Glossary, A Few Facts, Figures and Other Things.


  • Ace: a serve delivered but not returned by the opponent
  • Advantage: one player wins the point after deuce, and is one point away from winning the game. If the player with advantage looses, the game goes back to deuce.
  • Advantage side: the side of the court on the left hand side when facing the net.
  • Alley: the long, narrow area 1.37 metres (4 ft 6 in) wide, between the single line and the double line.
  • Baseline: the line on the court parallel to and furthest from the net, marking the out of bounds. It is the line from which serves are hit.
  • Centre mark: the small mark half way along the baseline, dividing the court into deuce side and advantage side. It is typically the place from which a player will serve.
  • Cross court: when the ball travels from one corner of the court to the other, from one deuce side to the other, or from one advantage side to the other
  • Deuce: when the score is tied at 40-40. Whichever player wins the point then has advantage
  • Deuce side: the side of the court on the right hand side when facing the net. It is the side that the first serve is delivered from.
  • Double fault: when a player hits two serves in a row which are either out or hit the net.
  • Double line: the line on the far right or left of the court, only used when playing doubles
  • Doubles court: the wider court marked by white lines, measuring 10.97 metres (36ft). It includes the singles court and the alley.
  • Down the line: the ball is hit from the corner of the court, parallel to the side line
  • Drop shot: a shot that is placed close to the net on the opponent's side. It is used to draw the player closer to the net and therefore in a disadvantageous position
  • Fault: when a player hits the serve out or into the net
  • Foot fault: in a serve, when the player's foot touches the baseline before making contact with the ball.
  • In: when a ball lands within the bounds of the court. If the ball lands on the line, it is considered in. In most games, it is the responsibility of the one who receives the ball to call a shot in or out.
  • Let: when a serve touches the net but lands on your opponents side in the service box. The serve is re-done but not counted as a fault. There is no limit to how many lets a player is allowed.
  • Match: when a player wins either two out of three or three out of five sets.
  • Match point: when a player is one point away from winning the match
  • Net: when a serve touches the net but lands out of play. It is counted as a fault
  • Rally: any play that lasts more than two shots.
  • Service box: the area of the court closest to the net, marked by the white lines. This is the area, or box, in which the serve must land in order to be considered “in”.
  • Service line: the line approximately half way down the court, parallel to the net, making up one edge of the service box
  • Set: a player must win six games in order to win the set. The set also must be won by two games. For example, a player can win the set after winning six games and the opponent has won two games. The score would be 6-2. However, if two players have tied at five games each, one player must either seven games. If the set is tied at games each, the play goes to a tie-breaker.
  • Set point: similar to a match point, the player is one point away from winning the set.
  • Singles court: the narrower court marked by white lines, measuring 8.23 metres (27 ft) wide.
  • Tie break: when who players have tied at 6-6, the match then goes to tiebreak. The scoring system changes to one point per win, until a player either reaches 7 points or a win by 2. Whoever wins the tie break wins the set.
  • Volley: a stroke that is typically done close to the net with no bounce on your side. It is a very fast return designed to make it difficult for your opponent to return. A volley can be delivered with with forehand or backhand stroke.

Equipment, Courts and Scoring


  • Tennis racquets used to be made of wood, but now are constructed out of fibreglass, titanium or carbon-composites. The strings are usually made of polyester. Most racquets need to be re-strung a couple of times a year depending on how much tennis is played. Re-stringing usually costs around $20. Most beginner racquets cost around $40, but a good intermediate racquet runs about $250. Children's racquets are smaller, and usually cost around $25.
  • Tennis players should also have a good pair of shoes designed for tennis.
  • Wheelchairs for tennis are not the same as a regular wheelchair. The wheels are angled either 16 or 20 degrees to provide more stability and easier to turn. There is also a stabilizing wheel extended from the back of the chair to prevent the chair from tipping.


  • Tennis is usually played on what is called a hard court, similar to asphalt and covered with either paint or a synthetic coating. Tennis can also be played on clay courts, which is a solid base covered with crushed clay particles. The court does not allow as much bounce from the ball, but the players can slide to reach a shot. Tennis can also be played on grass, which is cut extremely short, like a golf green. This tends to be a slower game than clay.
  • Wheelchair tennis is also played on all the above surfaces and follows the same rules as able bodied tennis, except that two bounces are allowed before the ball is hit, with the first bounce required to be in the permissible court area (depending on singles or doubles).
  • The dimensions of the court for singles is 27 ft by 78 ft. For doubles, the dimensions are 36 ft by 78 ft. The height of the net is 42 inches at the post, and 36 inches at the centre.


If a ball hits a player, the point is lost and goes to the opponent.

Scoring in tennis can be a bit confusing. But here is an example of a typical game, played by Player A and Player B. Player A is serving. The player switch sides of the court after each point has been won.
They will switch sides of the court after the first game, and then after every other game after that.

  • Player A serves and wins the point
    Score: Player A has 15, Player B is “love”.
  • Player A serves and wins the point.
    Score: Player A has 30, Player B is “love”.
  • Player A serves and loose the point.
    Score: Player A has 30, Player B has 15.
  • Player A serves and wins the point
    Score: Player A has 40, Player B has 15
  • Player A serves and looses the point
    Score: Player A has 40 and Player B has 30
  • Player A serves and wins the point. Player A wins the game.