Tennis: A Guide


Elise Hartung

Have you ever gone to play tennis and realized that you don’t know how? Well, worry no more. Here’s a guide for all your tennis needs.

Scoring:                                                                                                                                                                                           In tennis, the scoring sounds confusing, but once you apply it to a match, it all clears up. If you have ever heard the phrase “Game, set, match,” that comes directly from tennis. You need to win games to win sets, and you need to win sets to win the match.

  • Scoring a game
    • To start, the score is 0-0, love-all. The zeros correlate with the set score, and the love-all correlates to the current game’s score. The set score is irrelevant at this point.
    • From zero, the game score goes to 15. If you were to win the first point, the score would be 15-love.
    • Next, the score goes to 30. You would say 30-love.
    • After that, for reasons unknown, the score goes to 40 and not 45. It makes no sense to anyone, but we have to follow the rules.
    • If the score is 40-love and you win the next point, you won the game, and you get a point on the scoreboard.
    • In conclusion, you need four points to win a game, and the progression from love is 15, 30, 40, and then game.
  • Scoring a set
    • This is where the set score becomes relevant.
    • After you win a game, you go to the scoreboard and add a point to your total. The score of the new game would now be 1-0, love-all.
    • If you win six games, you win a set. There’s small numbers on the scoreboard that you can move to show that you won a set.
  • Scoring a match
    • A match is played as the best two out of three sets. After someone wins a set, the score is reset to zero, and you start it all again.

Rules:                                                                                                                                                                                                  There are quite a few rules and stipulations for tennis, but only the most basic will be explained here.

  1. Singles is one person versus another person, and doubles is two people versus two other people.
  2. If you are looking at the court as it’s shown in the featured image, the right half is called the deuce side, and the left half is called the ad side. This is the same on all tennis courts. When facing the net, the right half is deuce, and the left have is ad.
  3. If the ball touches any part of the line, it is in. This rule tends to confuse people, but there are no exceptions to it.
  4. The doubles alleys, as shown in the featured image, are used for doubles only. They are the long, skinny boxes that stretch all the way down the sides of the court. If you hit a ball into the doubles alley while playing a singles match, it is considered out.
  5. There are two separate service boxes on each side of the tennis court. When serving, you serve to the box that is diagonal from you. There’s a short line at the baseline that indicates whether you’re on the deuce or the ad side.