Introduction To Tennis

By Toby Jackson

Hi there, I’m Tobias and I’m in my second year studying Sport Studies. I belong to the Tennis Committee at the University with my role being Tennis Ambassador, whilst also playing for the First Team. I also work for Active Students (by far the best job you could ever have!) delivering a couple of tennis sessions every week. Currently we offer two tennis sessions a week, a short tennis session (I’ll explain what that is in a minute) every Monday and a regular tennis session every Thursday.

So short tennis… what is it? Short tennis is on a much smaller court to normal. You can actually fit four short tennis courts on to a full size court! For short tennis you would tend to use smaller rackets and sponge balls, yes, SPONGE balls! You’ll feel like you’re back in primary school with your short shorts and black plimsolls however short tennis is becoming ever popular with the adult population due to the excitement of the game. Like normal tennis, you serve overarm and into the diagonal box although, unlike standard tennis you only get one serve as opposed to two, so make sure you don’t miss! If the racquet leaves your hand in order to make a shot, then that shot will still count so long as your racquet does not fly over the net on to your opponents’ side of the court. If once you are disarmed and you have made a shot with your racquet throw, then you may continue that rally with your body parts! Interestingly, grunting is very much recommended to attempt to put your opponent off therefore surely this game would be suited to Maria Sharapova? (her grunt has been recorded at 101 decibels… louder than the M25 during rush hour)

Furthermore, for normal tennis, the following rules apply;

  • You get two attempts to get the ball in play when serving. If the ball goes directly out or hits the net and lands out, the first serve is lost and you have a second serve attempt. If the 2nd serve does not land in play, the receiver gets the point. If either the 1st or 2nd serve hits the net but goes over and lands in the correct service box, it is a “let” and the serve is taken over again.
  • When rallying, in order to get a “point,” the ball can either bounce at least twice in the court, once in the court and once anywhere else (including stationary objects not on the court), or the hitter can hit the ball directly out or into the net and lose the point.
  • No double hitting; one player cannot hit the ball more than once or two doubles partners cannot each hit the ball.

Scoring a match

I am not sure who invented the scoring system in tennis because it has absolutely no logical system therefore it does take a few practices to master it;

40 – “Deuce” if both players have 40
Advantage – If the server scores a point from deuce, the score is Advantage-In. If the receiver scores the point, the score is Advantage-Out. The first player who scores from their advantage wins the point. If the opposite player scores, the score goes back to deuce. Some people play with no-ad scoring where the next point after deuce wins.

Well, that about concludes my explanation of the modern game, I really hope this has inspired you to attend Active Student tennis sessions and learn the game!

See you all soon!