Tennis is a sport usually played between two players (singles) or between two teams of two players each (doubles). Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent’s court. Tennis is played on a rectangular, flat surface, usually grass, clay, or a hard‐court of concrete and/or asphalt.

DOWNLOAD THE PDF: Rules of Tennis

1. The Alberta 55 Plus Games and all sanctioned ALBERTA 55 PLUS events will follow Tennis Canada’s “Rules of the Court”. These rules can be obtained by searching www.tenniscanada.com or by contacting:

Tennis Canada
Rexall Centre
1 Shoreham Drive
Toronto, ON M3N 1S4
Ph: (416) 665-9777
Fax: (416) 665-6480
Toll Free: (800) 263-9039

2. AGE GROUPS/EVENTS

Age groups, events, tournament format, and competition procedures (including tiebreak guidelines) for an Alberta 55 Plus Games are specified in the current Activity Information Book.

3. General Overview

The object of the game is to hit the ball over the net, but inside the court lines, until one of the players misses the ball. The ball may bounce no more than once on each side of the net. If the ball touches any part of the line it is considered good. If, while during play, the ball hits the top of the net and carries over into the opponent’s court, the play continues. When tennis is played between 2 people, one on each side of the net, it is called “singles”. When it is played among 4 people, it is called “doubles”.

4. The court

a) The singles court shall be a rectangle 78 feet (23.77m) long and 27 feet (8.23m) wide.

b) The height of the net shall be 3 feet (.914m) at the center

c) The lines bounding the ends and sides of the court shall respectively be called the base-lines and the side-lines. On each side of the net, at a distance of 21 feet (6.40m) from it and parallel with it, shall be drawn the service-lines.

d) For the doubles game, the court shall be 36 feet (10.97m) in width, i.e. 4. feet (1.37m) wider on each side than the court for the singles game, and those portions of the singles side-lines, which lie between the two service-lines, shall be called the service side-lines. In other respects, the court shall be similar.

5. The ball

a) Balls that are approved for play under the rules of tennis. The ball shall have a uniform outer surface consisting of a fabric cover and shall be white or yellow in colour. See ITF rules for weight, bounce, deformation, etc.

6. The racket

a) Rackets must comply with the specifications outlined under the rules of tennis.

7. Order of play

a) The choice of ends and the right to be server or receiver in the first game shall be decided by coin toss. The player winning the toss may choose or require his opponent to choose:

i) the right to be server or receiver, in which case the other player shall choose the end; or

ii) the end, in which case the other player shall choose the right to be server or receiver.

b) At the end of the first game the receiver shall become server, and the server receiver; and so on alternately in all the subsequent games of a match.

c) The players shall change ends at the end of the first, third and every subsequent alternate game of each set, and at the end of each set unless the total number of games in such set is even, in which case the change is not made until the end of the first game of the next set.

8. The let

a) In all cases where a let has to be called under the rules, or to provide for an interruption to play, it shall have the following interpretations:

i) when called solely in respective of a service that one service only shall be replayed.

ii) when called under any other circumstance, the point shall be replayed.

b) The service is a “let”:

i) If the ball served touches the net, strap or band, and is otherwise good, or, after touching the net, strap or band, touches the receiver or anything which he wears or carries before hitting the ground.

ii) If a service or a fault is delivered when the receiver is not ready. In case of a let, that particular service shall not count, and the server shall serve again, but a service let does not annul a previous fault.

9. Scoring

a) The Server wins point:

i) If the ball served, not being a let, touches the receiver or anything which he wears or carries, before it hits the ground;

ii) If the receiver otherwise loses the point.

b) The Receiver wins point:

i) If the server serves two consecutive faults;

ii) If the server otherwise loses the point.

c) A Player loses point if:

i) He fails, before the ball in play has hit the ground twice consecutively, to return it directly over the net; or

ii) He returns the ball in play so that it hits the ground, a permanent fixture, or other object, outside any of the lines which bounds his opponent’s court; or

iii) He volleys the ball and fails to make a good return even when standing outside the court: or

iv) In playing the ball he deliberately carries or catches it on his racket or deliberately touches it with his racket more than once; or

v) He or his racket (in his hand or otherwise) or anything which he wears or carries touches the net, posts, singles sticks, cord or metal cable, strap or band, or the ground within his opponent’s court at any time while the ball is in play; or

vi) He volleys the ball before it has passed the net; or

vii) The ball in play touches him or anything that he wears or carries, except his racket in his hand or hands; or

viii) The ball in play touches the racket when the player is not touching it (i.e. throws the racket); or

ix) He deliberately and materially changes the shape of his racket during the playing of the point; or

x) In doubles, both players touch the ball when returning it.

