Usta Tennis Rules
USTA tennis rules, set forth by the United States Tennis Association, are the rules that any tennis tournament sanctioned by the USTA must use. These rules cover everything from the size of the court to how a game is scored. The rules are extensive, but the basic USTA tennis rules can be understood by novices and experts alike.
To play tennis under USTA tennis rules, you will need:
- A USTA regulation tennis court
- USTA regulation tennis balls
- USTA regulation tennis rackets
- The tennis court must be of certain dimensions. Regulation size is a 78-foot long by 27-foot wide rectangle for singles play, and a 78-foot long by 36-foot wide rectangle for doubles play. A 3 1/2-foot high net crosses the middle of the court from side to side.
- The tennis ball in play must comply with USTA tennis rules. It must have a fabric cover yellow or white in color and a weight of 1.975 to 2.095 ounces. It must be tested for rebounding, size and any deformities under USTA rules.
- The tennis rackets must be in accordance with USTA tennis rules. The frame must be no longer than 29 inches in length, including the handle, and no wider than 12.5 inches in width. The hitting surface may be no longer than 15.5 inches and no wider than 11.5 inches, and the frame and hitting surface are not allowed to have any extra or "foreign" devices that will change the shape of the racket or hitting surface.
- Players or teams must stand on opposite sides of the net. The server puts the ball into play, and the ball is in play until a point is scored as follows: a player does not return the ball before it bounces twice, a player does not return the ball "in bounds" (within the lines of the court) or the returned ball hits a permanent fixture on the court.
- The score in a game of tennis is announced as the server is serving the ball, according to USTA tennis rules. No score, or null, is "love," the first point is fifteen, the second point is 30, the third point is 40 and the fourth point is "game." If the score is tied at 40, the score is announced as "deuce;" the player or team to win the next point is said to have the "advantage." If the "advantage" player or team takes the next point, they win the game; if the opposing player or team takes the next point, the score returns to "deuce."
- To win a set of games, certain criteria must be met as set forth by the USTA. The first player or team to win six games, by a margin of two games, wins the set. If there is a tie (six to six), a tie-breaker game is played and points are announced as one, two, three, etc., until seven points are reached by a player or team (a tie-breaker game must be won by two points).