A ‘love-hate’ Relationship In Tennis

SHAHEED ALAM – Don’t date a tennis player because ‘love’ means nothing to them. Some of you might be wondering what’s in this statement and looking for hints to my relationship status. Love can mean a lot of things to different people, but I’m not about to turn into a relationship expert here. When ‘Love’ is used during a tennis match, it refers to a score of ”0′, zilch, ‘kosong. Now that you have heard this interesting trivia about how tennis is different from other games, here are some of the basic rules to Tennis so you can learn how to fall in ‘love’ with it!  

The scoring system in tennis starts with Love (Zero), 15, 30, 40. Some say that they came up with these numbers based on the time on the clock but instead of 45, they selected 40 because it sounds better. It takes 4 Points to win a Game, 6 Games to win a Set, 2 Sets to win a Match and 7 Matches to win a Tournament. When a player reaches 40 and win that point, he gets 1 Game on the score board. While it normally takes 6 Games to win a set, any set that reaches a tie of 5 games apiece will be played on for 2 more games. If the deadlock continues and the set reaches 6-6, a tie-breaker game will be played to decide the set winner (whoever is first to win 7 points). Usually, a tennis match is played as a best-of-3 format so naturally the first player to win 2 sets would win the match.

Before the match starts, a coin toss would decide the player who begins serving first, with the winner of the toss awarded the choice to either serve or return first. If you don’t have a coin, you can always use your racket with the logo at the bottom of your grip representing ‘Heads’.

This side of the logo signifies ‘Heads’
This side of the logo signifies ‘Down”

A server starts each game on the right side and serves into the box diagonally left of them. If the first serve is a fault, a second service is allowed. However, two faults in a row (or what is colloquially known as a double-fault) will result in your opponent being awarded a point 😊.

If you’re playing a singles match, the alleys at the sides of the court are not considered within the play areas. That changes when you play in a doubles match and the play areas are expanded to include the alleys. During recreational or friendly matches amongst friends, there probably would not be an umpire so always be honest in your line calls! A very important thing to remember is that if the ball lands on the line, it means it is IN. 99% out = 100% in!

The difference between a tennis Singles and Doubles court

These are some of the basic rules and scoring system of tennis so the next time you play with your friends, ask them to not raise a racket when the game is not ruled in their favour! So the next time you Do follow my tennis journey on @shaheedalam98 on Instagram and feel free to drop me a message if you have any questions regarding the rules. Till next time, continue to #HitItLikesShaheed!

Shaheed Alam is a ONEathlete and Ambassador for Asics (Tennis) and Babalot. He is also supported by Grip String Sports and Pro’s Pro. The tennis prodigy had his first match at the age of 5, and progressed to the Singapore Sports School, before becoming the first male Singaporean to win the ITF Junior Singles Title.

For inspiring stories related to running and sports, as well as discounts to local races, subscribe to ‘RunONE’ by adding +6588347638 to your Whatsapp contacts. Then send us the words, “Run With Me.”

What’s in my bag? Shaheed tells it all

SHAHEED ALAM – Ever wondered what’s in a tennis player’s bag? I get asked this question a lot, be it fellow tennis players or just general sports enthusiasts. Read on to find out what’s in my bag for training as well as competition day, and how different they are!

My go to training bag which provides so much space that I could fit everything inside it

Training Days

On a normal training day where I usually have double training sessions (8-11am and 4-7pm), my bag will be packed with about 6-7 tee shirts, 3 shorts, 2 caps and 4 wristbands. All of them courtesy of Asics which have been one of the most comfortable brand apparels I have had.

On top of these, I would bring along 2 rackets from Babolat every time just in case the string snaps on one of them so I will always have a backup racket to train with. (No excuses for skipping training!) I’ll also always have 2 spare grips from Pro’s Pro so that I can change it anytime if the grip gets too sweaty 😅 The best part of it? All these apparel and training equipment fits comfortably into my spacious Babolat Tennis bag!

This is usually what I pack for a typical training day!

Competition Days

On competition day, I would bring roughly around the same number of apparels, with the exception being an additional jacket to keep my body and legs loose and warm before the start of my match. This is important because you never know when the preceding match could drag on into a tie-breaker final set!

Another difference would be the 4-5 tennis rackets that allows me the flexibility of choice to use the one that suits me best on competition day, and also react and change my game approach if necessary.

I will also pack along a skipping rope to help me with my warm up. I usually do about 3-5 sets of skipping right before my match to get the blood flowing and legs loosened up before I step onto the court. Most of the time, the string tension will also change as the match progresses so it’s also important for me to bring a few sets of racket string so I can adjust the tension based on the conditions at the competition venue. Different countries, surfaces, and even altitude play a major role in affecting the tension of the racket. For me, this peculiarity also makes tennis much more interesting because there will never be two identical games even if the players are the same.

My go-to choice for strings are from Pro’s Pro, and I usually carry with me a reel of them so that I can string the rackets up when I reach the venue. A tennis tournament typically lasts about a week so I also have to make sure that I have sufficient grips as well, usually around 10-12. To be fully prepared to deal with any kind of situation, I will also bring along my medical kit which includes deep heat rub, ice cold spray, as well as different type of tapes like KT Tape, Rigid Tape etc. You never know when you might have a niggle on your body so it is best to be always over-prepared than under.

This is what I usually pack for a competition day!

Now that you know what’s in a tennis player’s bag, I hope that helps you get a clearer understanding of what is required for training and competition as you go about packing your own set of training gears. That said, every individual may have their preferred method and there is no one approach to this. So be sure to test it out over time and find the optimal routine and approach best suited for you to perform best on the court!

Till next time, continue to #HitItLikeShaheed!

Shaheed Alam is a ONEathlete and Ambassador for Asics (Tennis) and Babalot. He is also supported by Grip String Sports and Pro’s Pro. The tennis prodigy had his first match at the age of 5, and progressed to the Singapore Sports School, before becoming the first male Singaporean to win the ITF Junior Singles Title.

For inspiring stories related to running and sports, as well as discounts to local races, subscribe to ‘RunONE’ by adding +6588347638 to your Whatsapp contacts. Then send us the words, “Run With Me.”