Tennis Rules: Moving During a Serve

Tennis is a game that requires a lot of practice. No matter what age you are or how professional and experienced you are at tennis, the key to always being ahead of your game is lots of practice.

Mastering a serve and knowing the accurate moves, as well as being aware of the dos and don’ts of the action is a crucial secret behind winning in any match. 

1. Serving Basics

A serve (formally called a service) in tennis is the first move that a player makes using their ball and racket. The aim of the move is that the ball lands at the opposite service box without hitting the net placed in the middle.

The idea is basically for the server to hit the ball into their opponent’s court in a way that the opponent won’t be able to hit it back.

Right before beginning the serve motion, the server should stand with both feet behind the baseline, making sure not to touch it.

As serve is begun by players throwing the ball in the air and hitting it with their rackets, aiming as high as they could. It’ll be considered a good serve if the ball touches the net on a return and lands on the opposite side. 

The serve is completed as soon as the ball hits or misses the player’s racket.

The serve/service is considered to be one of the most difficult moves for a new player and should be well mastered.

2. Is Moving Allowed During a Serve?

According to the ITF (International Tennis Federation), once the serve movement has begun, the server is only entitled to make simple foot adjustments. They aren’t allowed to take a step whether forward, backward or to either side. It’d still be accepted, however, if their feet left the ground during the serve.

What would still be accepted is, if the server decided to catch the ball after throwing it in the air, and give it another try.

The player isn’t allowed to touch the ball with any part of their body except for with their racket.

The player is also allowed to make an underhand serve. This is actually considered by some as a smart strategy!

See that move here:

3. What Would Be Considered a “Service Fault”?

There are a few scenarios in which the server makes a service fault.

  1. If the server makes a foot fault.
  2. If the server tries to hit the ball but fails.
  3. If the ball touches a singles stick, a net post or a permanent fixture before it hits the ground.
  4. If after serving the ball, it hits their partner or touches anything they’re carrying or even wearing.
  5. If the server faults on their first and second serves, it’s considered a “double fault”. In that case, the other player gains a point.
  6. If the ball hits the net, but falls inside the service box, this is a “let serve”. This is where the player is allowed to re-do it, regardless of it being a first or second serve.

Considering the list above, it wouldn’t be considered a serve fault if the server decided to throw the ball in the air and then catch it again.

4. What Is a “Foot Fault”?

Throughout the serve, the actions stated below shouldn’t be done by the server.

  1. Walk or run to change his position.
  2. Touch the court or the baseline with either of their feet.
  3. Touch with either of their feet the imaginary part of the center mark.
  4. Touch with either of their feet the imaginary part of the sideline.

Some Final Thoughts

Tennis is a game that has many benefits. Those benefits include cutting the risk of death if played at least three times per week. It also decreases anger, depression, low self-esteem, and anxiety.

It’s a sport that could be played practically at any age with family, friends, or even total strangers to you! Historically, the tennis game had been called “the sport for a lifetime”.

It’s one of those sports that has so many sophisticated and detailed rules to it, however, once you’ve mastered them, you’d be really enjoying your time practicing that sport.