Rules & scoring in tennis

Umpire points during a match

Scoring in tennis

The rules of tennis are controlled by the International Tennis Federation. We’ve outlined some basic scoring in tennis information below, but you can find the full list of rules and scoring on the ITF website.

Scoring in a set

The first player/team to win six games wins that set, provided there is a margin of two games over the opponent(s). If the score reaches six games all, a tie-break game shall be played.

Scoring in a match

A match can be played to the best of 3 sets (a player/team needs to win 2 sets to win the match) or to the best of 5 sets (a player/team needs to win 3 sets to win the match). 

Scoring in a game

A standard game is scored as follows with the server’s score being called first:

  • No point - “Love”
  • First point - “15”
  • Second point - “30”
  • Third point - “40”
  • Fourth point - “Game”

If each player/team has won three points, the score is deuce. After deuce, the score is advantage for the player/team who wins the next point. If that same player/team also wins the next point, that player/team wins the game; if the opposing player/team wins the next point, the score is again deuce. A player/team needs to win two consecutive points immediately after deuce to win the game.

Tiebreaks

During a tie-break game, points are scored “zero”, “1”, “2”, “3”, etc. The first player/team to win seven points wins the game and set, provided there is a margin of two points over the opponent(s). If necessary, the tie-break game shall continue until this margin is achieved. 

Get playing

Feel like you have understood the basics? Then get playing and find a tennis court near you.

The rules of FAST4 Tennis

1. First to four games wins

It doesn’t matter how you get there, just make sure you do before your opponent does!

2. Tiebreaker at 3 games all

At 3 games all a tiebreak is played to 7 points, 2 clear at 6-6. 

3. No ad scoring

If the score reaches deuce, it’s a sudden death point. The receiver chooses which side to take the serve on. This also applies in doubles with the receiving pair deciding who receives the serve. However the pair cannot change positions. In mixed doubles the player of the same gender shall receive.

4. Match tie-break at 1 set all

If the score reaches one set all, then a match tie-breal will decide the match. The match tie-break will be played to 10 points, 2 clear at 9-9 to determine the outcome of the match.

The rules of Mini Tennis

Scoring formats used at each age/ball colour:

8U (Red) 9U (Orange) 10U (Green) 12U Open (Yellow) 
One Match Tiebreak (to 10 points)

One Match Tiebreak (to 10 points)

OR

Best of 3 Tiebreak

OR 

One short set (to 4 games)

 One short set (tp 4 games)

OR 

Best of 2 short sets and a Match Tiebreak (to 10 points)

OR 

FAST4

Best of 2 FAST4 Sets and a Match Tiebreak (to 10 Points)

OR

Best of 2 Tiebreak Sets and a Match Tiebreak (to 10 Points)

OR

Best of 3 Tiebreak sets