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Tennis – rules, number of sets, tie break

Tennis is a game with a long tradition, but it can be assumed that - with minor changes - the rules largely in force today were written down in the second half of the 19th century (the most common date being 1882). The game is played on a rectangular court, with the side lines marking the expanded area for doubles games. The court can be grass, clay, also known as brick, or with an artificial surface (hard). The most important element of tennis is hitting the ball into the opponent's court in a way that they cannot return it or hit it out of bounds, or into the net. 

Each tennis match consists of sets, which in turn consist of games, and games consist of points (15, 30, 40 - a remnant of the old scoring system, the next point wins the game, unless it's a tie at 40:40, then there must be a two-point advantage). To win a set, you must win 6 games - previously the rule of a 2-game advantage also applied here, you couldn't win 6:5, you had to play until 7:5, 8:6, etc. This excessively prolonged matches on the court, so in the mid-70s the so-called tie-break was introduced. This is the thirteenth deciding set at 6:6 (played to 7 points, with a 2-point advantage required). In a given game, only one player serves (except in the tie-break: the server changes after the first point, and then every two points). If the ball touches the net during a serve, it's called a let, and the player serves again. Women compete to win 2 sets. Men also usually compete to win 2 sets, but in Grand Slam tournaments and the Davis Cup, it's 3 sets. In case of an injury preventing further play, the injured player must concede the match.

WTA and ATP – what are they, rankings, tournaments

The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) is the largest organization for women's tennis in the world. The WTA organizes almost the entire women's tennis season, and publishes the current rankings of female tennis players every week, awarding them points based on specially developed tables, depending on the prestige of the tournaments. The most successful players in the history of the WTA are Martina Navratilova (who represented both Czechoslovakia and the USA) and American Chris Evert. 

The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) is the male counterpart to the WTA. This organization has been operating since 1972. It also awards points to players for participating (and especially for winning) in tournaments organized by them. The player with the most tournament wins in ATP history is American Jimmy Connors, followed by Swiss Roger Federer and the still active Serbian Novak Djokovic, who can still improve his record. 

Both the WTA and ATP organize the WTA Finals / ATP Finals at the end of each season, usually in November. These tournaments, which are highly valued for rankings, only feature the top-ranked players: eight male and female singles players, as well as doubles pairs.

Grand Slam tournaments (Wimbledon, Australian Open, US Open, Roland Garros)

The Grand Slam is winning all four major tournaments in a given category (singles, doubles, mixed) in a season. These tournaments are Wimbledon, Australian Open, US Open, and Roland Garros. In these tournaments, there are always 128 players competing (qualifications are held earlier), with 32 of them being the highest-ranked players in the ATP and WTA rankings. 

The first Grand Slam tournament of the year is the Australian Open, held since 1905, always in the second half of January, most recently in Melbourne, on hard courts. Then, at the end of May and beginning of June, the French Open takes place in Paris, also known as Roland Garros. The first tournament was held in 1891. The third Grand Slam tournament is Wimbledon, usually held at the end of June and beginning of July, in a district of London which gives it its name. It is the oldest tennis tournament in the world, held since 1877. Wimbledon is played on grass courts. It is a unique tournament with various traditions still in place, such as rules regarding the color of players' attire or ball boys/girls. The last of the Grand Slam tournaments is the US Open in New York. The first international US championships, as it is known, were held in 1881.

Live tennis – entertainment for everyone!

After the start of the season in Australia, the ATP and WTA "carousel" is in full swing. In addition to the Grand Slam tournaments and ATP/WTA Finals, there are many events organized around the world during the season. Tennis is very popular, which is why live tennis broadcasts can be found on many TV channels. Some of the major broadcasters include Eurosport (which offers the Australian Open, French Open, and US Open), France Televisions and Amazon Prime Video (French Open), BBC (Wimbledon), and ESPN (US Open) - but the list is very long and everyone will find something for themselves.

Tennis live on the Internet

The situation with online tennis broadcasts is similar, here live tennis matches are also available on many websites - a detailed list of them, just like TV broadcasts, can always be found on our website.