Mens' & Womens' Tennis Rules


Server and Receiver

The players stand on opposite sides of the net; the player who first delivers the ball is called the Server and the other is the receiver.

Choice of Sides and Service

Home and Visitor teams will be assigned prior to match play. The Home team serves first in all doubles sets. The visiting team gets to choose the side for receiving. In the singles sets, the visiting team serves first and the home team chooses the side of court for receiving.

Delivery of Service

The service is delivered in the following manner. Immediately before commencing to serve, the server shall stand with both feet at rest behind the baseline and within the imaginary continuations of the center mark and the sideline. S/he shall not serve until the Receiver is ready. The server then throws the ball into the air in any direction and strikes it with his/her racket before it hits the ground. Delivery is deemed complete at the moment the racket strikes the ball.

Return of Service

The receiver may stand wherever s/he pleases his/her own side of the net. However, s/he must allow the ball to hit the ground in the service court before returning it. If the receiver attempts to return the service, s/he shall be deemed ready.

Service for the Alternate Courts

In delivering the service, the server stands alternately behind the right and left courts, beginning from the right in every game. The ball served shall pass over the net and hit the ground within the service court that is diagonally opposite, or upon any line bounding such court, before the resulting play stands, but service from the proper court, in accordance with the score, shall be resumed immediately after this discovery.


The service is a fault if the server misses the ball attempting to serve it, if the ball does not and in the proper service court, or if the ball served touches a permanent fixture other than the net, strap or band before it hits the ground. Throughout the delivery of the service, the server shall not change his/her position by walking or running. A foot fault is called when the server touches the baseline or the imaginary continuation of either the sideline or the center line while s/he is in the process of serving. However, having his/her foot in the air over one of these lines is not a fault.

Service after a Fault

After a fault (if it is the first fault) the server serves again from behind the same half of the court from which s/he just served. If the service was a fault because it was served from the wrong side, the server is entitled to deliver one service from the proper side of the court.


A Service Let

During the service, the ball that touches the net but lands in the proper court is termed a let and counts for nothing. The service is then replayed without penalty. There is no limit to the number of let balls that may be made on the service. The server continues serving until a good service is delivered or two faults have been made.

Receiver becomes Server

At the end of the first game, the receiver becomes the server and vice versa, and so on alternately in all the subsequent games of the match. The players change ends at the end of every four games. If a player serves out of turn, the player who ought to have served shall serve as soon as the mistake is discovered. All scored points before such a discovery shall stand. If a game has been completed before such a discovery, the order of service remains as altered.

Server Wins Point

The server wins the point if the ball served, not being a let, touches the receiver or anything which s/he wears or carries before it hits the ground, or if the receiver otherwise loses the point as described below.

Receiver Wins Point

The receiver wins the point if the server serves two consecutive faults, or otherwise loses the point as described below.

Player Loses a Point

A player loses a point if:

1. s/he fails to return the ball directly over the net before it has hit the ground twice consecutively

2. s/he returns the ball in play so that it hits the ground, a permanent fixture (other than the net, posts or single sticks, cord or metal cable, strap or band) or other object outside any of the lines which bound his/her opponents court

3. s/he volleys the ball and fails to make a good return even when standing outside the court

4. s/he deliberately touches it with his/her racket more than once or deliberately caries or catches the ball in play on his/her racket

5. s/he or his/her racket touches the net, post or ground within his/her opponentās court at any time while the ball is in play

6. s/he volleys the ball before it has passed the net

7. the ball in play touches him/her or anything the s/he wears or carries other than the racket in his/her hand

8. s/he throws his/her racket at and hits the ball

9. s/he deliberately and materially changes the shape of his/her racket during play of the point

10. s/he deliberately commits and act which hinders his/her opponent in making a stroke


A Good Return

It is a good return if:

1. the ball touches the net, posts, singles sticks, cord or metal cable, strap or band provided that it passes over any of them and hits the ground within the court

2. the ball served or returned, hits the ground within the proper court and rebounds or is blown back over the net, and the player whose turn it is to strike reaches over the net and plays the ball, provided that neither s/he nor any part of his/her clothing or racket touches the net, post, etc. or the ground within his/her opponentās court, and that the stroke is otherwise good

3. the ball is returned outside the posts or singles sticks provided that it hits the ground within the proper court

4. a playerās racket passes over the net after s/he has returned the ball, provided that the ball passes the net before being played and is properly returned

5. a player succeeds in returning the ball, served or in play which strikes another ball lying in the court

6. the ball touches any other permanent fixture after it hit the ground within the proper court

Ball Falling on Line-Good

A ball falling on a line is regarded as falling in the court bounded by that line.

A Let

In all cases where a let (other than a service let) has to be called under the rules, or to provide for an interruption in play, the point shall be replayed. If a player is hindered in making a stroke by anything not within his/her control, except a permanent fixture or deliberate interference by his/her opponent, a let shall be called.


A player may receive coaching during the playing of any match as long as it does not interfere with continuous play.


No substitution is allowed during intramural competition. Game will be forfeited if a player can not, or chooses not to continue. Games under protest will be investigated and a determination of completion will be made by the Intramural director.

Warm-up Time

All players are allowed a 5-minute warm-up. Once play has begun, a 3-minute warm-up is allowed between sets.



A Game

If a player wins his/her point, the score is called 15 of that player. The second point is called 30, the third is called 40, and the fourth point is deemed Game. NO ADVANTAGE is played in Intramural competition. Therefore when the score is 30-30, the receiving team chooses which side to receive the serve. The winner of that serve will win the game.

A Set

A player who first wins six games wins the set. If the players are tied at 5 games a piece, a nine point tiebreaker will be played to determine the winner of the set.

The 9-point Tiebreaker

The person who is to serve begins the tiebreaker. Each player serves 2 points in succession starting from the deuce court. Players change sides every 4 points. First team to score 5 points wins the tiebreaker. If the tiebreaker reaches 4-4, the person who served the eighth point serves the ninth and final point. The receiver has the choice of sides to receive the serve. The winner of the ninth point is the winner of the set. Numerical scoring is used throughout the tiebreak, and you do not have to win by 2 points.




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