How to Play Tennis (Tennis 101): The Ultimate Guide for New Players

Watching Maria Sharapova or Novak Djokovic’s magical domination on the court, have you ever dreamed of becoming an adroit Tennis player just like them? We can totally relate to your zeal and that’s why I wrote this “Tennis 101: How To Play Tennis” guide to help you unleash your sporty side to life.

In this article, I’ve got you covered with everything that you may need to know to get underway, thanks to our team of Tennis experts and my coach who assisted me in this regard.

From basic tennis rules to expert techniques; from the scoring system to the layout of the court, and where to get the best tennis equipment – I’ve rounded up everything just for your ease! So, without any further tattling, let’s start the ball rolling.

Things You Need to Know Before Dipping Your Toe Into Tennis

Tennis

Certainly, the first step in mastering anything is to learn the related jargon and factors associated with it.

And, that is why, before getting into the real discussion, here, I’ve jotted down the necessary deets that would help you understand the further instructions more conveniently.

So, keep browsing down and pay attention to what you’re reading!

I. Layout of the Court 

According to the experts, the first step towards learning how to play tennis is knowing the layout of the tennis court well. To help you in this endeavor, here we’ve talked about all the different parts of a tennis court in the following.

But, before you begin practicing, we suggest you take a stroll around a Tennis court physically to understand the areas better.

Dimension 

The overall dimension of a Tennis court depends on the type of Tennis you’re playing. For singles, the registered dimension is 27 ft. wide by 78 ft. long. For doubles, the lengthwise dimension remains the same but since here two players will play from either side, hence the width is kept to 36 feet.

Baseline

The lines of either edge of the tennis court are known as the baselines. They mainly define the lengthwise boundaries of a Tennis court.

Center Mark

The center marks are the pointers that are marked on the tennis court to determine the right and left side areas of the ground. It basically helps players to know where to stand before performing a serve.

Service Box

Service boxes are areas where the served ball needs to bounce. You’ll see, these boxes on either side are bounded by service line, single sideline, centerline, and net.

Service Line

The service line is the line that marks the end line of both service boxes on each side. The line is typically parallel to the baseline of the court.

Center Line

The centerline is a sharp straight line that starts and ends at service lines of either hand. It is marked to divide the two service boxes into the right side and left side to play the game on. 

Singles Sideline

Singles Sideline is the outermost edge of a Tennis court and marks the width of a service box. Also, it marks the boundaries of the game for singles while the lines for doubles go a few feet out from here.

Net Placement 

The net seats in the exact center of the Tennis court, meaning it hangs to the point that is 39 ft. from either side of the baseline. 

II. Tennis Equipments

Equipments

To binge yourself on practicing Tennis, you’ll need to get your hands on a few essential equipments.

For your convenience, here we haven’t only introduced them but also shared with you some of their top options to help you purchase them without moving to any other page.

So, let’s have a look at them:

1. Racket

The racket is the tool that you used to hit the ball in tennis. To your knowledge, your performance in the game largely depends on the quality of the racket you’re using.

Hence, having an expedient racket is essential to kick off your Tennis training. Here are some of the options that can help you make your mind. 

1. HEAD Ti. Tennis Racket

When it comes to the rackets, nothing can beat the brand HEAD! They offer nothing less than the best so purchasing their racket is definitely a winning investment. Especially, this model is crafted with Nano-Titanium technology to hand you the lightest weight racket with maximum durability.

Top Features: 

  • Crafted with Nano-Titanium technology
  • Feels like feathery weight yet highly durable
  • Ensure supreme stability even during rapid movement 
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

2. Dunlop Tennis Racket

Our next call is from the widely raved Tennis tool brand Dunlop. This racket is ideal for all levels of players, whether you’re a novice, a mid-level player, or a tournament veteran, this racket will always serve your purpose. 

Also Read:  13 Celebrities Who Play Tennis (Are You Following Them?)

Top Features: 

  • Made with Graphite
  • Designed to be spin-friendly
  • Ensure secure and strong grip
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3. MacGregor Tennis Racket

When you’re looking for a budget-friendly option without having to sacrifice the quality, then this model is sure to put your mind at ease. Thanks to the MacGregor engineers for availing this amazing option for the Tennis buff. 

Top Features: 

  • Made with a unique blend of graphite and aluminum
  • Ensures stable grip and fast movement
  • Sturdy construction 
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4. Wilson V2 Tennis Racket

The brand Wilson is one of the top names in the world of Tennis supplies. All of their products are amazing in their own way and there’s no exception for this racket model V2.

You’ll be glad to know that this racket is designed with perfect grip to give you the power to hit and its sweet spot is dedicated to ensuring proper bounce in each shot.

