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by Nicolette Mok

A game of tennis begins with the all-important serve, where the player opens the game by hitting the ball high up and over the net. It is, therefore, vital that beginners are familiar with both the rules and swing techniques involved in service.

The server begins by holding the tennis racquet using a "shake-hand" grip; grasp the racquet in your master hand just as you would grasp an acquaintance’s hand. Stand at the baseline, the backmost white line on the court.

tennis serveTeam Singapore tennis player Stefanie Tan demonstrates a tennis serve. Photo: SportSG

For right-handers, position yourself slightly towards the right of the centre mark. You should be facing the right side of the court, with your left shoulder pointed in the direction of the net.

Using the hand that’s not holding on to the racquet, toss the tennis ball high into the air, in the direction of your “one o’ clock”, according to Team Singapore tennis player Stefanie Tan.

Swing your hand back, like a backswing in golf, and make contact with the ball at the highest point that you can get to. Aiming diagonally across the net to the left side of the court, hit the ball into the service box, which is the one that is closest to the net.

tennis serveThere are various reasons that service faults can occur, one of which is if your feet cross the baseline while serving. Photo: SportSG


Service faults refer to a breach of service rules. Each player is given two attempts to serve during a turn – if the first is a fault, he or she will receive another chance to serve. A double fault, or two faults, would result in the opponent being awarded the point.

Faults occur due to a number of reasons, and some of these may happen even before your racquet hits the ball. In fact, while small movements are allowed during the swing, you can only move positions after making contact with the ball. Your feet should be placed close to the baseline while serving, but you must not touch it, nor cross the centre mark, as these are considered faults.

After the swing, faults may occur if you miss the ball, if your ball does not clear the net, or if your ball hits the ground outside the service box. Do note that if any part of your ball touches the line that marks the service box, it will not be considered a fault.

Should your ball hit the net but still manage to make its way into the correct service box, a “let serve” occurs. You will get a chance to serve again, regardless of whether you are on your first or second service attempt.

tennis serveMastering serving in tennis is one of the requirements of every beginner. Photo: SportSG

Are you a kid trying to learn the basics to tennis? Or perhaps a parent trying to introduce your child to the game of tennis?

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Helmed by professional coaches, our students are engaged at every level of development. From fundamental movement skills to core tennis skills, the programmes are designed to be fun, yet challenging. Sign up for the ActiveSG Tennis Academy by registering here.
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