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10 Rules of Tennis You Probably Didn't Know

10 Rules of Tennis You Probably Didn’t Know

10 Rules of Tennis You Probably Didn't Know

No Time to Read? Here’s a Snappy Summary of This Article

  • Tennis Noises Rule: Tennis players can make any sound except words, from grunts to roars, during a match.
  • Phantom Ball Challenge: Players can’t challenge a ball that lands out if they’ve already accepted it as in.
  • Speedy Towel Tactics: Players get 25 seconds for a break, but some sneakily use the towel to buy extra time.
  • Tardy Ball Kid Penalties: Ball kids get fined if they delay play by not retrieving balls swiftly.
  • Sunscreen Slippery Slope: Too much sunscreen can lead to penalties for making the court dangerously slippery.
  • Unlucky Wardrobe Malfunctions: If a player’s outfit violates the dress code, they can face a point or game loss.


Tennis, a sport loved by many in Singapore, is more than just powerful serves and breathtaking volleys. While you might think you know all there is to know about tennis, the game has its share of obscure rules and fascinating tidbits. Whether you’re a casual player or a die-hard fan, this article will serve you a fresh set of insights that will make your next match or viewing party even more engaging. So, let’s dive into the 10 rules of tennis you probably didn’t know.

1. The Let Rule

You might think a “let” is just when the ball grazes the net and lands in the service box. But did you know that a let can also be called if a ball rolls onto the court from an adjacent one? Or if a player serves before the receiver is ready? These nuances add layers of complexity to what seems like a straightforward rule.

2. The Hindrance Rule

Ever wondered what happens if a player shouts or makes a noise during a point? According to the hindrance rule, if a player hinders their opponent’s ability to play the point, they lose that point. This rule is often subject to interpretation, making it a hot topic during matches.

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3. Foot Faults

A foot fault occurs when the server’s foot crosses the baseline or touches it before striking the ball. While it’s commonly known, the intricacies are often overlooked. For instance, it’s also a foot fault if any part of the foot touches the imaginary extension of the center mark.

4. Continuous Play and Rest Periods

Tennis matches are not just about continuous action; they also have designated rest periods. Players get 90 seconds of rest when changing ends and a 2-minute break during sets. Failure to resume play after these intervals can result in penalties, adding another layer of strategy to the game.

5. Medical Timeouts

Players are allowed a single medical timeout for each treatable medical condition. The timeout lasts for a maximum of 3 minutes, but what’s interesting is that the clock starts only when the medical personnel are ready to start the treatment, not when the player sits down.

6. Toilet Breaks

Yes, even the pros need bathroom breaks. Men are allowed one break during best-of-5-set matches, and women during best-of-3. The timing of these breaks is regulated, and taking an unauthorized break can result in a penalty, adding a strategic element to the game.


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7. The 25-Second Rule

Players have 25 seconds to serve the ball once the score has been called. Exceeding this time limit can result in a warning for the first offense and point loss for subsequent offenses. This rule keeps the game moving and adds pressure to already tense moments.

8. Racquet Abuse

Smashing your racquet might release frustration, but it can also result in penalties. The first offense usually results in a warning, while subsequent offenses can lead to point or even game losses. So, think twice before letting your emotions get the best of you.

9. The Tiebreak Toss

In a tiebreak, the player who serves first is decided by a coin toss. However, many don’t know that the player who didn’t serve first in the tiebreak will serve first in the next set. This little-known rule can influence the momentum of the match.

10. Correcting Errors

If an error in calling the score occurs, it’s corrected and the point replayed only if the point hadn’t started. If the point had started, then the game continues with the incorrect score, unless it’s a game or set point, in which case it’s corrected.


So there you have it, 10 rules of tennis that are often overlooked but can make a significant impact on the game. Whether you’re watching a match at the Singapore Sports Hub or playing a friendly set at your local court, these rules add layers of complexity and excitement to an already thrilling sport. The next time you engage in tennis talk, you’ll be serving up some serious knowledge. Game, set, match!


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Can players be penalized for excessive celebrations in tennis?

A: Yes, prolonged celebrations can lead to penalties, impacting the flow of the game and sportsmanship.

Q: What is the dress code for tennis players, and are there strict regulations?

A: Tennis players must adhere to a specific dress code; violations may result in point or game penalties.

Q: Can using too much sunscreen really lead to penalties during a tennis match?

A: Indeed, excessive sunscreen application can create slippery courts, prompting penalties for player safety.

Q: How do tennis officials handle unexpected noises from the crowd during a match?

A: Officials may pause the game, giving players a chance to regain focus if crowd noise disrupts play.

Q: Are there specific rules regarding player behavior during rain delays in tennis?

A: Tennis players are expected to maintain professionalism during rain delays, following guidelines for conduct.

Q: Do tennis ball kids play a significant role in the pace of the game?

A: Absolutely, ball kids play a crucial role, and any delay caused by them may result in fines.

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