Rules - Frequently Asked Questions


  • Please explain how in game scoring 15 - 30 - 40 came from.

In the fifteenth century in Old French une journee meant "a sport match", as well as "a day", and the scoring system was based on the number of hours in a day, and the number of minutes in an hour. Each match consisted of 24 games, which in turn consisted of four winning rallies worth 15 points each. However, it was soon realized that when both sides were at 45 points each, it would be necessary to win two rallies as otherwise the game might be decided on luck. But the total would exceed 60 points and therefore also the number of minutes in an hour, so the score was changed to 40-all with 10 points being given for each winning rally. If there was a tie at 50 points all, the score would go back to 40-all. The game could only be won by winning two rallies in a row. It was the same with the game score. At 23 games all, it was necessary to win two games in a row, or the score would be lowered to 22-all. As matches became too long, the number of games played was lowered to 12 and later to 6.

  • What happens if a service is made from the wrong half of the court?

All play resulting from the service will stand, but the moment the error is spotted the correct serving point should be taken up before the next service.

  • If I notice my opponent served from wrong half of the court on his first service and it was a fault, does he have to complete the service from that half of the court?

He should move to the correct half of the court immediately, but has only one service left on that point.

  • If my opponent serves and then I realize it is my turn to serve what happens?

The fault should be rectified immediately, but all points scored before the error was noticed shall count. However, if the error is noted after your opponent has served a fault, the fault does not carry over to you when you become the server.

  • What about doubles? Surely it must happen often that the wrong player serves? What happens then?

Well, it doesn't happen at the top level, but it does happen in the local park. Once the error is discovered the correct sequence should be reverted to and all points scored during the error shall count. The same applies if the receivers take the service in the wrong order.

  • If players go to the wrong ends after changing service when should the error be rectified?

As soon as it is noticed. All points scored up to that time shall count however.

  • During an indoor game, the ball from a service hits a rafter and then bounces into the correct service court. Is the service good or not?

It would be a fault. Any ball that hits a permanent fixture from the service is a fault. Permanent fixtures include such things as stands, permanent seating and their occupants ... which could well be a judge!

  • If the server throws the ball up and then fails to hit it, is it a fault?

Yes. Just like in golf, it is a 'fresh air' shot, and counts.

  • If the server decides to abort the serve after throwing the ball up, is it a fault?


  • Is a let called if the ball hits the top of the net and goes into the correct court during a normal rally?

No. If can only be called a let at the service.

  • Can I catch the ball on my racket?

Yes, you most probably can. But if you do the point goes to your opponent!

  • What happens if a ball becomes damaged during a rally?

A let should be called and the point should be replayed.

  • If I play a shot then deliberately hit my racket on to the ground and distort the shape of it before returning the ball for a winning shot do I still get the point?

No. You are not allowed to deliberately and materially change the shape of your racket during the playing of a point. Mind you, if you have time to damage your racket, and then play a winning shot you must be some player ...

  • What happens if my racket becomes damaged during a rally?

You will have to wait until the end of the point to change it.

  • If I play a shot that hits the ground within the confines of the court and then hits the stop-netting at the back of the court before my opponent can reach it, is it a winning point?

Yes. The same applies if the ball hits any other permanent fixture, provided you hit a good ball into the opposing court first.

  • If I return a ball and it hits the net post and then does into the opposing court, does it count or is a let called?

It counts as a legitimate point.

  • What would happen if my opponent played a shot, it bounced in my half of the court and then the wind took it back over to his side of the net?

You would be allowed to play the ball provided you did not touch the net with your body, clothing or racket.

  • What happens if my racket accidentally slips out of my hand and hits the net, do I lose the point?

Yes, provided the ball is in play at the time. Mind you, you were warned to take some talcum powder on to the court with you weren't you?

  • Does a player have to be standing in the court to make a shot?

No. He can be anywhere, except in his opponent's area of the court.

  • If I play a volley close to the net, hit the ball in my half of the court, but then allow my racket to follow-through and go over the net, am I penalized?

No, but again you must make sure you don't touch the net.

  • Does a ball that hits another ball lying on the court have to be played as a let?

No, the shot counts. Mind you, if it happened at Wimbledon the umpire would certainly have a few choice words to say to the ball-boy!

  • If I am hindered from playing my shot is a let called?

Yes, unless you are hindered by a permanent fixture. Let's say a pigeon flies across your sight just as you're about to play, that is certainly outside interference.

  • What exactly are 'permanent fixtures'?

The laws of the game describe a permanent fixture thus: 'The net, posts, singles sticks, cord or metal cables, strap and band. Also, where there are any: the back and side stops, the stands, fixed or movable seats and chairs around the court, and their occupants, all other fixtures above and around the court, and the umpire, net-cord judge, foot-fault judge, linesmen and ball-boys (or girls) when in their respective places.'

  • Can the server's feet be off the ground at the time of the service?

Yes, but at the moment of striking the ball his foot (or feet) must not touch the baseline or court the other side of the baseline.

  • Where does the receiver have to stand when taking the service?

Anywhere, provided it is in his own half of the court. How close you stand to the net depends on the strength of your opponent's serve.

  • How is the 1.5 minute break in between games timed?

The time is taken from the moment the ball goes out of play at the end of the game to the time the ball is struck for the first point of the next game.

  • Is there a time limit on the amount of time a server can take in between the end of one point and serving to start the next?

In major international events this is normally 30 seconds.

  • How often are the balls changed during the tie-break game?

Not at all. The tie-break game is counted as one game for the purpose of the ball change. If the balls, however, are due to be changed at the beginning of the tie-break, the change is delayed until it is completed




Copyright © Tennis Logan City Association Inc Last Updated 23/10/2019