Tennis: Who Serves? A Comprehensive Guide


Greetings, readers! Welcome to this in-depth exploration of the intriguing world of tennis, where we’ll delve into the intricacies of serving, a fundamental aspect of the game.

Serving in tennis involves a player hitting the ball over the net into their opponent’s court to initiate a point. It’s a skill that requires precision, power, and strategic thinking. As we journey through this article, we’ll unravel the complexities of serving in tennis, examining its rules, techniques, and the impact it has on the outcome of a match.

Rules of Serving

The rules of serving in tennis are relatively straightforward. A serve is considered valid if it lands within the opponent’s service court, which is the area of the court behind the net and within the sidelines and baseline. A player has two chances to serve each point. If the first serve is a fault, the player gets a second chance. If the second serve is also a fault, the player loses the point.

Types of Serves

In tennis, there are three main types of serves:

The Flat Serve

The flat serve is the most common type of serve. As the name suggests, the ball is hit with a flat trajectory, allowing it to travel quickly and fiercely over the net. Flat serves are often used as power serves, aiming to gain an immediate advantage by forcing the opponent to react defensively.

The Slice Serve

The slice serve is a more nuanced technique that involves hitting the ball with a sideways spin. This creates a ball that curves in the air, making it more difficult for the opponent to return. Slice serves are often used as tactical serves, aiming to find an awkward bounce angle or force the opponent out of position.

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The Kick Serve

The kick serve is a high-bouncing serve that clears the net with a high trajectory. It lands deep in the opponent’s court and kicks up high, giving the server time to move forward and take control of the net. Kick serves are often used to set up a volley or to force the opponent to hit the ball overhead.

Serving Strategies

In tennis, choosing the right serving strategy can give a player a significant advantage. Some players prefer to rely on power serves to put constant pressure on their opponents. Others opt for more tactical serves, mixing up the pace and spin to create unpredictability.

The best serving strategy depends on the player’s strengths and the opponent’s weaknesses. By carefully analyzing the opponent’s return patterns and tendencies, players can tailor their serving strategy to maximize their chances of winning points.

Serving Statistics

To further understand the importance of serving in tennis, let’s delve into some statistics:

Serving Metric Percentage of Points Won
First Serve In 60-70%
First Serve Ace 5-10%
First Serve Return 20-30%
Second Serve In 40-50%
Second Serve Return 50-60%

As these numbers indicate, winning the first serve is crucial in tennis. Players who can consistently make first serves have a far greater chance of winning points.

Impact of Serving

The impact of serving in tennis is undeniable. It allows players to:

  • Control the pace of the game
  • Dictate court position
  • Set up favorable shot opportunities
  • Force errors from opponents

By mastering the art of serving, players can gain a substantial edge over their opponents and increase their chances of success.


Readers, we hope this comprehensive guide to tennis serving has shed light on the nuances and complexities of this fundamental aspect of the game. Serving is more than just hitting the ball over the net; it’s a tactical skill that can shape the outcome of a match. By understanding the rules, techniques, and strategies involved in serving, players can enhance their game and take their tennis to the next level.

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Don’t forget to check out our other articles on tennis strategy, technique, and equipment to become a well-rounded player and elevate your game.

Additional info about tennis who serves

First serve

In tennis, the server always serves first. The server stands behind the baseline and to the right of the center mark. The server then hits the ball over the net and into the service court diagonally opposite. The serve must land in the service court and bounce once before the receiver can return it.

Second serve

If the server misses the first serve, they get a second chance. The second serve must also land in the service court, but it can bounce twice before the receiver can return it.

Double fault

If the server misses both the first and second serves, it is called a double fault. The receiver wins the point and the server loses their serve.


An ace is a serve that the receiver cannot return. Aces are often hit with great speed or spin, making them difficult to return.

Break point

A break point is a point in which the receiver has the opportunity to win the server’s game. The receiver wins the break point if they win the point and the server loses their serve.

Set point

A set point is a point in which the winner of the set is determined. The winner of the set is the player who wins six games with a margin of at least two games.

Match point

A match point is a point in which the winner of the match is determined. The winner of the match is the player who wins two sets with a margin of at least one set.

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A tiebreaker is a special game that is played to break a tie in a set or match. The tiebreaker is played to 10 points, and the first player to reach 10 points with a margin of at least two points wins the tiebreaker and the set or match.


Hawk-Eye is a technology that is used to determine whether a serve or return was in or out. Hawk-Eye uses multiple cameras to track the ball and determine its trajectory.


A challenge is a request by a player to have a call by the umpire reviewed by Hawk-Eye. A player can only challenge a call if they have a "challenge" remaining.