Rules Of Playing Tennis: Everything You Need to Know

Are you interested in playing tennis but don’t know the rules of playing tennis? Or you might enjoy watching tennis tournaments but don’t understand the rules. In order to start playing tennis or watching matches, you need to understand the rules first. 

You will be able to learn all the rules of tennis with a bit of research and study. However, you may find the rules a bit difficult initially, but you will take through all the details. We will try our best to make it as simple as possible so that you can learn it quickly. Here we will also share the top 5 pro tips for all the tennis players. 

Rules Of Playing Tennis

The Rules of playing tennis

Around the 19th century, a new game was invented in England called Tennis. And in today’s world, this game is now played by many countries. Here are the rules of playing the game of tennis:

General Rules of Tennis

  • To continue playing, you must keep the ball inside the boundaries. A player will lose their one point if they hit the ball outside of the border. 
  • Players are not allowed to touch the net and not allowed to cross the opponent’s side. 
  • Players are not allowed to hold the ball or grab it with a racket. 
  • Hitting the ball twice will go against the rule. 
  • Before players can return the ball, they have to wait for the ball to pass the net first.
  • A player will lose points if they return the live ball after it bounces two times. 
  • If the ball touches the player physically, it will be considered as a penalty.
  • A penalty will be given if players leave the racket or create any verbal abuse.
  • It’s good if the ball bounces on the boundary line.
  • Before the receiver can pass it again, a service must bounce first.

Necessary Equipment for playing Tennis


The tennis racket consists of a handle, a frame, and strings. The strings are connected with the frame in a crisscross weaving pattern. The racket’s frame length has to be 32 inches. The racket should not be longer than 12.5 inches in wth with a handle. And the surface should be 15.5 inches in length and 11.5 inches in width. Any other object or electrical device is not allowed.

Tennis Ball

The general color of tennis balls for tournaments is white or yellow. The measurement of the ball is 2-1/2 to 2-5/8 inches in diameter. And the weight of the ball is around 2 to 2-1/16 ounces. 

Rules of getting scores

Once a player scores four points, they will win the game of tennis. In tennis games, 1 point is known as 15, then 2 points are known as 30, and the 3 points are 40. When you reach the 4th point, it’s the end of the tennis game for you. But if two players’ scores went to 40-40 or equal, it would be called Deuce. 

When two players end up in a deuce situation, then they need to play a tie-break game. And they have to play this set of tennis to find out the winner of the game. And to win the game, they require two clear points to score 7 in a tie-break game.

The format of the tie-break game is, player 1 has to serve first to clear one point. Now, player 2 will perform for their first point to clear; then, player 1 will serve again to clear the following points. That’s how it will continue until the tournament finds its winner. 

What is the meaning of lines?

  • Baseline: Baselines are the lines on both sides of the court. Those lines determine the boundary length of the playing side.
  • Center Mark: The first two halves of the court of tennis refers to the center mark. Generally, it tells the player where they should stand to play the game.
  • Center Line: This line splits the two boxes of service into a left and right service box on both sides of the court. When a ball bounces on these center lines, it counts as a good point.
  • Net: The net is set in 3 feet and 6 inches up from the ground. And the middle portion of the net stands 3 feet higher from the ground. If a player hits the ball inside the net, it will count as out. But if the ball hits the net cord then falls on the component side, the player will get a chance to re-do it. 
  • Serving Line: The service line is basically the mark of the service box. This mark distinguishes the frontcourt from the rear court. 
  • Single Sideline: This sideline determines the length of the inner line and the boundary of the game for a single match. The single sideline also determines the width of the service box.
  • Doubles Sideline: The outermost line of the court is the doubles sideline, which runs lengthwise. And this line is only for doubles tennis tournaments.
Understanding the Tennis Rules

How do they decide who will serve First?

Just like the other sports, tennis games include the tossing system to know who will serve first. They toss by flipping a coin on the air or by spinning the racket. So which team or player will serve first depends on the toss result. Then the player who called it right chooses who will serve first. And the player who didn’t call it right will choose the court where they want to play first.

