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A serve is the first shot used to start a point. The goal of a serve is to hit the ball in a designated area on the opposite side of the net. This area is called the service box. There are two service boxes - one on the deuce court and one on the ad court. Servers alternate hitting into each box during a game.
In tennis, you serve from the baseline (the furthest line from the net) on the right or left side of the ‘T’ or ‘hash mark’ (the short line perpendicular to the baseline), depending on the point. To start the game, you serve on the right side on the ‘T’, aiming your serve over the net and into the designated box on the opposite side of the court (the ‘deuce box’). You alternate, serving into each serving box (the other box is called the ‘ad court box’) until the game is won or lost.
The serve has many steps for effective execution. Step 1 is to get a good stance. Step 2 is to select your target. Step 3 is to make sure you have the right grip. Step 4 is to toss the ball high in the air so you can extend and hit it with the racquet face. Step 5 is to strike the ball. Step 6 is to finish your swing. Step 7 is to finish the swing and prepare for the next shot
When the server’s ball touches the net and still lands in the service box, one would "let" the ball pass and replay the point, so the umpire calls “let”.
In tennis, players get two chances to make the serve per point (first serve and second serve). The number of serves actually hit would be dictated by the number of points played in the game. A player could hit as few as four serves per game, or an unlimited amount in a game prolonged by many ‘deuce’ points.
An ace is when the returner cannot make contact with the ball. The server automatically wins the point when this happens.
Ivo Karlovic, the six-foot eleven-inch player from Croatia, is thought to have the best serve and has hit the most aces (points won by an unreturnable serve) in the history of the sport.