In a legal service, the ball travels over the net (without touching it) and into the diagonally opposite service box. If the ball hits the net but lands in the service box, this is a let or net service, which is void, and the server retakes that serve. The player can serve any number of let services in a point and they are always treated as voids and not as faults. A fault is a serve that falls long or wide of the service box, or does not clear the net. There is also a "foot fault", which occurs when a player's foot touches the baseline or an extension of the center mark before the ball is hit. If the second service is also a fault, the server double faults, and the receiver wins the point. However, if the serve is in, it is considered a legal service.
When shopping for a tennis racquet, decide whether you are looking for a pre-strung racquet or an unstrung racquet. Pre-strung tennis racquets are a good choice for most beginner and intermediate players, as they are highly versatile and allow you to focus on the fundamentals without added complexity. Advanced players often prefer an unstrung racquet, which allows them to tailor the string type and tension to their swing and playing style.
Tennis is played by millions of recreational players and is also a popular worldwide spectator sport. The four Grand Slam tournaments (also referred to as the Majors) are especially popular: the Australian Open played on hard courts, the French Open played on red clay courts, Wimbledon played on grass courts, and the US Open also played on hard courts.
In Tennis: A Cultural History, Heiner Gillmeister reveals that on December 8, 1874, British army officer Walter Clopton Wingfield wrote to Harry Gem, commenting that he (Wingfield) had been experimenting with his version of lawn tennis “for a year and a half”.[13] In December 1873, Wingfield designed and patented a game which he called sphairistikè (Greek: σφαιριστική, meaning "ball-playing"), and was soon known simply as "sticky" – for the amusement of guests at a garden party on his friend's estate of Nantclwyd Hall, in Llanelidan, Wales.[14] According to R. D. C. Evans, turfgrass agronomist, "Sports historians all agree that [Wingfield] deserves much of the credit for the development of modern tennis."[8][15] According to Honor Godfrey, museum curator at Wimbledon, Wingfield "popularized this game enormously. He produced a boxed set which included a net, poles, rackets, balls for playing the game – and most importantly you had his rules. He was absolutely terrific at marketing and he sent his game all over the world. He had very good connections with the clergy, the law profession, and the aristocracy and he sent thousands of sets out in the first year or so, in 1874."[16] The world's oldest annual tennis tournament took place at Leamington Lawn Tennis Club in Birmingham in 1874.[17] This was three years before the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club would hold its first championships at Wimbledon, in 1877. The first Championships culminated a significant debate on how to standardize the rules.[16]

The components of a tennis racket include a handle, known as the grip, connected to a neck which joins a roughly elliptical frame that holds a matrix of tightly pulled strings. For the first 100 years of the modern game, rackets were made of wood and of standard size, and strings were of animal gut. Laminated wood construction yielded more strength in rackets used through most of the 20th century until first metal and then composites of carbon graphite, ceramics, and lighter metals such as titanium were introduced. These stronger materials enabled the production of oversized rackets that yielded yet more power. Meanwhile, technology led to the use of synthetic strings that match the feel of gut yet with added durability.
We’ve now covered scoring, the first step to learn as a tennis beginner — let’s move on to understanding the court. A tennis court is 78 feet long by 27 feet wide, and divided in half length-wise by the net. At each end of the court, there are white baselines — here, the serves are taken. These are also the out-of-bounds lines — a ball must not bounce beyond them or it’s out and the player who hit the ball loses a point.
In 2001, the Australian Open replaced the deciding third set of mixed doubles with an eighteen-point "match tiebreak" (first to ten points and win by two points wins the match).[25] Despite some criticism of the change by fans and former pros,[26] the US Open and the French Open have since gone on to join the Australian Open in using the same format for mixed doubles. Wimbledon continues to play a traditional best of three match, requiring an advantage set for the third set.
Hard courts are made of uniform rigid material, often covered with an acrylic surface layer[7] to offer greater consistency of bounce than other outdoor surfaces.[8] Hard courts can vary in speed, though they are faster than clay but not as fast as grass courts. The quantity of sand added to the paint can greatly affect the rate at which the ball slows down.[9]
By 1975, aluminum construction improvements allowed for the introduction of the first American "oversized" racket, which was manufactured by Weed. Prince popularized the oversize racket, which had a head size of approximately 110 square inches (710 cm2). Howard Head was able to obtain a broad patent for Prince, despite the prior art of the Bentley Fortissimo (the first oversize, made in Germany of fiberglass) and the Weed. The patent was rejected by Germany but approved in the USA. The popularity of the Prince aluminum oversize had the side effect of popularizing rackets having other non-standard head sizes such as mid-size 85–90 square inches (550–580 cm2) and mid-plus sizes 95–98 square inches (610–630 cm2). Fairly quickly, midsize frames began to become the most-used frames in the pro tours. Martina Navratilova popularized the midsize graphite racket, with her wins using the Yonex R-7, the first midsize graphite racket made by Yonex. Nearly at the same time, however, she said the "jumbo" rackets (midsize included) should be removed from the sport for making it easier. She said she would use them only because other players could, as they were tournament-legal. Fewer players chose to use oversize rackets, and some switched to midplus frames after their earliest career for more control. Fiberglass frames also had a brief period of limited popularity, making fewer inroads among top players than aluminum. Also, the earliest composites, such as the Head Competition series, used by Arthur Ashe, were made without graphite. These were more flexible than a typical early graphite composite but stiffer than wood, fiberglass, and aluminum.
Mark Beede is a USPTA, PTR, and ATPCA certified tennis coach, manager, and educator. Born and raised in Maine, USA, Beede received his undergraduate degree from Brandeis University and law degree from the University Of Maine School Of Law. After practicing law for sixteen years, Mark changed careers to tennis and moved to Hawaii to work with the USTA–Hawaii Pacific section and the Hawaii Pacific Tennis Foundation. Beede then moved to Istanbul, Turkey, to work as director of coaching education and special projects with Gavin Hopper at his international academy of professional players and elite juniors. Beede has a grown daughter and ... View Profile

