When you are playing a tennis match, your main aim is to win as many points as possible, but, if you are new to the game, you may not be aware of all of the ways in which this can be done. In this article, we will look at all the ways players can win tennis points.
There are 5 five ways of winning points: winners, double-bounces, errors by the opponent at the net, errors from the opponent where they hit the ball outside the court markings, and double-faults. Each of these ways gives the player one point.
How To Score Points In Tennis
In simple terms, tennis is a game, played on a court split in two by a net, in which your job is to hit the ball, using your racket, over the net, and make it land in the half of the court situated on the other side. Your opponent(s) will be standing on the other side of the net, and they need to hit the ball back over the net onto your half of the court. When one of you fails to do this, they lose the point. There are a number of rules which add a bit of detail to this, such as:
- The ball is only allowed to bounce at most once before you hit it back over the net. Unless you are returning a serve, you are allowed to hit the ball before it bounces if you prefer.
- Each point begins with a serve, for which the player needs to stand behind the baseline and hit the ball into a specifically marked box diagonally opposite, on the other side of the net. This must be returned after one bounce.
- If a player fails to hit their serve over the net into the correct box at the first attempt, they are allowed a second serve without penalty.
- All shots must land in the marked court area on their first bounce, unless an opponent volleys them before they land.
In general, if a player fails to fulfill any of the requirements of the rules, they lose the point.
These are the most satisfying way of winning a point. A player is said to hit a ‘winner’ when they hit the ball into their opponent’s half of the court, and their opponent does not manage to hit it before it bounces for the second time. A winner can come from a well-placed serve, a groundstroke or a volley. Some shots are winners because they are hit hard, beyond the reach of the opponent.
On other occasions, an opponent can be surprised by a ‘touch’ shot such as a drop-shot, and this can become a winner. Certain players are more aggressive and take more chances than others, and these players are likely to score more points with winners, but equally they may lose points due to mistakes more frequently than some.
As explained earlier, the ball is only allowed to bounce at most once on your side of the net before you must return it. If a ball drops gently into the part of the court close to the net, perhaps due to a drop shot or a poor strike, you will need to race in quickly in order to hit it before it bounces for a second time. If you fail to do so, you lose the point.
Often, it is difficult to determine whether someone managed to hit the ball just before it bounced or just after, even for the player in question. If a match is umpired, the decision is taken by them, but, if there is no umpire, the player hitting the ball is responsible for calling double bounces. They will often be unsure, and will not be keen to concede the point if there may not have been a double bounce, so this can lead to arguments.
Opponent’s Error At The Net
During some rallies, one player will move forward to an area of the court close to the net. They will be aiming to volley the ball (hit it before it bounces) in order to rush their opponent and either hit a winner or force an error. If they have chosen a good moment to make this move, and their volleying technique is sound, they may well hit a winner or force an error from their opponent.
However, if their opponent hits a shot that challenges their volleying technique a little too much, they may well make an error themselves, either striking the ball into the net or beyond the court boundaries. By failing to hit the ball over the net and into the court they will lose the point. In general, any shot, wherever in the court it is played from, which fails to go over the net will result in a point being lost.
Opponent’s Error Outside Court Boundaries
The court is clearly marked with lines that apply during rallies and boxes which mark the area into which players must serve. If your opponent hits a shot that lands outside the relevant markings, you win the point.
If two successive serves fail to find the target area (the diagonally opposite service box), the point is lost. This is called a ‘double fault’.
There are many ways in which a point can be won or lost. It is important to know the rules so that you know where you stand in the event of a dispute.