What Is An Ace In Tennis? (Meaning & Rules Fully Explained)

There are many different shots to hit and score a point in tennis. The easiest way to score a point for the serving player is to hit an ace. But what is an ace in tennis?

An ace in tennis is when the serving player hits a serve into the service box, and the receiving player fails to touch the ball with the racket. The point is counted as an ace only if the receiving player does not touch the ball with the racket. So an ace is also counted as a winner in tennis.

As you have just read, hitting an ace is an important weapon for the serving player. But what rules are attached to this, and how do players hit an ace? I will explain that to you in this article.

What Does an Ace Mean in Tennis?

An ace is a unique way to score a point in tennis with the least possible effort.

In tennis, an ace can only be hit by the serving player. This is because an ace can only be hit after a serve. There is no other game situation in which an ace can be hit.

An ace counts when the serving player hits a serve that the receiving player cannot return. It is essential that the opponent does not hit the ball with the racket, in which case it’s counted as an ace.

If the opponent manages to hit the ball with the racket but fails to keep the ball in play, the point will, of course, be won - but in this case, it will not count as an ace.

Therefore, having a good serve is of great importance for a tennis player, as you can only win an ace point after hitting a serve.

Since there is no rally from which a point has to be won following a serve, hitting an ace also saves a lot of energy.

This can be a huge advantage, especially when playing long matches.

So, how do you get an ace in tennis?

In order to hit an ace in tennis, the serving player must hit the ball into the service box, and the receiving player must not hit the ball with the racket. When the receiving player fails to hit the ball with their racket, the point scored is called an ace.

Why is it Called an Ace in Tennis?

As is often the case with similar terms, the term “ace” has an origin that goes way back in time.

The word “ace” is said to have descended from the French or Latin word “as,” which means “a single unit.”

The Romans used the word as a name for a small coin. Later, the term “ace” was used in various games in Europe to indicate the lowest score or value.

From the early 19th century, the word was used in various sports, meaning “single point.” In 1889, “ace” was introduced to tennis as a term for an unreturned serve.

How Common is an Ace in Tennis?

An ace is a regular occurrence in tennis, especially in professional tennis. However, the frequency in which these occur during a match depends entirely on the players.

During matches between players with a good serve, an ace is more common.

But in addition to the serve, the return of players also plays a role in how many aces are scored during a match.

Take Ivo Karlovic, for instance, one of the best serving players in tennis history.

The number of aces he hits during a match depends on his own service, as well as on the return of his opponent.

Suppose he were to play against Novak Djokovic, one of the best returners in tennis.

In that case, Ivo Karlovic will most likely score fewer aces than if he were playing against a player who has a lesser return.

In addition, the surface that is played on can also influence the number of aces that are scored.

For instance, more aces will be hit on faster surfaces such as hardcourt and grass than on clay. This is because the receiving player has less time to react.

In addition, the ball bounces higher on clay, making it easier for the returning player to return the ball.

This is why the frequency of aces occurring in a tennis match depends on several factors.

So, what is the average number of aces in a tennis game?

If we look at the top 100 players that scored the most aces per match, most of them hit between 4 and 11 aces. On average, this group hits 8 aces per match.

Can You Get an Ace on a Second Serve?

An ace can be hit on either the first or second serve in tennis. In either case, the term “ace” is used when the receiving player fails to hit the ball with the racket.

It is also possible to hit an ace with an underhand serve. However, this is very unlikely, as this way of serving does not give the ball a lot of speed.

So, in the end, it’s not about how a player serves (underhand or overhand), or whether it’s a first or second serve, to be able to count the point as an “ace.”

All that matters is that the ball is served inside the serving box and that the receiving player does not hit the ball with the racket.

Is an Ace a Winner in Tennis?

To determine whether an ace is a winner, it is good first to explain the definition of a winner in tennis.

The proper definition of a winner is a forcing shot that the opponent cannot reach, winning you the point. With a winner, the opponent cannot reach the ball with the racket and, therefore, hit back.

So, does an ace count as a winner in tennis?

In tennis, an ace is counted as a winner. This is because, with an ace, the opponent is unable to touch the ball with their racket, which is a requirement for a winner.

How do Tennis Players Hit an Ace?

Hitting an ace always seems very simple, but nothing is further from the truth. There is more to hitting an ace than one might think.

This is also why not all players manage to hit a lot of aces.

In general, most aces are hit by players with a hard and fast serve. However, other factors besides just speed increase the chance of hitting an ace.

For example, it is crucial to place the ball correctly at the right angle. The ball will fly wider out of the court when done correctly, preventing the receiving player from hitting the ball with their racket.

A serve with a lot of spin can also cause the ball to spin away after landing in the receiving player’s serving box. As such, it is impossible to reach the ball with the racket in many cases.

That is why it’s not all about speed when hitting an ace. A serve with a lot of spin does not have to be hard at all but can still result in an ace.

One of the key factors in hitting a lot of aces is variety.

It is very important to have a lot of variety in your serve. This makes it much more difficult for the receiving player to predict where the serve will land.

When a player has trouble reading and predicting the opponent’s serve, they will often move a little further from the serving box to build in extra margin.

The player gives themselves more time to react and hit the serve by doing so.

Applying variation creates more opportunities for the serving player to hit an ace. This allows them to hit an ace from multiple angles or let the ball spin away from the receiving player through a serve with a lot of spin.

Because the receiving player has moved further from the serving box due to the unpredictability of the serve, they will also have more difficulty reaching the ball with the racket.

Key points for hitting an ace:

  • Speed ​​of the ball (fast or slow)
  • Hitting the right angles
  • Give spin to the ball
  • Applying variation to serve

Which Tennis Player Has The Most Aces?

Ivo Karlovic is the tennis player with the most aces. He has hit a total of 13,728 aces in a total of 694 games, meaning he has been hitting multiple aces in a game.

Standing at 6 feet and 11 inches (211 cm), he is the tallest player to have ever been part of the world’s top 100. This has presumably helped with acquiring the speed of his serves.


As you have been able to read, it is essential that the receiving player does not hit the ball with their racket.

According to the tennis rules, it’s only in this case that the serve will be counted as an ace, as well as a winner.

There is more to hitting a lot of aces than just a hard serve. Ball placement, right angles, and variation are also important factors contributing to hitting an ace.

Brian Henderson

I am what you might call a true tennis fanatic. When I am not on the tennis court teaching or playing myself, I am probably writing an informative article about tennis. My goal is to get as many people as possible excited and informed about tennis.
March 8, 2022
Published: March 8, 2022