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Understanding the Rules of Tennis Doubles


Tennis (formerly lawn tennis) traces its origin to Birmingham, England in the 19th century. It is a popular Olympic sport that is played by people of all ages worldwide. The purpose of tennis is to play the ball with enough force and technique that the opponent is unable to return the ball. Tennis can be played on hard court, grass court or clay court and it can be played by males, females or mixed (a male and female playing as a team).


The rules of tennis doubles have not changed significantly from the inception of the sport in the 19th century. One of the three most significant changes in the rules of tennis doubles was between 1908 and 1961 when the rule stipulated that the server must put one foot on the ground during service. The second rule was the tiebreak in the 1970’s. The final rule adopted is the use of electronic systems that gives players the opportunity of contesting line calls.


The Court size According to the Rules of Tennis Doubles


The court maintains the length of 78 feet (23.77 m) for both singles and doubles but is 36 feet (10.97 m) in width; the doubles court is 1.37m wider than the singles court.




The team whose turn is to serve first will decide which member of the team will serve; the opposing team will do the same for the second game. The team member of the player who served first will serve in the third game; the partner of the player who served in the second game will serve in the fourth game, they shall continue with this pattern in the preceding games of a set. In summary, service rotates between each member of both teams, ensuring that each player serves ones in every fourth game.


Service Faults


A service fault happens when the ball touches the Server’s partner in any way; but if the ball served touches the partner of the receiver before it touches the ground, the Server wins the point as stipulated in the rules of tennis doubles.


Receiving Service


According to the rules of tennis doubles, team members shall receive the ball alternatively as stipulated in the tennis doubles rules of the International Tennis Federation.


Playing the Ball in Doubles


In rules of tennis doubles the ball must be hit consecutively by one or other player of the opposing pairs, and if a player touches the ball while in motion with his racket, the other team wins the point. However, it is not mandatory that players within a team hit the ball alternately. The order of serving and receiving can be changed after the completion of a set.


Court Positioning


In the rules of tennis doubles, team members of the server and the receiver may position themselves anywhere on the court, as long as they do not obstruct play. However, players normally take the opposite side of the court.


This rules of tennis doubles slightly varies from the rules of the singles game, but general game play and scoring of points are basically the same.

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