The International Tennis Federation has tested the typical ball speed for various court surfaces, and classifies them as slow, medium, or fast. Generally, a hard concrete surface—with no surfacing system applied—provides a fast speed of play. If that's not your preference or you want a more resilient surface to reduce the impact on your joints, an abundance of acrylic color coatings and cushioning systems are on the market that allow you to adapt the court surface to your style of play.
Good Vibrations: Beginners need not apply with this oddly-shaped modern tennis racket. The 98 square-inch head has the same iconic – which is to say strange – shape that Yonex has been pushing for years, yet this one feels much more normal for intermediate and advanced players. The sweet spot is larger than usual, but still smaller than many choices. It’s a bit weighty at 11.5oz but Yonex seems to have used the extra weight to good effect with their Dual Shut System which uses the grommets near the handle to dampen bad vibrations for cleaner hits. It actually seems to come alive the harder you swing so it works well for playing an aggressive defense. While it shines against power hitters, trying to get the top spin to make a really heavy ball just won’t work. [Purchase: $199]
The third and fourth tier of men's tennis tournaments are formed by the ATP World Tour 500 series, consisting of 11 tournaments, and the ATP World Tour 250 series with 40 tournaments.[90] Like the ATP World Tour Masters 1000, these events offer various amounts of prize money and the numbers refer to the amount of ranking points earned by the winner of a tournament.[83] The Dubai Tennis Championships offer the largest financial incentive to players, with total prize money of US$2,313,975 (2012).[91] These series have various draws of 28, 32, 48 and 56 for singles and 16 and 24 for doubles. It is mandatory for leading players to enter at least four 500 events, including at least one after the US Open.
Balls wear out quickly in serious play and, therefore, in ATP and WTA tournaments, they are changed after every nine games with the first change occurring after only seven games, because the first set of balls is also used for the pre-match warm-up.[45] As a courtesy to the receiver, the server will often signal to the receiver before the first serve of the game in which new balls are used as a reminder that they are using new balls. However, in ITF tournaments like Fed Cup, the balls are changed in a 9–11 style. Continuity of the balls' condition is considered part of the game, so if a re-warm-up is required after an extended break in play (usually due to rain), then the re-warm-up is done using a separate set of balls, and use of the match balls is resumed only when play resumes.
If you learn to play tennis, it can be your first step toward a lifetime of fitness and pleasure. And now that we’ve discussed how to learn to play tennis with the basics, you’re ready to get out on the court. There’s no better way to learn to play tennis than with practice; with practice, you’ll not only learn to play tennis, you’ll learn to play tennis well.

