To begin the game, one player serves the ball by hitting it over the net. The player on the other side must try to hit the ball back over the net before it hits the ground twice.

The court

The court is the playing space for tennis. It is a smooth, level playing area, covered with grass, clay or an artificial surface.

A tennis match is made up of games and sets. The player or team that wins six games wins the set.

In the men's games, the player or team that wins three out of five sets win the match.       In the women's games, the winning player or team must win two out of three sets.

Tennis is played by men and women, young and old,  and by people in wheelchairs.

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The earliest relative to tennis, was called "jeu de paume", and was played in 11th century France. The game was played in a monastery courtyard, there was no net, and the ball was hit against the walls and sloping roofs as part of the court. Players used the palm of the hand to hit the ball.

Racquets and a net were introduced later.

 Jeu de paume is sometimes called "courte paume" or "real tennis".

Jeu de paume was an event at the 1908 Summer Olympics