
  • Volley: A shot hit, usually in the vicinity of the net, by a player before the ball bounces on their own side of the court.
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