Tennis Elbow 2013

Tennis game



This is the documentation for TE2013, not TE4.

Globally, it still explains correctly most of the gameplay concepts.

I'll update the documentation to TE4 once all the new gameplay concepts will have been integrated.

There are only 2 important new things to know :

You'll find the new skills explained in the TEM2 documentation here : .



I. Introduction
II. The Shareware
III. Menus
IV. Network (not available on Mac OSX & Linux)

V. Game

VI. Tournament mode

VII. Tennis Rules Summary
VIII. Conclusion
IX. Order full version

Read the agreement license


Free Newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter to be notified when we release a new version of the game. In addition, you will get special discounts, game hints, and more!

You will receive about one newsletter per month.

Your email address will be kept confidential. You can unsubscribe at any time. Our newsletter is 100% ad-free. Just enter your email address below and click the "Go!" button.



 I. Introduction 

Tennis Elbow is a tennis game, with a realistic fun gameplay, simulating pro-level tennis.
To configure the controllers and the resolution, run "Configuration" (from Start->Programs->Tennis Elbow 2009).

Minimum system requirements on Windows :

Recommended system requirements on Windows :






 II. The Shareware 

Tennis Elbow is a game published in shareware. You can play it and test it before to order it, but you have these limitations:

Moreover, after 14 days, only the warm up and online mode will be available, and if you want to play matches and get access to the full version's features, you will have to register your version to enjoy the totality of the game. Once paid (by check, Paypal, credit card, etc...), a key (a small file) will be sent to you by email, allowing you to unblock the game.

Order the full version now!

You can have a copy of this version on your hard drive or removable media for test only. You can't sell this version, but you can copy it freely to everybody, as long as you don't modify it.

If you regularly play this game, you should pay the authors to encourage them to continue to create quality products.


 III. Menus 

In the menus:

You control the little rotating ball with the mouse; bring the ball on any icon and click on the button 1 to activate the icon; when the ball is on an icon, its description appears in the bottom box. You can also change the active icon with the keyboard or the joystick.

Default icons:

In many menus, you will have a bar of icon on the right side. These icons give you access to the configuration menus for profiles, controls, sound, video, and misc options.

"Main" menu:

"Training Club" menu:

"Character Sheet" menu:

"Customize Character" menu:

"World Tour" menu:

"In Game" menu:


 IV. Network 
(not available on Mac OSX & Linux)

/!\ Important:

"Network" menu:

"Host game" menu:

"Join game" menu:

"Internet Games" menu:

Skill Modes:

if you don't meet the requirements of the Fair or Realistic modes, the game engine will automatically adjust your skills.

Examples of Skill Remapping :

Initial Skill Value 0% 30% 50% 70% 100%
Result for Skills in Realistic Mode 30% 48% 60% 72% 90%
Result for Service & Forehand Skills in Fair Play Mode 20% 35% 45% 55% 70%
Result for Backhand Skills in Fair Play Mode 15% 30% 40% 50% 65%
Result for Other Skills in Fair Play Mode 25% 40% 50% 60% 75%

Skill Remapping formulas :

Game creation:

Once you created a game, and waiting for a player to join, you can swap to another application. Tennis Elbow will play a warning sound as soon as a player joins your game.

On the next screen, you have to set the "Delay". If you're not sure how to choose it, set it to "Auto", wait about 5 seconds, then click on "Play".

The Delay is the latency time that Tennis Elbow adds between the time you actionnate your controller (keyboard, gamepad, etc...) to move your player, and the time this information is actually processed to make your player move. This allows keeping both PCs synchronized. In short, the higher the Delay, the more latency it'll have between the time you give a command and the time your player will react.

The Delay is an internal latency which allows Tennis Elbow to run in parallel on your PC and your opponent's one. There's a aiming dead time which lasts half of the Delay, just before you hit the ball. During that time, the game considers you're pressing left (or right) if you were pressing left (or right) just before the start of that aiming dead time ; on the opposite, the game considers you're pressing nothing if you were pressing nothing just before the start of the dead time. Concretely, it means if you press left to aim to the left, and that you release left just before hitting the ball, your aiming won't come back to the center like when you're playing against the computer. So you need to prepare your aiming at the right time because you won't be able to fix an overaiming at the last instant, especially when you play with a high delay. Note that it's also the recommended way to do while playing against the computer, to have a consistent aiming.

