Tennis is an individual or paired sport that utilizes strength, endurance, and quickness. The objective in tennis is to hit the tennis ball over the net and into the boundaries of the opponent's area, without the opponent able to hit the ball back.
Players earn points every time the opponent cannot hit the ball back. A complete tennis game is referred to as a match, with a match usually consisting of multiple sets. Within the sets, there are six tennis games. Typically, women's tennis plays three sets in a match, and men's tennis plays five sets in a match.
Every player uses a tennis racquet to hit a tennis ball over the net. Tennis racquets are stringed racquets. A tennis ball is a green fuzzy hard ball. A singles match is when one tennis player is against one other tennis player. A doubles match is when a pair of tennis players play against another pair of tennis players.
Many tennis players will admit that tennis is a very mental game when playing in a singles' match. This is because the player has to make every decision for themselves without any aid from the coaching staff or other teammates.
Tennis matches are played on rectangular courts, usually on a hard surface. The rectangular court has a net that runs across the middle of the court at its shortest width. The height of the net must be 3.5 feet. The court is outlined with a white boundary line, two squares on either side of the net called the service area, and two lines running down the longer court length, perpendicular to the net, called the tram lines. The tram lines are used for the boundary lines for the singles match. The outer boundary lines are used for a doubles match. The baselines are the ends of the court that runs parallel to the net.
To begin the game, the umpire tosses a coin and whichever player guesses the correct side that the coin is up serves the ball first and can choose which side of the net they want to serve from. This is called the coin toss. The player who is serving the ball is referred to as the server. The server must stand behind the baseline towards one corner when serving the ball, and serve the ball to the opposing player's alternate side. Servers have two chances to hit the ball over the net, but after that, it results in a double fault and no point is awarded. The opposing player can stand anywhere they please on their side at the start of the serve. Once the first game is played, the players must switch sides on the court. After this first switch, the players then switch sides after every two games. During this switch, the players receive a 60 second break before resuming gameplay.
The general rule is that the tennis ball must bounce once on the opposing team's side before hitting the ball back. If the ball is hit across the net and the opposing player hits the ball back over the net without the ball bouncing in the service area first, then the point is awarded to the server. Once the serve has been made successfully, the game continues with the players hitting the ball back and forth in the correct areas of the court until one player misses the ball. After every seven games played, the umpire announces a ball change. A ball change is when new tennis balls are played on the court, and the used tennis balls are discarded from the game. This is done to preserve the ball's freshness and not have the players play with worn balls.
If a ball bounces on the line of the correct area, the ball is considered in and play must resume. If the ball bounces outside of the correct area lines, then the ball is considered out of bounds.
Tennis players are not allowed to have any contact with coaches or outside persons. This includes verbal talking and/or any hand motions. If an umpire suspects a tennis player being in contact with someone, they can be penalized or even fined.
It is considered bad sportsmanship if a player intentionally tries to distract their opponent, and if an umpire calls this out, then the player will lose the point.
Scoring in tennis is different than many other sports. To win a game in tennis, a player must score four points. Each point, however is not incremental. 1 point is referred to as a 15, a second point is called a 30, the third point is known as the 40, and the fourth point is the match point. A deuce is when the game score is tied between 40-40, and in order to win here, a player must win two points consecutively. A player must win six games by two or more to win a set.
When playing tennis, players must follow the dress etiquette. Men's attire consists of shorts that land right above the knee, a polo shirt, a hat or a headband. Women's attire usually consists of an athletic skirt with or without compression shorts underneath, and a polo top. It is important to also wear appropriate sneakers that do not have marking soles.
A deuce can happen many times in a game. A deuce is when a score is at 40-40, and a player must score two points in a row to win. If a player scores one point and the opponent scores another point, then the game is back at a deuce. This will continue until a player scores two points in a row to win and complete the game.
In terms of tennis, the word love is used to refer to a score of zero or no points given to a player yet. At the beginning of the game, the score is considered as love-love, until one player earns one point, which is referred to as 15.