Tennis Tie Break Rules – History and Rules

Tennis is a versatile sport that can make you better your stability, flexibility, and manual dexterity. It can also help you improve your problem-solving and analysis skills. You should understand all the right regulations, popular vocabulary, and how to keep count in your games, whether you play competitively or casually with friends.

There is a 120-second gap between the finish of the second set and the start of the match tiebreak during which no coaching is permitted. The balls may not be replaced before the match tiebreak begins. The original order of service is maintained when using the match tiebreak to substitute the final set. In doubles, the serving and collecting order between the two team members can be swapped.

A tiebreaker is the most important part of each set when every point counts far more than throughout the games. It is, in essence, a custom game created to break a tie in a tennis match. To prevent clashes like the Isner-Mahut showdown at Wimbledon in 2010, it’s a faster technique to determine sets and matches.

The rules are straightforward. The player who reaches seven points first (or leads by two points if the score is still tied at 6-6), wins the tiebreak and the set.

History of Tennis Tie Break

In the early 1950s, an American donor and founder of the Tennis Hall of Fame in Rhode Island, James H. “Jimmy” Van Alen, introduced the tiebreak to remedy the problem of long matches. The Van Alen Streamlined Scoring System (VASSS) pushed for a “first to five” tiebreaker (also known as a nine-point tiebreaker) and sudden death, which meant that a 4-4 draw may result in both players reaching a match point. The first Grand Slam tournament to use this new scoring system was the US Open. This system later morphed into the current 12-point (or first to seven) tiebreaker.

Tennis Tie Break Doubles Rules

The player who returned serve in the final game of the set gets the option of serving from the right side of the court in the tiebreak. The serve changes after the first point and the opposite player has two serves, the first of which comes from his left side of the court. When the total number of points is an odd number, the service is always changed.

After one point, two points, three points, and so forth. The reason for this is that when the opponent is serving, the winner must win at least one point. It’s referred to as a “mini-break.” Players must switch sides after every six points. They are not permitted to sit throughout this transition.

They are simply meant to walk to the other side and take a quick drink if necessary. The same premise operates as in singles: the pairing that retrieved service in the previous game serves first in the Tiebreak. The player from the opposite team who is scheduled to serve next will serve the next two points.

After then, beginning with the first team, each team’s player who serves next alternates for 2 sequential points until the tie-break is over. The tennis governing bodies agreed a few years ago to replace the deciding set with a ten-point tiebreak to make doubles matches more engaging for spectators.

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How Tennis Tie Break works

When the game score in a set is 6-6, a tennis tie-breaker is played. To settle the set, the players will compete in a 7-point tie-break. The tie-breaker is decided by the first player to reach 7 points. If the tie-breaker score reaches 6-6, a player must win by 2 points to win the tie-breaker. In this situation, the ultimate tie-breaker scores might be 8-6, 9-7, 10-8, and so on.

In a tie-break, the score can go as high as it wants. Some tiebreakers result in scores of 15-13 or even higher. The tie-breaker will continue until one of the players wins by a margin of two. For singles and doubles tie-breakers, the same rules apply.

Tie Break Scoring Tips

  • When a set is tied at 6-6, a ‘7 Point Tiebreak’ game is played.
  • The game is won by 7 points earned plus a 2-point edge.
  • The right service court serves the first point (deuce court)
  • After the first point is played, rotate serves.
  • Each contestant serves two points, excluding the first.
  • Always serve the opening point from the left service court when serving consecutive points.
  • Serving the second point from the right (advantage court or ‘ad’ court)
  • Court of service (deuce court)
  • Every six points, the tennis players alternate ends of the court.
Tie Break Scoring Tips

Types of Tie Break

Tennis players can play tiebreak games in two different ways:

  • Twelve-point tiebreaker, despite the fact that this tiebreaker is played first to seven, is formally known as a “12-point tiebreak” game since it is the best of 12 points won by two players (7-5). If the player wins the tiebreaker, the set score will be 7-6, and the player will win the set in seven games. Long tiebreaks can still happen after 12 points if neither player can get a two-point win.
  • A tiebreaker of ten points, this type, often known as the super tiebreaker, is played first to ten with a two-point win. This happens in a tie in the fifth set for men’s singles and a tie in the third set for women’s singles.


Don’t worry if you’re new to tennis and have trouble remembering its convoluted scoring system. It becomes easier as you play more. I had mastered the tennis score system after playing a dozen or so times. You can depend on a more experienced player to guide you through if you play with them.

Enjoy your Game!