Tennis is a racket sport played between two players or two pairs of players, and the objective is to hit the ball over a net and into the opponent's court, with the aim of making it difficult or impossible for them to return the ball.
Here are the basic rules of tennis:
- Court: The tennis court is divided into two sides by a net. Each side has a baseline, service line, and singles and doubles sidelines. (see Tennis Court Dimensions)
- Serving: The player who is serving must stand behind the baseline on their side of the court and hit the ball over the net into the opponent's service box. The serve must be underhand or overhand and must not touch the net.
- Faults: A serve that does not land in the opponent's service box is called a "fault." A player is allowed two faults per serve, and if they fail to get a legal serve on the third attempt, they lose the point.
- Let: If a serve hits the net and lands in the opponent's service box, it is called a "let," and the player is allowed to serve again without penalty.
- Rally: After the serve, the players take turns hitting the ball back and forth over the net until one player misses or hits the ball out of bounds.
- Scoring: The scoring system in tennis is based on a series of points, games, and sets. Each point is worth one, and a game is won by the first player to score four points, with a two-point lead. A set is won by the first player to win six games, with a two-game lead. The terms used to describe points are "love" for zero, "15" for one point, "30" for two points, and "40" for three points.
- Deuce: If both players reach a score of 40, it is called "deuce," and the player who wins the next point will have the advantage. If the same player wins the next point, they win the game. If the other player wins the point, the score returns to deuce.
- Tiebreak: If the score reaches 6-6 in a set, a tiebreak is played. The first player to score seven points with a two-point lead wins the tiebreak.
- Doubles: In doubles play, the court is wider and the two players on each team take turns serving and receiving. The server must serve to the opposite side of the court.