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Learn to Play Tennis: Rules, Scoring System and Etiquette of Tennis

Tennis is one of the most popular and fascinating games played worldwide. Playing tennis requires understanding the basic rules, etiquette and other tennis information like scoring tips and scoring system. In this article, we will discuss the prerequisites of playing and watching tennis game.
The history of tennis game dates back to the 16th century in France, where it was named as 'Jeu de paume', or 'the game of the palm'. However, modern tennis originated in the United Kingdom in the 19th Century as "lawn tennis". Today, the game has become so popular that it is played in the Olympics. It is played for both recreation purposes and in competition level. Anyone with a good sport spirit can play tennis provided that he/she knows basic tennis rules and tips on how to play tennis. There are certain beginner tips and instructional guidelines, which can be followed while playing tennis. Let's try to learn some of the basic rules, scoring system and etiquette of playing tennis.

Rules and Regulations for Playing Tennis
  • Tennis can be played indoors, as well as outdoors. It may be a singles game or a doubles game.
  • The dimension of tennis court is about 78 feet long and 27 feet wide for singles. For doubles, it is about 78 feet long and 36 feet wide.
  • Tennis game is played between two opponents with an aim of scoring points.
  • Points are scored, if an opponent doesn't return the ball that has been hit by another opponent successfully.
  • There are spaces on either side of the net, which are called service courts. Deuce court and advantage court are service courts situated on the right and left side of the player, respectively.
  • To start with the game, one player (server) has to toss and hit the ball in diagonal direction. The ball has to land in the receiver's deuce court. After this, players start playing from the advantage court.
  • After each point, the courts are alternated, till the completion of the game.
Tennis Scoring System

Scoring system in tennis is very unusual and different from other games. For other games like basketball, football, baseball, bowling, volleyball and many others, score starts at 0-0. But for tennis, score starts as Love, 15, 30, 40 and after that the player can win a point. Love is nothing but "zero" score. Now, let's look in brief about this unusual scoring scheme. For better understanding, let's take an example of "X" player Vs. "Y" player, where "X" is the first server and "Y" is the receiver.

Imagine X wins the first point, then the score is "15-Love".
Y wins the next point, then the score is "15 All".
X wins the next point, then the score is "30-15".
Y wins the next point, then the score is "30 All".
Y wins the next point, then the score is "30-40".
If Y wins the next point, then Y wins the game.
If X wins the next point, then the score is "40 All" which is called "deuce".

In deuce, one player has to score the next two points to win the game. The player who scores the next point after deuce, has an advantage. Based on this, there are "advantage in" and "advantage out" scores. If the server has the advantage, then it is called "advantage in" and if the server's opponent has the advantage, then it is called "advantage out". If the player with the advantage wins the next point, then he/she wins the game. If the player with the advantage loses the next point, then the score is returned to deuce again. Likewise, the scheme follows, till the game has been won.

Tennis Etiquette

Besides understanding the basic rules of the game, it is very necessary to follow tennis etiquette, especially while playing for recreational level games. It is also important to know the various tennis equipment for better understanding the game. Following this, everyone starting from the players to the spectators, will enjoy the game equally. Here are some of the basic etiquette, which need to be understood, before commencing a tennis game.
  • Don't disturb by talking loudly near tennis courts that are in use.
  • Always carry an extra racquet and extra tennis balls. Also bring a towel and water.
  • Don't interrupt the game on the neighboring courts, wait until the current point is over.
  • Wear sneakers and other relevant clothing, if possible.
  • Don't criticize your opponent. Try to solve any sort of problem quietly and peacefully.
  • Retrieve tennis balls for your partner (while playing doubles), as well as for your opponent.
  • Give respect to your opponent's line calls.
Nowadays, there are organizations for promoting and developing tennis spirit among the masses. Tennis is such a wonderful sport, where both men and women participate actively. Apart from the eminent men tennis players, there are women tennis players who have played in the Olympics level. Players like Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Rafael Nadal, Boris Becker, Roger Federer and others have won the hearts of tennis lovers. Some of the stars in women's tennis include Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, Martina Hingis, Billie Jean King and many more.
By Ningthoujam Sandhyarani
Last Updated: 9/26/2011
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