If you are keen to learn how to play tennis, here is a guide explaining everything from court layout to tennis rules. Tennis is one of the most physically taxing sports that help us improve our fitness and keep us in shape.
Do you know Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, or Maria Sharapova? They all are popular tennis stars from Switzerland, Spain, and Russia. Being a tennis player for a decade or more, I’ve set all these stars as my idol to follow just like every passionate tennis player. Do you want to be good at tennis or do you want to take a start in it? You probably start by looking into this guide that serves How to Play Tennis.
Form basic rules to the scoring system and tennis supplies; I’ve added everything, making it easier for you to learn tennis.
Table of Contents
How To Play Tennis? Serve, Volley and Smash:
Object Of The Game
Tennis is played in a rectangular court, equally divided into two parts with a net running across the center. The player hits the ball to make it land with the margins of the opponent’s court. You score a point if the opponent fails to hit the ball back to your court within the margins.
Tennis rectangular court has a length of 78 feet with a width of 36 feet for double players and 27 feet for single player games. Right in the center, a point vertically divides the entire court into parts for a quick reference for players in a two-player team to know their official range.
This center divides the single courts into two parts of 13.5 feet each or 18 feet for double player courts. It helps in safely returning when you serve. There are two baselines in these 78 feet long courts parallel to the net in the center and it is a horizontal boundary. The baseline is a marked line with a thickness of 10cm.
Anything outside of it will be considered as outside and if your ball steps within it or on top of it, it is still in the game and you can continue that point. The tennis court is rectangular in shape and there are two long boundaries known as a sideline or acting longer boundaries.
The sidelines themselves are of two types. The first and the closest to the center point is called the single sideline which is the limited boundary for single player games. Similarly, there comes a double sideline which is the furthest boundary of a court, and an acting boundary for double players with a thickness of 5 cm or less than 10cm. Distance between these two sidelines is 4 feet & 6 inches.
Service line is parallel to the baseline and the area next to it forms a service box which is 4 in total within a court, i.e., two service courts on your side and two for your opponents. A service box is usually 19 feet 6 inches in length and 13 feet 6 inches in width be it a single or double player court. And for the net, is 36 feet long with 3 feet in height of the net itself and 3 feet 6 inches for its poles at both corners.
What Equipment Do You Need To Play Tennis?
As far as shoes are concerned, you can put whatever you feel comfortable in but prefer proper tennis shoes so you could establish a better grip. Make sure it is a plain shoe with no pattern on its sole. This is a good thing if you’re out there on a clay court so it won’t leave any mark that would later affect your grip on the court.
But, your racquet matters a lot as it could make or break your entire career. Although we have a complete guide on the best tennis racquets for tennis players, you can read it here. But for now, just get a power racquet that is lightweight, maneuverable, and responsive for beginner players. They usually have larger heads and bring good power.
Also, purchase a couple of tennis balls. Try to grab at least 3 balls but you should prefer 6 of these because you’ll lose them a lot since you’re new to tennis. Besides this, wear a cap if it’s a sunny day, and grab compressive shorts if it’s hot outside as they are good and breathable.
How To Play The Game?
The game begins with a toss, and the winner decides who will serve first. If it doubles, the winning duo can mutually decide which player is going to serve first. The first server gives you the advantage to begin the play since you have complete control over this stroke.
So let begin with the rules of serve in tennis. To strike first serve, the player takes position behind the baseline and to the right side of the center mark. For the second point serve, the player takes place behind the baseline to the left of the canter mark.
Once the server takes the position to serve, he cannot change it; otherwise, it will be considered a foot fault. The server tosses the ball in the air and hits it before it touches the ground. Also, if the server’s feet touch the imaginary extension of the baseline, it is also a foot fault.
A fair serve is when the ball lands within the boundaries of a diagonally crossed opponent’s service box. It must not hit the net or another solid fixture. If the ball touches the net, receiver’s body, or another thing within the court, it will be a let serve and not considered as service fault.
Two consecutive service faults will make you lose the point, and the opponent team will serve.
How To Return A Serve?
If you are in the receiver courts, it is important for you to keep your mind active and decide the best stroke to return the serve. These are some basic strokes that tennis players use.
To play a freehand stroke, hold the racket in your dominant hand. The inner side of the palm should be facing forward and keep the racket at the back. Then swing the racket across your body in a direction where you want to land the ball.
A forehand stroke will let you play outward and upward strokes. The freehand group will let you get the ball coming at lobs or short angles.
Backhand stroke is played by holding the racket in both hands. Keep the racket outside out and hit the ball at a slightly upward angle. Since you hold the racket with both hands, there is no need to put extra effort into this short.
This is the best stroke to return the low balls with heavy backspin. Also, it is easier to hit the ball that is close to the body with a backhand stroke.
Tennis Volley is another technical stroke that especially comes into play when you have to face a low serve. Volley is a stroke in which you hit the ball before it bounces on the ground. This aggressive stroke lets you interrupt the rally timing and will make your opponent run ragged.
The best position to play a volley is closer to the net or at the service line. Volleys usually prove unpredictable and unacceptable for the receiver, giving you an instant point win. There are two types of volleys.
Backhand Volley is when you hold the racket in your dominant hand, and the backside of your hand faces the net. While playing freehand volley, the backside of your hand faces the baseline.
The game starts with 0-0 or love-each. Then it increases to 15, then 30, then 40, and then game points. The server’s point is announced first. For example, if the player on the non-server end sores the first point, it is announced as love-15.
You need to keep track of your score to determine your position in the game. The match is either of two or three sets and to win a game, you must reach seven points with a margin of two.
General Rules In tennis
- If your racket or any part of your body touches the net, you lose a point.
- You must hold your racket all the time during the game. If you throw the racket at the ball or drop it, you will lose a point.
- You must hit the ball after the first bounce, and if it bounces twice, you will lose the point.
- If both players or teams reach 6-6, a tie-break is announced. If the tie break is announced at 6-6 points, the first player to score seven points wins the tie and set. If this is announced for six games to 6, the player who first gets the margin of two points wins.
- After every service point, the serve-side is altered.
- The court ends are altered when the sum of the pints reaches six and multiples of six.
Frequently Ask Question of How to Play Tennis
So these are some basic rules that you need to keep in mind while playing tennis. If you are keen to learn how to play tennis, it is advised to start practicing tennis from today. Begin with basic skills like how to hold the racket and use your body during the game.
Plus, it is advised to choose opponents who already know how to play tennis. If you are a beginner, avoid playing doubles games since it involves additional skills like team coordination and interaction.
Start with practicing with the basic backhand and forehand stroke and gradually move towards advanced skills.