Serving and Choosing Sides in Tennis

  • Foot Fault: The player will lose their service if they make a foot fault. Foot fault happens when the player steps on a specific line or crosses the center mark before hitting the ball.
  • Proper Service: The player who serves on the court’s right side needs to serve the ball into the service box of diagonal. Play will be continued if the player can serve the ball into the correct box. Then players will switch their sides for the next point.
  • First Service & Second Service: Players get two service chances to deliver the ball into the right service box. The first chance call is the first service, and the second chance call is the second service. When you miss the first chance, you get to play by a second chance. But if you can’t make it to the second service too, you will lose a point. 
  • Let: Let refers to re-do that given to a player when their hit touches the net cord and falls onto the component sides. There is no limit of let, but it rarely happens during the match. 
  • Order of service: A player gets the right to choose which player will serve first when they win the toss. This order of service system has a few different rules between the single and doubles match. 
  • Switching Sides: When an odd-number occurs in the game, players need to switch sides. Odd numbers have the digits 1, 3, 5, 7, or 9. 

Our Top 5 Tips on playing Tennis

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner or pro at tennis; you need to know a few practical tips to win the match effortlessly. Here are the top 5 tips on playing tennis:

Mini Tennis Warm-Up

The first tip is to do some warm-up before you go to the tournament. It will help you to get an active hand to land the ball on the right service box. To start the match, both players need to stand in the proper position on the court. Then both players need to rally the ball back and forth by gentle taps of the racket.

The main goal of the players is to keep the ball alive as long as possible. Players always need to keep their position and racket ready to maintain the rally. But they also have to keep all the rules in their head so that they don’t lose a point. 

The technique of holding the tennis racket

The western, eastern, and continental grips are super popular in the game of tennis, and most players use them in their matches. The eastern way is the most popular way that the majority of tennis players use. To hold the eastern grip, you need to place your hand in the index knuckle on the third level. 

Here your backhand can be tricky; you can use two different ways to hold your racket with a slight change. To switch the way from easter to continental grip, you just need to shift your fingers to the 2-second level. Now hold the handle of the racket as if you’re shaking hands with someone. 

Swing Motion

The swing motion is vital as it decides which direction and the outcome of your shot. No matter whether you’re using a forehand or backhand, you have to pay regard to the motion. When the ball approaches you, you need to use fluid motion from low to high to hit the ball.

The technique of closed racket face will create vertical strings to the ground. It is not any difficult task; you just need to keep practicing swinging motion without a ball. 


It’s quite challenging for beginners to master their footwork. Unless you use the correct footwork, it will be tough for you to hit the ball. Here are few tips on footwork you can apply:

  • Pay attention to your toes: Don’t take your toes lightly while playing. When you pay attention to your toes’ positions, you will be able to smoothly chase the ball. 
  • Never get too close: The majority of players make the same mistake of getting too close to the ball. As a result, when you hit the ball, you bent your elbow. The correct way is to hit the tennis ball with a straight elbow. 

Proper tennis gear

The last tip for you is to use the proper tennis gear. We highly recommend you invest some money in purchasing tennis gear. Things that you have to consider buying tennis gear: racket’s size, proper tennis shoes, protective eyewear. 

Choosing the right size, height, and weight racket is very important; it will help you get a perfect grip. Always select tennis shoes instead of running shoes; running shoes increase the chances of spraining. And eyewear is a must when you go for a match in sunlight; it will reduce the glare and give you better contrast of the ball.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Should you follow your opponent?

It’s better to have your own strategy of playing tennis instead of following your opponent’s step. It may distract you and lead you towards mistakes; as a result, you will lose scores. 

Can you take a rest during a match?

You can’t take any break in the first crossover of the serve. You can ask for permission to take a mini-break. And the game itself includes three breaks in tennis. In case if you feel nervous while playing, take three deep breaths; it will help you.

Can you break any rules of playing tennis?

No, you can’t break any rules of playing the game of tennis. There are several rules of playing the game of tennis, and a player must obey them. If anyone breaks the rules, their points will get cut. So it is necessary to learn all the rules properly and make sure that you’re not breaking any rules.

How long should you practice playing tennis?

Practicing any sports frequently is a very important aspect for players. If you can develop the habit of practicing tennis, you will play it like professionals. You can also get help from coaches. If you practice playing tennis every day, then two hours is enough.


Tennis is a famous sport across the world, even though there are few countries that don’t have a federation yet. There are so many rules that you need to follow to win a match. Again there are many mistakes that lead you to lose a score. 

Well, it’s natural to make mistakes, and people learn quickly through errors. But if you practice all the rules at home, you will make it. We really hope you find our article helpful to learn the rules of playing the game of tennis. 

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