Discover tennis: an introduction to the essential rules

Tennis is a racket sport played in singles (1 vs. 1) or doubles (2 vs. 2), and it's often the French who fail to make an impression! A match takes place on a tennis court.

The rules

To perform well in a match, nothing could be simpler: put the ball in the opponent's court. On the first shot (the serve), the player must hit
the rectangle closest to the net in the opponent's court, in a cross-court pattern. The other player must then shoot into the other part of the court, and so on

If a player taps into the net or outside the court, the ball is considered a foul. Ask Benoît Paire, he's the specialist.

A game

Conversely, if the ball bounces twice into the opponent's court or touches the other side of the court without the opponent being able to recover it, it's a winning shot.

If I score one point, I lead 15/0, if I score two I'll lead 30/0, then 40/0. So to validate a game, I need to score 4 points, unless my opponent and I are tied at 40/40.

In this case, the player who scores has the advantage: 40/A. If he notices a point, I validate the advantage and conclude the game. On the other hand, if the other player scores, the score falls back to 40/40. This continues until a player validates his advantage. In this case, the spectator makes the most of his seat, because the game takes longer, and time is money.

A set

After winning six games, I win a set. If both players have won five games each, we'll need to win seven.

This can therefore end with a score of 7-5 or 7-6. In the latter case, the players face off in a tie-break. This set is decisive: one player must score seven points to win the set. As in ping-pong, this game must be won by two points if both players are at 6-6. If a player wins a set 6-0, it's called a bubble.

Game, set and match!

To win the match, you need to win two sets. In the Grand Slam tournaments, the rule is different: you have to win three sets. This applies to the Australian Open, Rolland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open.

Types of blows

In tennis, two strokes are an integral part of the discipline: the forehand and the backhand. A forehand is when you hit the ball from the side of your strong hand, if you have one. Conversely, a backhand is when you hit the ball from the side of your weaker hand. It's better to use two hands in this case, as spectators will appreciate.

Tournament schedule

Players can take part in qualifying rounds prior to each tournament. Most tournaments take place over two weeks. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd rounds and the round of 16 take place in the first, while the quarters, semi-finals and final are played in the second.

Court surface

Depending on the tournament, matches can be played on different surfaces. Rolland Garros is renowned for its clay courts, while Wimbledon is played on grass. The Australian Open and US Open have opted for a hard surface.

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