In short : when the Delay is high, the game won't detect your shot selection and your aiming if you don't prepare your strike early enough.

To have the game running at a normal speed, the Delay must be at least half of the ping. For example, if you usually have a maximum ping of 100ms with your opponent, then you must set the Delay to 50ms or more.

Join a game:

When you join a game, you just have to wait for the host to set the Delay and launch the game. To know the Delay set by the host, you can press F4 during the game to see the match statistics : the Delay is shown on the bottom right.

During the game:

Name protection:

The users who purchased the full version of the game have their online nickname protected. If someone else tries to use their nickname, it'll be prefixed by "[Fake] ".


The ELO score gives an approximation of your level of play compared to all other players. Its goal is to help you to find other players who are more or less as good as you, to play more interesting matches. Its goal is not to determine who is the best Tennis Elbow player, because it's way too much approximated. You need to play around 50-100 matches to have an accurate enough score.

The better the player you beat, and the less games you lose, the most ELO points you will get ; this ELO-type score can raise when you lose against a more good player than you, if you won a lot of games (example: 6/7), and can lower when you win against a more weak player than you, if you lost a lot of games (example: 7/6)

ELO Penalty:

If you quit before the end of the match, you'll get a 3% penalty to your ELO. But if for more than 1 minute your opponent swaps to another application or stays in the menus or watches the replay, you can quit without penalty, if you passed this minute in the game, without opening the menus, nor swapped to another application, nor watched the replay.


Sometimes, when you play online, you'll see the message "Desynchronization detected". It means your game and your opponent game lost their synchronization, and different things happened on your computer and their computer. In such case, the games will be resynchronized, and you'll have to replay the point.

In case you have a lot of desynchronizations (ie: more than 1 every 5 points), it probably means that you and/or your opponent installed a Mod that changes the way the game engine works, or that your game installation got corrupted. In such case, you and/or your opponent must remove any installed Mod & restart Tennis Elbow, or uninstall then reinstall Tennis Elbow, to be able to play Online normally again.


 V. Game 

Available strikes:
(b1 = button n°1; b2 = button n°2)

On Service :

Up and down are inverted when you control the player who is on the top of the screen.

Gestures :

At end of the point, you can do a gesture by pressing b1+b2, and up, down, left or right ;


How to play ?

Movements, strikes & aiming:

When you press no button, push the joystick (or the arrow keys) in the direction you want to run.
When you press the buttons, your player moves slowly to the ideal position, and the more you push the Joystick on the left (or the right), the more the ball will go to the left (or the right).

==>> You must keep the button(s) pressed when you hit the ball !

When you don't give any special direction, the ball goes to the center of the opposite side.

The closer you are from the net, the faster you'll aim to the left or the right. Therefore, you need only a tiny fraction of second to send the ball on the line when you stand at net, while you'll need 2 or 3 times more time when you stand several meters after the baseline.

At the net, when the ball is too far away of your player, press the button to make him jump toward the ball.

Strike accuracy:

The more you hold the button early, the more your strike will be accurate. Indeed, if you press the button at the very last moment, your ball could go to a very wide zone, but if you press 1 second early, the zone will be very noticeably smaller.

You can see the aiming & accuracy zone when your "Preview" is set to "All + Danger Zone + Aiming". In this case, you'll see in real time the spot your aiming at, as well as the zone around where the ball can go.

Strike depth:

The more you prepare early, the more :

But if you don't center the ball or if you're mispositioned, your short strikes will be more long, and your other strikes will be more short.

Danger Zone:

At tennis, when the ball is rising, just after the rebound, it's harder to hit it, especially when it's fast. The zone where it's dangerous to hit the ball is displayed when your "Preview" is set to "All + Danger Zone" or above.

If you strike the ball while you stand in the red part of the "Danger Zone", you might lose control of the ball and send it either in the net or too long.

If you stand in the orange part, then you might lose accuracy on your strike, and you'll see the aiming zone getting bigger (if you have set the "Preview" on "All + Danger Zone + Aiming").

Moreover, standing in the red or orange part will make you lose some power on your strike, especially when you try to do accelerations.

Center the ball:

At tennis, it's very important to strike the ball with the center of the cords, on the side of your body. If you try to strike the ball when it's coming onto your body, it's a lot harder to do a good shot.