Top Features: 

  • High-quality construction
  • Made with Aluminum
  • Assures perfect grip
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5. Wilson Ultra V3 Tennis Racket

Another Wilson made to our handpicked list with its optimum quality and performance. It so slender and lightweight, that even after hours of playing, your hands won’t ache.

So, whether you’re about to play in a tournament or have a long practice session planned, this model is definitely a great choice.  

Top Features: 

  • Exceptionally lightweight
  • Perfect for long time usage
  • Highly durable
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

2. Tennis Ball 

The tennis ball usually comes in yellow color, and as per the ITF standards, the dimension should be between 2-1/2 and 2-5/8 inches.

Also, the ball should be well bouncy and weigh between 2 and 2-1/16 ounces. Below are some of the best options to choose from:

1. Penn Championship Tennis Balls

Our first recommendation is from the leading Tennis ball brand in America, Penn Championship that has been reigning the field for more than 100 years. Their long-term experience clearly reflects in each of their products.

Their ball features a doozy finishing and the fusion of interlocked fiber guarantees ultra bounciness even after months of wear and tear.

Top Features: 

  • Boasts perfect bounce on all surfaces 
  • Extremely durable plus tear-proof
  • Uses in official USTA Leagues tournaments
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2. Wilson Prime Tennis Balls

Our next recommendation is from another top-notch brand – Wilson. Just so you know, Wilson is the most preferred Tennis ball brand in many official tournaments including the NCAA Tennis, Australian Open, and US Open Championships.

Although, these balls might seem to be a bit on the expensive side, yet their exclusive Duraweave felt inclusion would undoubtedly make your investment worthwhile.

Top Features: 

  • Constructed with Duraweave felt
  • Ensures high-end quality performance 
  • Uses in multiple International Tennis Championships
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3. Wilson Youth Collection Tennis Balls

If you want to start with something economical then here’s another model from Wilson. Although, this one is specially designed for kids below 11, yet this is a handy choice for adults as well if you’re having it for your initial practicing purpose.

Top Features: 

  • Economical option
  • Designed for Tennis beginner
  • Long-lasting durability
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4. Tourna Tennis Balls

Another great option for beginners. Interestingly, to live up to the beginners’ minds, this brand promises that their bounce will never fade. They also maintain high-quality construction and ensure that you get the most fun possible while playing Tennis.

Top Features: 

  • Packs extra resilient felt
  • Promises ever-lasting bounciness
  • Comes with a mesh carrier bag
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5. Gamma Colorful Tennis Balls

Last but not the least, here’s another amazing option for you. Being a fancy person, if you wish to play with colorful Tennis balls, this is the option you’ll have to turn to.

The brand Gamma proudly manufactures four-color Tennis balls for satiating ardent consumers around the world.

Whether you’re a fan of pink, orange, or blue; if you want to play with your favorite colored Tennis ball, just tap into the link and order.  

Top Features: 

  • Comes in four different colors
  • Suitable for all types of surface
  • Excellent bouncing, ideal for beginners
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

III. Essential Tennis Terms To Understand 

Learning the Tennis jargon is again very crucial to understand what you’re doing in the field. Otherwise, neither you’ll catch up with the techniques properly nor you’ll be able to communicate properly with your fellow players.

Here are some of the essential Tennis terms for your help: 

  • Serve – When a player flings the ball into the air and strikes it with the racket to pitch it to the required service zone, it’s called a serving. In tennis, a serve has to be performed to kick-start the game.
  • Return of Serve – When a player on the opposite side of the court hits back the flying ball of serve with the racket, it’s is called return of serve.
  • Ace − If the opponent player/team fails to strike and return the ball to the server’s area, then it’s an ace. During an ace, the server player/team wins a point.
  • Deuce − When both the teams manage to win 4 points for themselves and the score ties at 40-40, this tie state in Tennis is called deuce.
  • Love – The term “love” in tennis refers to the score ‘zero’. For instance, if the game score is 30-0, then it’ll be declared as ’30 love’.
  • Game Point – The very last point of a tennis match is considered as the game point.

How to Play Tennis: Step-by-Step Guide

backhand

Now that you’ve done reading the measures, you need to mug up before kick-starting your Tennis training, so let’s get into the crux of the matter.

1. Practice Hitting the Ball with the Racket 

Before you head off to the tennis court, we suggest that you get accustomed to being able to consistently hit the ball with your racket. It is actually a straightforward step. You just have to fling the ball into the air and hit it.

Repeat this until you are able to hit the ball continuously in the air without dropping it on the ground.

Do not get worried about the speed and motion of the hits for now. Enjoy the chemistry that slowly builds up between your hands and the grip of your racket! 

2. Know the Sets

A tennis match consists of a package of 6 games called sets. A professional tennis tournament is usually played up to three or five sets.

But there is a crucial rule of continuing the sets until one of the players wins six games and has a lead of 2 wins against the rival players.

