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How to Play Tennis

Tennis is a great sport to play even if you’re a beginner. You don’t need expensive equipment or great skill to start playing tennis. However a few simple tips will help even beginners to feel like the next Agassi or Williams sister. But before our top 12 Tennis Tips, here is some information for beginners on how to play tennis and how to score your match.

Basics on how to play Tennis

How to serve:

  • When you play tennis, you always serve from the baseline.
  • In tennis you serve every other game of the match.
  • If you miss two serves in a row the point goes to your opponent.

What part of the court to use:

  • Alleys are only in play after the first serve when playing doubles.
  • When serving, the ball must land in the first box diagonal to you on your opponent’s side of the tennis court to be in, and before the full length of the tennis court is in play.

Changing ends of the Tennis court:

  • In tennis you swap ends of the court with your opponent after the first game of the first set, and then after every two games thereafter. This is to even out any disadvantage of the sun or wind conditions.

Basics on how to score a Tennis match

  • Points are not scored 0, 1, 2, 3… instead they go Love (0), 15, 30, 40, Game, and scores are read in the order of who is serving.
  • To win a Game in Tennis, you need to be the first player to score four points. Unless the previous score was deuce (40-40), then you have to win two consecutive points to win the game.
  • To win a Set in Tennis, you must normally be the first player to win 6 Games.
  • To win a Tennis Match, you should be the first player to win 3 Sets.

12 Tennis Tips for Beginners

Tennis Tip 1: Warm up, cool down and bend your knees during play to help prevent injury.

Tennis Tip 2: Tennis fashion still causes a stir in papers even today, but it really doesn’t matter what you wear as long as you have the freedom to move freely and feel comfortable. Having said that, the last man to win Wimbledon in white trousers was in 1946!

Tennis Tip 3: Toss the ball high when serving, this will help you get more power behind the ball and therefore more speed.

Tennis Tip 4: Keep your eye on the ball at all times, tennis is great for you because it requires concentration and co-ordination, as well as giving you an all over workout.

Tennis Tip 5: Don’t play with dead tennis balls. If it doesn’t bounce, it doesn’t make for a good game.

Tennis Tip 6: Take regular brakes just like the pros do, to cool off and keep hydrated.

Tennis Tip 7: It doesn’t matter whether you use one or two hands on the tennis racquet when playing backhand shots, just do whatever is most natural and comfortable for you.

Tennis Tip 8: Talk to your partner when playing doubles. It may sound obvious, but how many times have you heard “but I thought you were getting it!”

Tennis Tip 9: When playing on an outside tennis court always wear sun block, even when it’s cloudy, as a tennis match can last hours, even if you’re a beginner.

Tennis Tip 10: A “Volley” shot is when the ball is returned before it bounces on the court, use these shots to catch your opponent out and change the pace of the match.

Tennis Tip 11: Returning the ball when you’re not facing the net, or even hitting the ball through your legs is allowed and still counts.

Tennis Tip 12: Last of all, as John McEnroe will tell you, if it’s on the line, it’s IN! And if anyone tells you otherwise “(they) must be crazy!!”

More Info

How to Play Tennis - Detailed information from the BBC web site on the basics, scoring and techniques.

Find Your Nearest Tennis Club - The Lawn Tennis Association has a search by postcode or name to help you find your nearest club.

Calories in Tennis - Did you know you can easily burn over 350 calories in an hour of playing recreational tennis? Find out more while keeping a food and exercise diary. Try it free for 24 hours.