Rules of Tennis Doubles

While the majority of tennis rules apply to singles and doubles matches, accommodations must be made to account for the different number of players during each. Doubles rules differ from singles primarily as it regards to the serving and receiving rotations. Knowing the additional rules in effect during doubles can save you from losing a game, set and match.

Serving Order

After players have tossed a coin or spun a racket to determine who serves, players serve in an order that alternates the serve among the four players. Players serve in an A, B, C and D order. During a tiebreaker, the first player to serve at 6-6 (Player C) serves only one point. From that point on, each player serves two points for the remainder of the tiebreaker. As teams switch sides every six points during a tiebreaker, the serving order stays the same.

Receiving Order

Once players have chosen a side on which to receive serve (either left or right or deuce or ad), they must receive serve from that side of the court for the remainder of the set. At the beginning of a new set, players may switch sides. If players mistakenly switch sides during a game, all points played up to the time the error is discovered stand, and players must finish that game on the incorrect side of the court, then switch back to their original side in subsequent games. Players are required to finish the game on the incorrect side to prevent a stronger player from receiving two serves in a row.

Fault and Let

During a doubles match, if the server’s ball hits the receiver’s partner before it touches the net or ground, the receiving team wins the point because the receiver’s partner is considered to have interfered with the ball. Oddly, if the server’s ball hits the net, and the receiver’s partner touches the ball before it lands, a let is played. In TeamTennis, there are no let serves. If the server’s ball touches the net and lands in the service box, the serve is considered good and either player on the receiving team may return the live ball.

Call Disagreement

If partners disagree on a call on a ball one of them did not put back in play, the point goes to the opponents. If partners disagree on a service call, and the receiver puts the ball back in play, a let is played. If the receiver puts a ball back in play that is a weak shot and the opponents would have easily won the point, the receiving team should give the point to their opponents.