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The Beginner’s Tennis FAQ Guide

Do you hear the phrase ‘top seed’ and immediately think of agriculture? If so, then this guide is for you.

Note: If that’s not you — i.e. if you’re someone who already follows tennis — did you know that Andrey Rublev outplayed Andy Murray at the recently concluded Mubadala World Tennis Championship to emerge as the MWTC victor?

Rafael Nadal played, too, but he succumbed to Andy Murray in the semi-finals and to Denis Shapovalov in the 3rd place play-offs. Head on over to the Mubadala tennis FAQ page to learn more.

Going back to our current agenda, if you’re a total tennis greenhorn, this is the guide you want to read, where some of your most common tennis FAQs will be answered.

Read on to learn a little more about the sport that the World Atlas dubs the 4th most popular globally and has captivated the hearts and minds of at least a billion people around the world.

What is tennis?

Tennis is a game involving two players (singles) or two pairs of players (doubles) using tennis rackets to bounce a yellow (what the International Tennis federation calls ‘optic yellow’) tennis ball over a net that divides a rectangular court equally.

Modern-day tennis is actually traditional ‘lawn tennis,’ a game adapted from ‘real tennis,’ a racket game played indoors at a specially made sloping-roof court. Real tennis, as it is known in Britain (also called court tennis Stateside and royal tennis in Australia), is an adaptation of the French handball game ‘jeu de paume.’

Where is tennis played?

Tennis is played on a rectangular court. A tennis court for singles matches is 78 feet long and 27 feet wide, while a doubles court is as long as a singles court but nine feet wider at 36 feet wide.

The service area is the area closest to the net and on which serves must be placed. The service area is 21 feet long and divided by a centerline to distinguish the deuce court (the right service box) and the ad court (the left service box). The sidelines bound the court on its long ends, while the baselines bound the court on the sides parallel to the net.

Tennis may be played on different types of surfaces.

Hard courts, concrete or asphalt courts surface-coated with acrylic, are the most common, especially in the United States. Other surfaces are grass (e.g., Wimbledon), clay (Roland Garros), and carpet (Milan Indoor). However, carpet courts are no longer allowed in high-level tournaments.

How is tennis played?

One of the players serves, while the other one receives.

When the server serves from beyond the baseline, the tennis ball must clear the net and bounce into the service area on the diagonal side of the receiver’s side of the court.

The receiver, in turn, hits the ball to return it to the player who served. Next, the competitors take turns hitting the ball towards the opponent’s side of the court.

How do you serve in tennis?

The first serve in a game must always be made from the right-hand side of the court. Stand behind the baseline between the center line and the sideline. Your feet must not touch the baseline while serving.

Toss the ball into the air, hit it with your racket, and place it into your opponent’s right-hand service box (i.e., the deuce court). On your second serve, go to the left-hand side, again being careful to remain behind the baseline. However, this time, you must hit the ball into the opponent’s left-hand service box (i.e., the advantage of ad court).

How do you score in tennis?

Scoring in tennis is unique. A player’s scores can be Love or 0, 15, 30, and 40. If both players tie at 40, the score of 40 is called ‘deuce.’

How do you get points in tennis?

A player can only let the ball bounce one time before returning the ball to the opponent’s side of the court. Otherwise, the opponent gets the point.

Moreover, if a player fails to place the ball within prescribed boundaries, the point goes to the opponent. Examples include the server being unable to place the ball into the diagonal opposing service box or a player hitting the ball outside the sidelines and beyond the baseline upon return.

How do you win in tennis?

You win by earning points. However, the tennis points system is not as straightforward as simply counting points, and the player with the most points wins.

A player must take the best of three or the best of five sets to win a match. At least six games comprise one set, and the player who wins more games wins the set. If a set is tied at 6-6 — that is to say, the competitors have won six games each — they must play a tie-break game.

What is a game in tennis?

A game continues until one of the players scores at least four points. In a clean sweep, the winner of a game will win the first point (corresponds to a score of 15), the second point (score of 30), the third point (score of 40), and the game-winning point without much contest from their opponent.

A game can get a bit more complicated when there’s a tie — that is to say, both players reach 40 before any player clocks in their fourth or game point. When the score is 40-40, it is a deuce. In this case, a player has to win two consecutive points to win the game.

What happens in a tie-break game?

A tie-break game is played to break a tie in a set. The first player to reach seven points in a tie-break game takes the initially tied set.

However, if both players tie at six points in the tie-break game, a player must edge out his opponent by two points to capture the tie-break game and, thus, the tied set.

Ready to Dive Deep?

Tennis can be complicated to learn, but it is indubitably one of the most captivating sports. It wouldn’t have a billion followers otherwise.

If what you’ve learned about tennis so far has stimulated your appetite for the sport, learn more about it by watching actual tennis tournaments.

You can get Mubadala tennis tickets if you want to see some of the world’s top tennis players fight it out in one of the world’s top tennis exhibition tourneys.

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