We know you’re playing for the fun and the love of the game, but if you insist on keeping track of points during your rallies here’s how to get them:
- If a ball is hit and it lands on or inside all of the boundary lines and is not returned, that’s a point for the person that hit it!
- If a ball bounces twice within all of the boundary lines before it is returned, that’s a point for the person that hit it!
- If a ball is served and it bounces within the service box boundary lines and is not successfully returned, that’s a point for the person that served it!
- Better, if a ball is served and it bounces within the service box boundary lines and is not touched at all, it’s called an “Ace”!
- If you hit into the net, that’s a point for your opponent. Don’t worry, it happens to absolutely everyone!
- If your opponent “double faults” (we will get to that) on their serve, that’s a point for you!
- If your racquet at any point hits the net, that’s a point for your opponent.
- If the ball hits the net during a point but still falls over and “in” on the other side, consider yourself lucky as the person who hit it gets the point. But as it’s often considered a “lucky bounce”, be a good sportsperson and accept the point graciously by giving your opponent a quick apology!
How to play a match
It’s all well and good learning the rules of the game, but now it’s time to put them into action. Below you’ll find a breakdown of how a tennis match is structured and what’s required to win:
- Game: Games are scored starting at “love”. From there the first point is called 15, the second point 30, and the third point 40. After 40 comes the game point. The tricky thing about the game point is you have to win by two. So, if it is tied 40:40, which is also referred to as “deuce”, the next person to win a point receives an “Advantage”. If it is the server’s point it’s called “Ad-in” and if it’s the receiver’s point, it’s “Ad-out”. If the player with the “Advantage” wins the next point they win the game. If they lose the next point it goes back to “Deuce”. We know what you’re thinking, that could go on forever! And you’re right. The longest recorded tennis match lasted just over 11 hours and was played over three days.
- Set: Sets are made up of games and the first player to win six games wins the set. However, like games, you have to win a set by two. If the set score is 6 to 5 the player with the lead must win the next game to win the set. However, if they lose and the set score becomes tied at 6-6 we introduce to you the tiebreak!
- Tiebreak: To keep score for a tiebreak retire the 15, 30, 40, game point progression and simply count each point by one starting at one. For example, if you win five points in a row the score would be 5-0. Typically, a tiebreak game continues until one player wins seven points by two or more. If it is your turn to serve you will serve the first point of the tiebreak from the right-hand side of the court. This side of the court is called the “deuce” side. Your opponent will then serve the next two points, starting their serve on the left-hand side of the court. This side of the court is called the “advantage” side. Their second serve will be from the deuce side, and then you will serve the next two as they did, and so on. Pro-tip: Before starting a tiebreak, fill up your water bottle! Watch one of the greatest tie breaks of all time between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer at Wimbledon below:
- Match: A match is made up of an odd number of sets. At the major tournaments, men’s singles and doubles matches usually consist of up to five sets (winner being the first to take the majority) and women’s singles the best of three sets (again, the winner being the first to take the majority.)