Project Description


Overview & Examples

Tennis is a sport usually played between two players (singles) or between two teams of two players each (doubles). Each player uses a racquet that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent’s court.

The modern game of tennis originated in the United Kingdom in the late 19th century as “lawn tennis” which has heavy connections to various field/lawn games as well as to the ancient game of real tennis. After its creation, tennis spread throughout the upper-class English-speaking population before spreading around the world. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all ages.

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Traditional Formats

Tennis is usually played in singles or doubles format. Mixed doubles is also common. Additionally, team tennis is sometimes used in intramural programs with teams of up to 6 players. In a four-person team format, 2 players would participate in singles matches while the remaining 2 players would compete in a doubles match against the opponent. The team that wins two of the three matches wins the team match-up.


While competitive tennis is often officiated by a Chair Umpire and line umpires, intramural tennis is often self-officiated. A court monitor is often used to record scores, answer participant questions, and ensure that games finish on time.


Tennis is typically played by the rules set forth by the International Tennis Federation (ITF). Intramural programs usually modify these rules to fit their needs.

Notes & Variations

Intramural tennis is typically played “no-ad.” This means there is no deuce and scoring is “0-15-30-40-Game.” This is used to speed up the matches. Additionally, while most programs enforce the “win by two” adage, cap limits on games per set are generally added (usually between 8-12 games).

While court monitors are sometimes used, some intramural programs offer tennis on a “play-by-date” system. In this instance, participants are given a set of dates by which to play each match. The matches are played at the participants’ convenience and both participants are required to report the scores to the intramural department.

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NIRSA Intramural Sports Community of Practice