Tennis Serve Rules: How to Ace Your Serve Every Time

Tennis is a very popular Olympic sport worldwide, especially in western countries. Basically, it’s a racket sport that is played with a tennis racket and a hollow rubber ball. This can be played individually against one player or between two teams of double players. One player should serve the ball to the opponent’s court first to start the game. The opponent player has to return the ball to the server. When one player misses the ball to return, the opponent player will gain the point.

Many historians believe that the game was originated in northern France many years ago. Then the name of the game was “jeu de paume” or “game of the palm”. Around the 16th century, the racket came into use and the sport started to be called “tennis”.

Modern tennis has so many rules and regulations that inexperienced players may be confused. This content will be helpful to them. In this article, they will learn about tennis serve rules and about how to play tennis as well.

What Is A Serve

In tennis, the term “serve” means a shot to start a point. A player releases and hits the ball with a racket so that it will fall into the diagonally counter service court without being stopped by the mesh or anything else. A player can take time to set up his mind only on serve. Now there is a 25-second limitation between points. The player, who serves the ball,is called a server and the opponent player, who receives the ball, is called a receiver. Serving is always an advantage for the players. It is one of the most difficult shots for a beginner. On the other hand, an experienced player can hit the serve in different ways that enhance the possibility of winning the point. It’s like an offensive weapon for the skilled players. Therefore, you must know the tennis serve rules to use the weapon accurately.

Types Of Serve

Before knowing the rules of serving, you must know about the types of service strategy. This will help you to understand the rules well. There are four commonly used serves in the tennis game. They are the-

  1. Flat serve
  2. Slice serve
  3. Kick serve
  4. Underhand serve.

Here is a little explanation of each type given below-

Flat Serve: Flat serve means shot with a continental grip and a swing path usually straight through the ball. Flat serve is usually hit across the lowest center of the net so that the ball can pass easily without touching the net. Normally, the flat serve is used as the first serve because of its high accuracy chance.

Slice Serve: Hit with side spin and drive the ball toward the dominant side with the racket is called slice serve. Slice serve results bouncing and curving of the ball counter to the dominant side.

Kick Serve: Tossing the ball over the head and hit it parallel on the opposite of the server’s dominant side is called the kick or topspin serve. This is also known as American twist serve. Kick serves are normally applied as both first and second serve.

Underhand Serve: An underhand serve is a shot below the shoulder level. The underhand serve is usually used in children’s tennis. Although it’s legal, adults don’t use this serve normally.

Rules Of Serving

A serve plays an important role in the game of tennis. Therefore, the players must know the tennis serve rules. The rules are different for individual and team games.

Rules For An Individual Game

When two individual players play the tennis game, the first server is selected by a toss. The winning player gets the opportunity of serving first.

On the second game, the player who received the first serve hits the tennis ball.

This cycle continues until the end of the set.

Rules For A Team Game

When two teams play the tennis game, (two players each team) the first serve on the first game is decided by a toss. One player of the winning team hit the serve.

For the second game, one player of the opposite team takes the shot.

The second player of the first team hits the third serve of the third game.

Likewise, the second player of the second team plays the fourth service shot.

Results Of Serve In Tennis

Tennis serve rules are essential to know for better results. An effort at a serve may result in one of the following consequences:


A good serve happens when a legally pitched ball lands in the opposite cross-court service box without being stopped by anything. Well, a good serve is influenced by some additional things. such as-

  1. Tennis court:Tennis court is an important element for a good serve. There is a difference between clay and grass tennis court. The ball moves faster on a grass court whereas a clay court slows down the ball. Therefore, a grass court is more helpful for a good serve. Different types of courts require different types of tennis shoes. If you are playing on a clay court, put on clay court tennis shoes for a better shot with great comfort.
  2. Tennis Racket:Tennis racket also plays an important role in the game. Use the best tennis rackets for a good serve.


When a legally delivered ball lands on the correct court being touched by the net or any other object, it is called a let. The server is allowed to serve again if a let occurs.


There are multiple reasons to declare a serve as a fault.

  • The most common fault is a foot fault. If the server’s feet touch the baseline or sideline or the extension of the center line, it will be a fault. Players with flat feet often face foot faults than the others. They should put on tennis shoes for flat feet to avoid unexpected foot faults.
  • The first player, who are going to serve the ball, must release the ball from one hand. Releasing the ball with the racket is illegal and of course a fault.
  • If the server releases the ball and then miss the shot, it will be a fault.
  • When the ball hits an object before bouncing and then land on the correct court, it will count as a fault.
  • If the ball fails to bounce above the net.

After a single fault, the game stops immediately and the server gets a chance to serve again. Nevertheless, if there has been a double fault, the point will be awarded to the receiver. To avoid faults, you must have an idea of tennis serve rules.

To Sum Up

Tennis is a game of strategy where serve is considered as an advantage. Thus, tennis serve rules help the players to build up their strategy and enhance the chance of victory.

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