10. Score in a game

Singles

a) The game starts at “Love”, which is another way of saying “zero” or “no score” for either player. If a player wins his first point, the score is called 15 for that player; on winning his second point, the score is called 30 for that player; on winning his third point, the score is called 40 for that player, and the fourth point won by a player is scored game for that player except as below:

i) If both players have won three points, the score is called “Deuce”; and the next point won by a player is scored “Advantage” for that player. If the same player wins the next point, he wins the game; if the other player wins the next point the score is again called “Deuce”; and so on, until a player wins the two points immediately following the score at “Deuce”, when the game is scored for that player.

Doubles

b) In doubles a similar procedure to that for singles shall apply. At “Deuce” the receiving team shall choose whether it wishes to receive the service from the right-half of the court or the left-half of the court. The team who wins the deciding point is scored the game.

11. Score in a set

a) The player (or players) who first win six games wins a set; except that he must win by a margin of two games over his opponent. If the score reaches six games all, a tie-break game shall be played.

12. Maximum number of sets

a) The maximum number of sets in a match shall be 3.

b) The winner of 2 sets in a 3-set match, wins the match.

13. The doubles game

The above rules shall apply to the doubles game except as below.

a) Order of service in doubles:

The order of serving shall be decided at the beginning of each set as follows:

The pair that has to serve in the first game of each set shall decide which partner shall do so and the opposing pair shall decide similarly for the second game. The partner of the player who served in the first game shall serve in the third; the partner of the player who served in the second game shall serve in the fourth, and so on in the same order in all the subsequent games of a set.

b) Order of receiving in doubles:

The order of receiving the service shall be decided at the beginning of each set as follows:

The pair who have to receive the service in the first game shall decide which partner shall receive the first service, and that partner shall continue to receive the first service in every odd game throughout that set. The opposing pair shall likewise decide which partner shall receive the first service in the second game and that partner shall continue to receive the first service in every even game throughout that set. Partners shall receive the service alternately throughout each game.

c) Playing the ball in doubles:

The ball shall be struck alternately by one or other player of the opposing pairs, and if a player touches the ball in play with his racket in contravention of this rule, his opponents win the point.

14. Alternative Scoring

A “Pro-set” match has been developed as an alternative method of scoring in a Tennis match. A Pro-set eliminates the game-set-match scenario and replaces it with a set number of games to win the match. For example, a match may be determined by the 1st player to reach 8 games. If the players reach a 7 – 7 tie, a tie-breaker would be necessary.

Depending on numbers entered in each event, the following formats may be used for round robin play:

Women’s Events: best of three sets with a tie-break game to be played if any set reaches 6-6.

Men’s Events: best of three sets with a tie break game to be played if any set reaches 6-6.

Note: “No-ad” play may be stipulated (i.e. if deuce score is reached, winner of next point wins game).

OR

Women’s and Men’s Events: play Pro-sets (a pro-set is the first to win 8 games, with the “ad” and a tie-breaker at 7-7 if necessary).

At the Provincial Games, the format will be determined by the Activity Chair and Provincial Advisor, and may differ for each event, depending on numbers of players in that event.

15. Breaking a tie in a round robin tournament

At Area and Zone playoffs: a complete round robin shall be played, if possible. If time or facility does not allow this, a modified round robin shall be played. When round robin completed, calculate total Win/Loss points to determine winner. (A win shall count two (2) points; a loss shall count zero (0) points.) Team with most Win/Loss points is declared winner.

At Playoffs: after round robin, if a two-way tie occurs among those in the top three ranking positions, a further match to break the tie shall be played, if possible. If time does not permit, or if more than two teams tied, utilize procedures outlined below for more than two teams tied at Provincial Games.

At the Provincial Games: a complete round robin shall be played. When round robin completed, calculate total Win/Loss points to determine winner. (A win shall count two (2) points; a loss shall count zero (0) points.). Team with most Win/Loss points is declared winner. Please note the following information for breaking a tie between teams:

If after the round robin, two teams are tied among those eligible for medals, a further match to break the tie shall be played, if possible.

If time does not permit, or more than two teams are tied among those eligible for medals, utilize the tie-breaking procedures below.

1) Head to head results (matches won minus matches lost) amongst those tied.

2) If three-way tie still exists, go to sets won minus sets lost amongst those tied.

3) If three-way tie still exists, go to games won minus games lost amongst those tied.

** If a two-way tie occurs at any stage of this procedure, a further match to break the tie shall be played.

Note: Whenever it is necessary to play a match to break a tie, a best of 7 game match will be played. First to win 4 games wins the match.

Note: If full round robin is utilized, a ‘medal round’ will not be played to determine winners. Winners will be determined by Win/Loss points as outlined above.