How To Serve in Tennis (Techniques, Rules & Guide) of 2022

A second serving fault could cause you to lose a point! And off-course, no sportsman wants to lose a single point. If you want to know all about how to serve in tennis, this guideline will definitely make it easier for you.

Undoubtedly a serve is a keystroke that enables you to start your game by scoring a point and putting your opponent on the back foot right from the beginning. This valuable yet demanding stroke needs to be mastered if you want to make it a weapon for you. Well! Knowing how to serve in tennis is equally important for both professionals and amateurs.

So let’s begin with

Rules to Serve in Tennis

  • To hit a serve stroke, a server must position him/herself behind the baseline and to the right of the countermark for the first point
  • For the second point, the server takes the position behind the baseline on the left side of the center mark A server once positioned must not change his/her position while serving-although slight feet movements are allowed
  • Once the ball is tossed it must be hit before it reaches the ground
  • It is a fair serve if the ball lands in the correct court i.e., diagonally crossed without touching anything in the server’s court, the net, and any solid fixture- otherwise, it’s a serving fault
  • If there is service fault on the first attempt, the server gets another chance, but if he fails in the second attempt too, the point is lost and given to the receiver

It will be considered a serving fault if you do not abide by any of the above-mentioned rules or a foot fault is committed. Knowing how to serve in tennis and following rules makes it easier for you to enjoy a dispute-free and healthy competition.

Who to serve?

A tennis match begins by tossing a coin, and the team or individual who wins the toss decides who will serve first. If it’s a double game, the team that has to serve first mutually decides which player will serve first. As the game proceeds, a serving order is maintained till the end by alternating the serve between both opponents or teams. In simple words, the team that serves the first game will get a chance to serve the third game, and so on.

It’s mandatory to get familiar with this term in order to learn how to serve in tennis.

What is Let Serve?

It’s a let serve if the ball gets in touch with any of these before landing in service court:

  • The net
  • Receiver’s body anything they carry or wear
  • Bands or straps
  • It will also be a let serve if the ball is served and the opponent is not ready yet.

In the case of let serve, another chance is given to the server.

What is a Foot Fault?

A foot fault is ruled if

  • Server changes his/her position
  • Either of server’s foot gets in touch with baseline, imaginary extension of a sideline or center mark of the baseline

2. Tennis Serves Techniques:

You are lucky enough if you are not in the receiving court! Being a server gives you the advantage to take control and grip the point from the beginning. In this way, a perfect serve hit with all might won’t let your partner return it back to your court.

Exercising different serve types enable you to compete with a different player on variable court surfaces The four serve types in tennis are

1. The Flat Serve

As the name suggests, a flat serve involves minimum spin, and it goes straight to the opponent’s court with a low bounce. The player makes use of Continental or eastern grip to hit a flat serve. The key to a perfectly hit flat serve is the power and strength you put in while hitting the ball. Its fast speed makes it challenging for your opponent to hit it back in time. For perfect shots, not only techniques but a good tennis racquet is also necessary.


  • Fast speed doesn’t allow the receiver to react in time
  • Its low bounce makes the opponent bend and leaves the comfort zone


  • Putting too much power makes it a strategically weaker shot
  • It is challenging to play a well-hit return off of the flat serve as it comes with the same speed

2. The Slice Serve

A well-executed slice serve guarantees you to score a point comfortably. Sidespin is applied to the ball that tends to move the ball from left to right(if the server is a lefty) and right to left (if the server is a righty). The left sidespin makes the ball curve and moves in the leftward direction after hitting the ground, and toward the right side of the right side, spin is applied.


  • After bouncing off, the ball walks into the receiver’s body making it hard for them to find enough room to play a clean shot
  • A well-placed slice serve can create a wider room for you to play a variety of shorts comfortably by dragging your opponent ad court (in case you are a lefty) and duece court (in case you are a righty)
  • The low bounce takes the receiver out of the strike zone and is compelled to stay down


  • It is challenging to apply the right amount of sidespin and over-hitting may put you in a difficult situation
  • It lacks the topspin and which may result in let serve.

3. The Kick Serve

It is one of the most sought-after serving by the players who really want to learn how to serve in tennis. The key to the effectiveness and reliability of this service is the topspin applied by the server. It provides complete control to the player and places the ball exactly where they want to. For this reason, it is the favorite second serve for many players.


  • It can help you to attack the weakness of your opponent by pacing the ball out of the opponents strike zone
  • The ball bounces high after hitting the ground
  • Rare chances to hit the nets-thanks to heavy topspin


  • The receiver gets enough time to react due to its slow speed
  • Not easy to master

4. Underhand serve

If the server tosses the ball and slowly hits it(either in an upward or downward direction) before it reaches the ground, it will be an underhand or underarm serve. This awkward yet interesting serve short is sparsely used by some sparsely to surprise their opponent. Although it looks a complete foul short at first sight, it is allowed and legal to play.

Unprofessional players sometimes use underhand serve to avoid or recover from injury. It came into the limelight when Michael Chang used the underhand serve and beat Ivan Lendl in the French Open in 1989. Although it is legal, is it ethical too? The question still prevails……

If you are a fresh tennis enthusiast and want to master the skills of this game, it’s crucial for you to learn how to serve in tennis.

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