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Sunday, 11 February 2007 07:36

Tennis - Rules

Male tennis player about to serve
A set is won when a player has won six games or two games more than an opponent

Tennis is played on a rectangular flat surface, usually of grass, clay, or concrete (hard court). The court is 78ft (23.77m) long, and its width is 27ft (8.23m) for singles matches and 36ft (10.97m) for doubles.

Players require additional space to reach overrun balls. A net is stretched across the full width of the court, parallel with the baselines, dividing it into two equal ends. The net is 3ft 6in (1.07m) high at the posts, and 3ft (914mm) high in the centre.

Players start on opposite sides of the net. The server stands on his baseline and hits the ball across the net to the opposing player, or receiver. Service alternates between the two halves of the court.

If the first service goes wide or fails to cross the net, the serving player has a second attempt. If the second service is also a fault, the receiver wins the point.

If the service is legal, players alternate hitting the ball across the net ensuring it lands within the area marked by court lines. They must hit the ball before it bounces twice. When a player fails to return the ball, he or she loses the point.

In each game, scores of zero to three points are described as "love" or "zero", "15", "30" and "40" respectively.

If both players reach 40, the score is called "deuce" and play continues until one player has a 2-point advantage, therefore winning the game.

Matches are played to the best of three or five sets of six games, with service alternating in each game. A set is won when a player has won at least six games with a minimum margin of two games.

A "tie - break" system comes into operation when players are tied on six games each.

In the tie break, the first player shall serve during the first point and thereafter service alternates every two points. The winner of the tie break is the first player or team to reach seven points by a margin of two points.

Tennis - Animation

One of the world's most popular sports, top-level tennis demands a combination of great skill, tactics and athleticism. Take a look at our animation to find out more about the courts and the equipment used.

 
 

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