Those who follow Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal or Novak Djokovik know every tiny detail of tennis. They've learnt it from corner strokes, raging volleys and impossible drop shots at the net. But many others do not. There are those who are curious about this glorious sport, but find the rules so confusing and seemingly arbitrary that they can't quite get the hang of it. This article is dedicated to all of them, where we will explain the 10 most elementary rules of tennis.

The 10 most important tennis rules

Tennis is governed by a relatively variable set of rules. The Association of Tennis Professionals, the ITF Women's Tour or the Women's Tennis Association include in their respective regulations some rules that differ from each other. However, the vast majority of the rules are cross-cutting for all federations. We are going to talk about these rules. The basic rules of tennis.

Who serves first?

Although very important, there is not much mystery in this matter. Well, yes, the mystery provided by chance itself, as it is decided by drawing lots. Either by a coin, as in football, or by the spin of a racket. Both players choose up or down and whoever wins decides who serves and who subtracts in the first game of the match.

Tennis serve

The player must have both feet behind the baseline, release the ball into the air and hit it with the racket before it hits the ground towards the diagonal section of the opponent's court and without it touching the net. It may also not go over the opponent's court, in which case it is a fault and the player has another chance to serve. The receiving player must return the racket either before it touches the ground of his or her own court or after a bounce.


The let, which we have already mentioned without explicitly mentioning it, is when a player is allowed to serve again. It occurs on two occasions. Firstly, when the ball hits the net and falls into the opponent's court. And secondly, when there is some interference in play, such as an extra ball in the court, a crowd disturbance or a bird.

Missing point

Failure to hit the ball in the opponent's court during a serve is not the only way to miss a serve. It also happens when the ball bounces twice before the opponent can receive it, when the ball hits an external element such as a lamp post, when the ball hits the racket twice when serving or when it touches the player's body.

Points in tennis

Even if you're not a tennis fan, you'll be aware that the sport doesn't use a very conventional scoring system. No one, two, three or four points. Here one point equals 15, two points equals 30, three points equals 40 and four points equals one game. Six games, in turn, make a set. And, depending on the competition, two sets or three sets win the match. One of the most striking rules of tennis.


Everything we have told you in the previous point is true, yes, but with nuances. Because it turns out that if both players are tied at 40, either of them will need two more points to win the game. And in the same way, if two players are tied at 6 games, they play the set in a tie-break. In other words: in tennis you always need an extra edge. It is not enough to win by one.


But what exactly is the tie-break, one of the basic rules of tennis? It consists of a kind of sudden death to 7 points to break the tie. Here, as in the rest of the match, the difference to win it must be at least two points. This means that if the tie-break goes 6-6, either player needs to win 8-6 to take it, not 7-6.

Tennis court

Tennis courts, in contrast to football courts, have a fixed size that is compulsory for all courts. Specifically, 23.8 metres long by 8.2 metres wide for singles matches and 23.8 metres long by 11 metres wide for doubles matches. The only thing that may vary in the different types of tennis courts is the surface: grass, clay, cement...


Another of the fundamental rules of tennis is the isolation of the player. It is forbidden for them to communicate with their coach during the match, either verbally or by means of signals. Only in certain versions of tennis, such as university tennis, is this communication between coach and player permitted, which is very useful for preparing new game strategies.

Side changes

The players change court halves during the match. This, of course, also follows a predetermined pattern. Specifically, the players change at the end of the first, third, fifth and any other odd games that may occur due to ties. And with this, you know all the rules of tennis in a nutshell . If you're up for it and need a hint, remember that we are experts in the tennis court construction.

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