By the 1960s, Budge and others had added Pancho Gonzales and Lew Hoad to the list of contenders. Budge reportedly believed that Gonzales was the greatest player ever.[99] Gonzales said about Hoad, "When Lew's game was at its peak nobody could touch him. ... I think his game was the best game ever. Better than mine. He was capable of making more shots than anybody. His two volleys were great. His overhead was enormous. He had the most natural tennis mind with the most natural tennis physique."[100]

Net Worth: The Radical Pro was what was sitting in Andy Murray’s hand when he rocked Wimbeldon, so it damn sure deserves a place in your bag. At 11.5oz it is a nice mid-weight racket, though thanks to the way its balanced it moves like a much lighter piece of equipment. On power swings you are going to notice some sluggishness, but barely enough to make a difference. This is definitely a control players racket with its 98 square-inch head which allows for decent serve speed but sluggers won’t get the crushing power they desire. For smooth operation when making a net play, it works wonders and allows for sniper-level ball placement. For pure power it’s not a winner. [Purchase: $190]
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A serve (or, more formally, a "service") in tennis is a shot to start a point. The serve is initiated by tossing the ball into the air and hitting it (usually near the apex of its trajectory) into the diagonally opposite service box without touching the net. The serve may be hit under- or overhand although underhand serving remains a rarity.[73] If the ball hits the net on the first serve and bounces over into the correct diagonal box then it is called a "let" and the server gets two more additional serves to get it in. There can also be a let if the server serves the ball and the receiver isn't prepared.[74] If the server misses his or her first serve and gets a let on the second serve, then they get one more try to get the serve in the box.
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The drill went like this: He began feeding balls to me, rapidly, 20 or so a minute, to my left, to my right. They arrived close to my body at first, then farther away, then farther and harder. At the moment his racket was about to make contact with the ball, I did my split step, a reaction maneuver that entails hopping in place, spreading my legs shoulderwide and landing on my toes, ready. I stepped toward the net, taking the coming ball out of the air with a volley. Then I backpedaled once more to the T, volleying forehand, then backhand, forehand, backhand, on and on for three, four minutes — an eternity.
Wheelchair tennis can be played by able-bodied players as well as people who require a wheelchair for mobility. An extra bounce is permitted. This rule makes it possible to have mixed wheelchair and able-bodied matches. It is possible for a doubles team to consist of a wheelchair player and an able-bodied player (referred to as "one-up, one-down"), or for a wheelchair player to play against an able-bodied player. In such cases, the extra bounce is permitted for the wheelchair users only.
Baseline Battler: This is top spin guru Rafael Nadal’s racket of choice. It has a very stiff body that allows for better ball feel on each hit and can help improve control for those looking to tighten up their game. Aero is still using their wing shaft design in conjunction with an 11.2oz weight for fast speed both from the back court and for quick exchanges at the net. It has a 100 square-inch head with a nice, big sweet spot which makes is good for players of any experience level. While you’ll be able to move the ball with precision, you can also really flatten it out. Even from deep in the back court you can rack up some fairly vicious speed to cut your opponent off at the knees. [Purchase: $194+]
The Challenger Tour for men is the lowest level of tournament administered by the ATP. It is composed of about 150 events and, as a result, features a more diverse range of countries hosting events.[92] The majority of players use the Challenger Series at the beginning of their career to work their way up the rankings. Andre Agassi, between winning Grand Slam tournaments, plummeted to World No. 141 and used Challenger Series events for match experience and to progress back up the rankings.[93] The Challenger Series offers prize funds of between US$25,000 and US$150,000.

The origins of the 15, 30, and 40 scores are believed to be medieval French. The earliest reference is in a ballad by Charles D'Orleans in 1435 which refers to quarante cinque ("forty-five"), which gave rise to modern 40. In 1522 there is a sentence in Latin "we are winning 30, we are winning 45". The first recorded theories about the origin of 15 were published in 1555 and 1579. However, the origins of this convention remain obscure.[3]
The rules of modern tennis have changed little since the 1890s. Two exceptions are that from 1908 to 1961 the server had to keep one foot on the ground at all times, and the adoption of the tiebreak in the 1970s. A recent addition to professional tennis has been the adoption of electronic review technology coupled with a point-challenge system, which allows a player to contest the line call of a point, a system known as Hawk-Eye.