Cut to the Chase: How Tennis is played.


Tennis scoring will be recognisable to all familiar with lawn tennis: love, 15; 30; 40; game. The first player to win six games wins the set. It is not necessary to be ahead by two games; the eleventh game is decisive.


Service is made from the court’s ‘service end’, only.

For the service to be correct:
The ball must touch the penthouse on the hazard (receiver’s) end, (it may touch the wall or penthouse at the service end).
The ball must drop to the floor on – or beyond – the hazard end service line.
When serving, one may not stand closer to the net than the 2nd gallery line.

Winning a game does not confer the right to win or keep the serve:
to earn the right to serve, the receiver must make a chase
to retain the right to serve, the server must prevent a chase from being made.

Winning openings: the dedans, grille and winning gallery.

Think of these as you might goals in football or hockey. A ball entering any winning opening is a point-winner for the player at the opposing end.


A chase is called when the ball has bounced twice on the floor without first being intercepted – or when it enters a gallery. Chases may occur at the court’s hazard or service end.

For chases laid on the floor, the location of the second bounce is noted and called for the players to hear, agree and recall; similarly, for gallery chases, the gallery which the ball entered is noted and called. When struck during play, the gallery posts are considered to form part of the gallery nearer the net.

Where one chase has been made, the players change ends at game point (when one player’s score reaches 40); if two chases are made, the players change ends immediately the second chase is laid.

The player now in receipt of serve must strike the ball so that on its second bounce, it falls at least as close to the back wall as the chase being played. The server can elect to keep the ball in play – in which event, the receiver must continue to return the ball to the chase they’re playing – or indeed, closer to the back wall (‘better’ than the chase).

The server wins the point if
The receiver fails to keep the ball in play – e.g. fails to return serve, or strikes the ball ‘out of court’.
The ball enters one of the winning openings on the hazard side: the winning gallery or grille.
The receiver makes a chase ‘worse than’ the one being played.

The receiver wins the point if
He makes a chase which is ‘better than’ the one being played for (i.e., closer to the back wall)
The server makes two consecutive service faults
The server fails to keep the ball in play – e.g. strikes the ball ‘out of court’ or into the net.
The ball enters the dedans

‘Chase off’: when the receiving player lays a chase equal to the one being played for, the point is annulled and the score remains unaltered.



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