In case both sides end up with a score of 6-6 then a tie-breaker game is declared. The player who acquires a lead of consequent 2 wins is announced as the winner. Doesn’t it seem interesting? The scoreboard awaits your arrival champ! 

3. Learn How Scores are Awarded

The player/ team that serves first, gets to commence the first point. And, the point goes to the player/team only if the opponent misses the ball, hits the ball on the net, volley it out of bounds, or if the ball bounces twice. The points are declared at the beginning of each serve.

If the point is zero, then the server will call “love”, if it is one then the server will call “fifteen”. Then for two points, he will call out “thirty”, for three “forty” and for four points the call will be “game” as it is the winning score.

A player who acquires four points first wins the game leading with 2 points. Whereas, if the score is 40-15, 40-30, or 40-love then you are only one point away from getting that trophy! But if the score is tied then the word “all” is used, for example, 40-all.

Have you wondered what happens when both the players score four points each? If this happens then one of the players needs to score consecutive two points to win the match. 

If the server is able to score then it is called “Ad-In” but if the server loses the point to his opponent then it is termed as “Ad-Out”. Sounds fun, right? The term “breaking the serve” is used when the game is won by the player who didn’t serve.

Also Read:  How Long Do Tennis Balls Last?

Mostly, the probability of the server is high at winning the game but sometimes the receiver also wins, therefore, he breaks the serve. It’s all a matter of hit or miss! A score chart is added below to help you grab the scoring system easily-

  • 0 points= Love
  • 1 point = 15
  • 2 points= 30
  • 3 points= 40
  • Tied score= All
  • 40-40 = Deuce
  • Server wins deuce point = Ad-In
  • Receiver wins deuce point = Ad-Out

4. Master the Forehand Stroke

The next step is mastering strokes, so we will start with mastering the forehand stroke.  Although, there are a whole lot of stroke movements that you can practice, among them, forehand stroke is the most crucial one.

For this, you need to have a strong forehand. So get those muscles working! Grip the racket with your dominant hand for the forehand stroke.

Afterward, swing the racket backward, forwards, and then use the sweet spot of your racket to hit it. Then prepare for your next hit as the ball approaches your opposition.

5. Use Backhand Stroke as Your Weapon

Just like the forehand stroke, the backhand stroke is also a method for staying in the game and offering an attacking hit to your opponent simultaneously.

This can be done using only one hand or both hands. Using only one hand provides a whole range of shots by various movements of the hand while using both hands ensures greater shoulder turn for the best results. 

To start learning this technique, first, grab the racket in the position in which it should be behind your body, and if you are going to use both hands then grab the bottom of the racket with your right hand and the top with the left hand then take your position.

Afterward, swing it back then swing it forward and keep it parallel to the ground as your racket makes contact with the ball.  There should be a balance within your body posture so that you can hit the ball properly. 

6. Ace The Strategic Step of Volley

After learning the strokes, now it’s time for you to learn the knack of volleys. Volley is basically a way of hitting the ball just before it bounces on the ground. It helps to hit the ball from many angles and imposes higher pressure on your opponent.

To attempt it, hold the racket in your dominant hand while the baseline is faced by the back of your hand, aim at the ball, and hit it upward! This is called forehand volley.

Backhand volley is also quite similar apart from the fact that the back of your hand faces the net this time. This is a sudden protective stroking method that, if performed correctly, is sure to save the ball from bouncing on the ground.

It might seem overwhelming at this point but as we all know practice makes perfect so keep swinging your racket, you’ll get it!


Types of Tennis Games to Play

Tennis can be split into two types which are known as singles and double tennis. Let’s talk about singles tennis, first.

It is the basic form of tennis involving two players on the opposite sides of the net. To start, one player has to serve and volley the ball to the opponent’s service box.

The opponent then will have to return the ball by striking before it bounces twice. As the play continues, apply the strokes and volley techniques you’ve learned so far. 

How Does Double Tennis Work?

Tennis Doubles

Double tennis simply means including four players in a match while the rules remain the same. But it requires more effort than single tennis as a form of communication has to be present between the tennis partners playing on the same side.

You have to be familiar with the drawbacks of one another and try to find a way to cover up for it while plotting strategies against the opponent on the go.

So, you see compatibility and communication are dire important in doubles, so pick your partners wisely.


Final Thoughts

This article keenly walks you through every important aspect that you need to know to start your Tennis journey.

So, no more wondering about how to play tennis, as you’ve found us already. We suggest you buy the necessary Tennis gear from the options we’ve enlisted here for you.

And, then when you’ll have the orders delivered, get back to us and check the given tiding all over again to ensure you’re doing everything right.

We wish you the best of luck in your pursuit to become a tennis pro! And, don’t forget to write back to us when you finally become one.  

Read More: What Does LET Mean in Tennis?

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