One of the most popular sports in the world, interest in tennis online betting is comparable with football, basketball, and other massively followed sporting events.

Some of the most well-known sportspeople in the world made their names on hard, grass, or clay courts.

Bet Calculator

Tennis presents numerous opportunities from a live betting perspective, including next game winner, set winner, and game handicaps.

Before you embark on betting on live tennis betting action, though, it’s vital you’ve got to grips with tennis rules and scoring.


Like most sports, the exact origins of tennis are up for debate. Some historians believe the game started in northern France, where a ball was hit with the palm of the hand. Louis X was the first person to construct modern indoor tennis courts.

Starting out primarily as a royal sport, indoor tennis courts were built around Europe. The early centuries of tennis saw the game evolve and people experimented with different surfaces. It was, however, only in 1872 that the world’s first tennis club was founded in Leamington Spa. 

Walter Clopton Wingfield deserves much of the praise for the popularisation of tennis. Wingfield did important work on producing rules for the sport, and even distributed boxed sats with nets, racquets and balls.

Integral to the development of the modern game, tennis would not be what it is today without Wingfield’s sizeable input.

After the first Wimbledon championships in 1877, the United States National Lawn Tennis Association was founded in 1880. Different-sized balls were used in different parts of the USA in the early years.

The four Grand Slams were established by 1905, and were quickly recognised as the four most prestigious events in the world. More championships were founded throughout the first few decades of the 20th century with tennis’ appeal increasing around the world. 

The foundational rules established by the International Lawn Tennis Federation in the early 20th century have not changed all that significantly in the century since. 

After a period where pros could not compete in certain events, such regulations were removed in 1968 to usher in the Open Era. 


A coin toss decides which player serves first. The first game of a tennis match begins with a player standing behind the baseline on the right-hand side of the court. They must be between the centre mark and the sideline.

For a serve to be legal, the player has to toss the ball with their non-serving hand, and strike it before it bounces. The ball must go over the net and land in the opposite service box. So a serve from the right-hand side (deuce court) needs to land in the left-hadn service box.

Two serves are allowed per point. If a serve hits the net or does not land in the service box, it is called a ‘fault’. Two faults mean the server automatically loses the point.

If a serve hits the net and lands in the service box, this is a ‘let’. The serve will then be replayed, so the server will either take their first or second serve again. After each point, the players switch to the other side of the vertical line on their half of the court.

All points are started by the server. The opponent is then responsible for returning the serve inside the lines on the server’s side of the court. 

To win a point, a player must hit the ball before it has bounced or after its first bounce. If the ball bounces twice, the player that hit the ball wins the point. Players must wait for the ball to get onto their side of the net before hitting the ball. 

If a player hits the ball into the net or hits the ball and it bounces outside the lines, then they lose the point. 


A player/team in tennis has to score four points to win a game. Zero is referred to as ‘love’. The first point is 15, second is 30, and third is 40. If both teams are on three points, then this is called deuce.

After deuce, the team to win the next point has ‘advantage’. If they win the next point, they win the game.

If the other team wins the point, it reverts to deuce. This continues until a team has a two-point lead.

With four points required to win a game, players need to win at least six games to claim a set (and have a two-game lead). For instance, teams can win a tennis set 6-4, 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 or 6-0. They can also win a set 7-5. 

If a set goes to 6-6, a tiebreaker will be played. Points are simply numerical in a tiebreak. The first to seven points (with a two-point difference) wins the tiebreaker. 

Matches are usually played over best-of-three or best-of-five sets. This means a player/team needs to win either two or three sets to win a match. 

Court Size & Dimensions

A tennis court is 78 feet long and 36 feet wide. For singles matches, the court remains the same length, but it is only 27 feet wide as the tramlines are not in use.

The tennis net is slightly wider than the court. It is 42 inches high at the posts and 36 inches high in the middle. 


Tennis balls are made of hollow rubber with a felt coating. The diameter for tennis balls must be 65.41 to 68.58 millimetres. The weight has to be between 56.0 and 59.4 grams.

Rules surrounding tennis racquets have changed considerably throughout the sport’s history.

Modern tennis racquets feature a cylindrical handle with a grip. This is connected to a flat, open, oval-like shape. This gap has tight strings across it.

The frame of the hitting area must be no more than 29 inches in length and 12.5 inches in width.

Most Successful Countries at the Olympics

Part of the inaugural Olympics in 1896, tennis was dropped after the 1924 Games due to a disagreement between the International Lawn Tennis Federation and the International Olympic Committee.

It was a demonstration sport in 1968 and 1984. Tennis then returned – open to all players – for the 1988 Games and has been a fixture ever since.

The USA have the most gold medals overall with 21, but Great Britain top the total medal table with 43.

Venus Williams and Serena Williams are the two most successful tennis Olympians with four gold medals (five total) apiece.

In the Open Era, Andy Murray is the only player to win multiple singles medals. The Williams sisters won the doubles on three occasions.

*Credit for the photos in this article belongs to Alamy*

Sam is a sports tipster, specialising in the Premier League and Champions League.

He covers most sports, including cricket and Formula One. Sam particularly enjoys those on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean – notably MLB and NBA.

Watching, writing and talking about sports betting takes up most of his time, whether that is for a day out at T20 Finals Day or a long night of basketball.

Having been writing for several years, Sam has been working with 888Sport since 2016, contributing multiple articles per week to the blog.