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Tennis is a racquet sport where individuals or teams of two hit a ball back and forth across a court and over a net.


It is believed that the game of tennis originated in the 12th century in France and that players originally used their hands to hit the ball.

Tennis can be played on a 23.7m long and 8.2m wide court, the surface of which can be grass, clay or cement. A doubles court is slightly wider, measuring 11m.

How to play
Tennis is played between two players (singles) or two teams of two players (doubles). Wheelchair tennis is played by athletes with a physical disability with slight modifications including allowing the ball to bounce twice before being retuned and the server is allowed only one push of the wheelchair before striking the ball. One player starts by serving the ball and the opposing player tries to hit it back. When the ball is hit repeatedly back and forth over the net this is called a rally. The rally continues until the ball lands out of play, it hits the net, or someone misses it. Each game begins with each player having 0 points, called ‘love’. The first point won is called 15, the second is called 30, and the third is called 40. If the first player has earned 40 points while his opponent has 30 or less, then the game can be won by winning the next point. If both players have 40 points, the score is called ‘deuce’, and the players must keep playing until one of them wins by two points. A set is won by one player winning six games (again they must win by two games). The match is won by the player who wins two out of three sets. For more information visit Tennis Canada.

If there is no opponent available, a single tennis player can hit a ball against a wall for fun or practice! And, a fun alternative to try is a sport called pickleball.

Suggested equipment
- Athletic clothing
- Tennis shoes
- Tennis racquet
- Tennis balls

Physical activity in Canada includes everyone, regardless of any ability or circumstance. Some sports and activities may, however, require a few adaptations to make them as accessible as possible. Below you’ll find recommendations and suggestions on how to accommodate individuals that may have limitations or different needs. With a positive attitude and a little ingenuity, any activity can be made enjoyable for all.


For individuals with a visual impairment use a larger, brighter ball. Possibly use an auditory ball. Adjust the size of the racket if needed, provide tactile court boundaries such as a rope on the floor covered with tape, adjust the court size, lower the net and alter the rules to provide success.

Learning/Cognitive Disabilities

Consider changing the rules and equipment to best suit the participants. Use a lighter, larger ball. Increase the size of racket. Practice without an opponent (against a wall). Adjust the size of the court and increase the number of bounces allowed.

Mobility Limitation

Tennis can be played seated or standing. Variations can be made to the activity such using a larger, lighter racquet, increase the size of the ball, lower or eliminate the net and have a volunteer to retrieve out of bounds balls.


Benefits of Tennis

The Canadian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines outline the amount and type of physical activity you need at every age and stage of life. And, for the first time, the new 24-hour Movement Guidelines for Children & Youth also include sleep. Following the guidelines will help reduce the risk of chronic disease, lead to a more focused mind, a stronger, fitter body, and all in all, a more enjoyable life.

See Benefits and Guidelines

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Michelle Murray
Communications Coordinator