The greatest aspect to the game of tennis is that you need very little to actually get started, just some balls and a racket for hitting them. The racket is the main tool of a tennis player and must adhere to certain standards in order to use it at a professional level. The guidelines include a uniformity of the strings that make up the elliptical frame’s matrix as well as a solid shape to the racket that doesn’t allow for more energy to transfer to the ball other than the energy produced naturally by the player. The rackets used for tennis have changed from wooden ones to metal ones to others in lighter materials as seen today. The shape has remained relatively the same with the grip found on the handle that leads to the elliptical frame where a matrix of strings pulled taut.
The balls used for gameplay have changed dramatically from ones made of scrap cloth to ones of rubber with an outer layer of felt. Their yellow coloring wasn’t introduced until the 20th century since it could be seen better by all compared to the white color originally used. Much like the racket, the tennis ball has to meet certain requirements in order to be used in matches on the amateur and professional circuits.
While there are a number of ways players can enhance their gameplay, the main development for most was the actual tennis shoe, designed specifically for the game with a flat sole and extra bulk in the front to help with wear and tear. Other enhancements include the use of wrist bands to capture sweat and keep a player’s hands dry along with enhancements to the strings or grip of the racket for better control during a match.
The court itself is a rectangular one with the length of 78 feet and a width of 27 feet or 36 feet, depending on the match itself as a single or double one. The court has a number of lines painted across it that delineate the baselines and the service lines where the ball is considered in play or out of bounds. A net is placed in the very center of the court and spreads across from one baseline to the other on the width axis.
With this game, you’ll find that one player is a server while the other is a receiver, playing both defensively and offensively simultaneously. The first serve takes place when the receiver is in position and the server has put the ball into play though the gameplay has now been set by the server as the ball lands for the receiver to send back. The object of the serve is to get the ball to the opposite service area on the other side of the net. If it should miss, it can be considered a fault or a let depending on how the ball has missed its mark. While lets don’t count towards any points, two faults award a point to the receiver who then gets the chance to serve.
The main rules of the game is to hit the ball once it has bounced upon the service area of your side, sending it back over the net to your opponent within one stroke of the racket. A second stroke is considered illegal and puts an end to the play, or rally, awarding the point to the other side. Should the ball hit the ground twice or be struck twice by a racket, the rally is over and the point is awarded to the opposing side and the server sets up once again for a new rally attempt.
The game’s winner is one who reaches four points first while maintaining a two point lead on the opponent. Within a game of tennis, you’ll find the same server will set the pace of the game with the same receiver trying to win over the server. The point system is a peculiar one as the points are called love, fifteen, thirty, and forty for points from zero to three respectively. These points are called out with the server’s score first, such as thirty-love.
Sets take place when the serving is alternated between games with the same players. Sets are won by one with at least six successful games and having two more successful games over one’s opponent. A match is usually a setup of three to five sets played by the same players. The object is to best a player in two or three sets depending on the match’s makeup based on men’s games and women’s games. The four Majors don’t allow for tie-breaks so sets are played until one player has a two set lead over the other, making for a relatively long match between the players.
Game points are called when only one point is needed to win the game. This is also regimented to reflect the type of play that is being completed, such as set point or match point. There is also a break point when it seems like the receiver may win the game, set, or match by a single point compared to the server, who usually has the advantage of the game.
Most games are regulated by an official that sits on one side of the court in a raised chair to better oversee the game. While there are line judges that also assist the umpire upon the raised chair, the power of this position is absolute when calls are made for fouls and other determinations. This umpire even has the right to overrule the other judges if he/she finds a clear fault within the gameplay.