Your Guide to Tennis: Everything You Need to Know About How the Sport Works

Tennis is one of the most popular sports played across the globe. Originally invented in France in the 11th century, tennis was officially designed and codified in England in the 1870s, becoming the sport we know and love today. Following the creation of tennis, its popularity grew with the advent of the first Wimbledon tournament in 1877.

By the end of the 19th century, tennis was being played on a number of surfaces including grass, clay and hardwood flooring before the introduction of “hard” courts, made from concrete and acrylic. According to the International Olympic Committee website, women were fairly early adopters of the sport, competing in Wimbledon by 1884.

These days, tennis produces some of the world’s most well-known athletes like Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams and Roger Federer and tennis tournaments are watched by millions of people around the world. If you’ve wanted to learn more about how tennis works, the rules and how to score in this game, keep reading.

What is the object of the game?

While winning is the aim of the game when it comes to tennis, to do this, players have to hit the ball over the net in the middle of the court, making sure the ball lands within the margins drawn around the rectangular-shaped court. Players want to hit the ball to their opponent in a way that makes it hard for the opponent to return the ball. According to Rules of Sport, every time your opponent is unable to return the ball within the court, you win a point.

How is tennis scored?

To win a game of tennis, you need to score four points. As Rules of Sports explains: “The points are known as 15 (1 point), 30 (two points), 40 (three points) and the fourth would result in the winning point and the end of that game.” If both players score 40 to 40, this is known as a deuce. When a game reaches deuce, the player must win by two clear points.

Winning a game requires one person to win a certain amount of sets — for women, this is best of three and for men, this is best of five sets. To win a set, you simply need to be the first player to reach six games but have to be clear by at least two games. If your opponent wins five games, you must then win the set seven to five. If the set happens to go to six all, a tie break must be played, where the winner is the first person to seven points.

What else do you need to know?

Well, besides how the scoring works, there are also other rules about playing. For example, tennis can be played with either one player on each side of the court (a singles match) or with two players on each side (a doubles match).

When it comes to equipment, all that is needed is a stringed tennis racket and a tennis ball — that’s it. While there are a number of rules that date back to the creation of tennis, there is also an etiquette associated with the game. For example, it’s considered polite to shake hands and congratulate your opponent at the end of the match. And, of course, always treat your opponent, the umpire and your racket with respoect — try to avoid racket throwing if possible!

For more information on the ins and outs of tennis, head to the Tennis Australia website.