Playing Tennis with 5 Players: An Unconventional Spin on a Classic Game

Tennis, one of the most popular sports globally, is traditionally played as a singles or doubles game.

However, as versatile as it is entertaining, the sport can easily be adapted to fit various group sizes – even a group of five.

While this may not conform to professional tennis rules, informal games or practice sessions can comfortably accommodate five players.

This arrangement allows for intriguing dynamics, ensures everyone remains involved, and provides a fun, creative way to improve skills.

Let’s explore some of the formats used when playing tennis with five players.

Adapting Tennis Rules for Five Players

When playing tennis with five players, the game’s dynamic changes substantially.

Instead of a straightforward match-up of singles or doubles, new formats have to be introduced to ensure fair play and participation for everyone.

One method is to rotate players in and out of the game.

One player could play the role of the server and rotate out after each game, giving all players a chance to serve and keep the game moving.

This rotation method has the added advantage of ensuring everyone gets a chance to play and rest, maintaining interest and energy levels throughout the game.

Game: Triples with 5 & 6 players

The “King of the Court” Format

A popular format for a five-player game is “King of the Court”.

In this format, one player is the “king” and remains on one side of the court, while the other four players rotate in and out as challengers.

The rules are simple: the challenger who wins a point against the king becomes the new king and takes over the single side of the court.

This format is an excellent way to improve your serve and return game.

The king has to defend their position continuously, allowing for consistent practice under pressure.

Challengers, on the other hand, get the opportunity to hone their strategies, aiming to dethrone the king.

The “Canadian Doubles” Variation

Another exciting format for five-player tennis is ‘Canadian Doubles.’

In this version, two players play against one on the same court.

The pair of players get to work together against the single player, putting their doubles strategies and tactics to the test.

This format provides an additional challenge for the lone player, who gets to improve their defensive and offensive skills simultaneously.

The Canadian Doubles variant is an excellent way to ensure that everyone gets involved in the game, despite the odd number of players.

It can be a fun and challenging adaptation of traditional doubles, offering unique opportunities for strategic play and skill development.

The Benefits of Five-Player Tennis

Playing tennis with five players offers numerous benefits.

It’s a fantastic way to incorporate everyone in the game, especially when the group size is not conducive to traditional singles or doubles matches.

This setup promotes fairness, inclusivity, and ensures everyone gets to play, making the game enjoyable for all.

Furthermore, these adaptations can enhance skill development.

Whether it’s learning to serve under pressure in the King of the Court format, working on doubles strategies in Canadian Doubles, or simply improving general gameplay through rotations, players get ample opportunities to grow and improve.


While tennis is traditionally played with two or four players, adapting the game to include five players provides a fun, challenging, and engaging twist to the classic game.

Whether you’re organizing a casual match among friends or a practice session, consider the formats described here for an unconventional yet enjoyable game of tennis.

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