This website takes you to the rules of tennis
and interpretation of little understood areas.

To download the rules in pdf format
right click on the link below:

Click here for the rules




The Lines.

The lines are included in the court, and when a ball hits a line (even the outer edge), it is considered to be in. Players are often confused on ''a down the center serve'' when the ball touches the outside of the line i.e. almost in the other box.

Even if the ball is predominantly over the other side, it is still in.
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As matches become more important, players get umpires and line callers, they do their best to resolve, impartially,
any line calls

However, in many instances you will not have the luxury of game officials, and therefore players need to be guided -
on line calls and other cases, by the unwritten law, that any doubt, MUST be resolved in favour of their opponent/s

It is both the obligation and perogative of a player to call all shots landing on, or aimed at, their side of the net, and help the opponent make a call, only when specifically requested. No player should question an opponents call unless asked.

Any call of 'out' 'let' or 'fault' must be made instantaneously; otherwise the ball is presumed good and is still in play. In such instances, it is almost certain that some 'out' balls will be played such as a fast first serve; it may be moving so rapidly the receiver has hit it and it has gone into play or into the net before an 'out'call can be made; in this case the receiver is considered to have taken his chance and is entitled to only one chance.

Any ball that cannot be called out is presumed to have been good, a player cannot claim a let on the basis that they did not see the ball.

When a player says ''I'm not sure if it was good or out - Let's play a let'', this is not the correct decision. "If a
ball cannot be called out with surety, it is good."

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All points played 'in good faith' stand

For example: if, after losing a point, you discover the net was four inches too high, the loss stands. If the third point of a game is played in the ad. court, there is no replay. Corrective action is not taken until the point is
played out.

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The Tiebreak.

At the end of the normal games i.e. 6 - 6, the tiebreak is started by the player, who is next to serve.

This is counted as their service game, even though everyone has the chance to serve two points. At the end of the tiebreak, it does not matter who had the last serve. The next game is started by the player who is next in turn in the order of serves.

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Changing the order of serve in doubles.

At the end of each SET, when your team has the opportunity to start the first game of the new set, you may change the order of who serves

Thus your best server can start the new set.

See separate tip on whether you can change during a set.

Changing the Order of Receiving during a match.

If during a game or a tiebreak you inadvertently switch receiving positions, if a point has been played, this point
counts and you should stay in the same incorrect positions until the end of the game.

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Broken Racket Strings.

On the Serve

If you break a string while serving a first serve fault, you can change your racket, but you only get a second serve.

However, if the situation is reversed and your opponent breaks a string whilst returning your first serve; they are allowed to change their racket, but you are entitled to two serves.

Can you hold balls in your hand whilst playing?

Can you hold balls in your hand whilst playing tennis and if so how many?. You do not see many pro's holding even one ball, whilst they are playing - they normally put the second ball in their pocket etc.

However, it is within the rules to hold balls in the hand and this was quite common until players started to use a two-handed backhand and it is not very easy to hold a ball and use two hands on a racket

In fact, the only way you can win a game, without picking up another ball, is to start with 5 in your hand.

You win all of the first three points, each with a 1st serve and you start the forth and final point with two balls still available.

Can you throw your racket at a ball to keep it in play?

No, you cannot throw your racket after the ball in the hope it will go over the net.

But, if your racket accidently flies out of your hand AFTER contacting the ball, the shot is legal

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The shot from your opponent pushes you back behind the baseline You return it but before getting back into the court area your opponent hits a long shot and you volley it back from out of court. Whose point is it ?

It's your point - there is nothing in the rules prohibiting you from hitting the ball whilst you are outside the lines of the court - in fact you could be outside the court itself, the lines of the court apply to the ball and not your body.

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Calling a Let.

You are playing and something happens to distract you, such as a ball from an adjacent court rolls through your court or your opponents court - you may call a let, provided you do this instantaneously and do not hit the ball. You cannot call a let once you have struck the ball.