For this reason, when you want to do an acceleration, a dropshot or a volley, you must be very careful on your positioning, else you could lose the control of the ball, or lose some accuracy, depending of the scale of your positioning mistake, exactly in the same way than when you position yourself in the red part of the "Danger Zone".

But to off center the ball gives also some handicaps on other strikes : usually, it'll make you do a shorter strike if you try to do a normal strike, and a longer strike if you try to do a short strike. You can also lose some power in your strike, especially when you do an acceleration.

When you miss a shot, sending the ball out or in the net, an icon with a player striking the ball will appear in a corner of the screen to show if you off centered the ball or not :

Lob & Dropshot:

The lob and the dropshot are done in the same way than the other strikes, but if you try to do them on a too fast incoming ball, then you'll send the ball longer than expected.

Moreover, when you do a lob while running too fast, you send the ball in the same direction than your run.

Arcade, Simulation & Elite Controls:

By default, the controls are in Simulation mode, but if you feel the game is too hard, that you do too much random faults, then you can swap the controls to Arcade mode, from the icon in the Character Sheet of your player. In this case, the power & accuracy losses because of positioning mistakes in the "Danger Zone" and off center ball strikes are divided by 2. Moreover, the rate at which the aiming zone decreases is doubled, therefore after half of second of strike preparation in Arcade mode you'll get the same accuracy than after one second in the Simulation mode. Turning on Arcade mode for your player doesn't apply it to the CPU player(s).

On the opposite, if the game is too easy for you, or if you wish to have more errors, then you can swap to Elite mode. In this mode, the effects of the Danger Zone are stronger and the precision of the aiming zone is lowered. When you turn on this for your player, it'll also apply to the CPU player(s), so it'll give you a fair match.


The service is executed with the same method than the other shots, with a slight difference: whatever the buttons combination, a push-up causes a slice and a push-down causes a top spin effect. You can move your player to the left or to the right to find a special angle for your service.

You can also release your button(s) slightly before striking the ball on your serve ; when doing serve & volley, this technique will allow you to reach the net slightly more easily ; to use that feature, release the pressed button(s), then release the direction (if needed) and then push forward (+ left/right if needed) ; it also works for walking backward, but in that case, the effectiveness is quite lowered.


The player 1's score is written in the upper slots of the score blackboard, and the player 2's score is written in the bottom slots. If the little ball is in the upper slot, then it's the player 1 who serves, else it's the player 2.

Ball Trace:

If in the character sheet "Preview" is set to "Service" or above, then during the service, the ball's impact mark is shown early to help you.
If "Preview" is set to "Service + Rally" or above, then during rallies, the ball's impact mark is shown early to help you.

Shoulder height acceleration:

When you do an acceleration while the ball is around your shoulder height, you get an extra bonus speed to your strike. This bonus is more or less big depending of :


If in your character sheet "Tiredness" is off then your player will get tired only from his acceleration strikes.

You have a limited number of good accelerations per point, which depends of your stamina percentage. Once you used them all, your accelerations will become more and more imprecise & powerless each time your try to do one more. When you strike your last good acceleration and the next ones, some smoke evades your racket to indicate it.

If in your character sheet "Tiredness" is on then your player will get tired from his strikes & running.

During the match, you'll see 2 bars on the screen to help you to track your tiredness :

The basic behavior is :

You lose energy when :

The more your Instant Energy bar goes under 20%, the more :

The more your Overall Energy bar goes under 50%, the more :

You get back energy :

When your Instant Energy is below 25%, you get some back during rally if you stand still, but it goes up very slowly.


Keyboard shortcuts:

Characteristics' Influence:

Forehand & Backhand:

The higher your power is, the stronger you hit the ball, especially on the normal strike, the topspin and the accelerations.

The higher your consistency is :

The precision skill is relative to the power one. For example, having 60% in power and 70% in precision will give you as much precision in your strikes as having 30% in power and 40% in precision.

Therefore, the more your precision is above your power, the less time you need to prepare your strike to make it accurate. And the more your precision is below your power, the more time you need to prepare your strike to make it accurate.

Having precision above power also increases the effectiveness & speed of your short strike & short acceleration.

1-handed vs 2-handed strikes:

Compared to the 1-handed forehand & backhand, the 2-handed backhand & forehand are :


Like the forehand and the backhand, the service precision is relative to its power: having 80% in power and 70% in precision will give you as much precision in your serve as having 50% in power and 40% in precision.

When you serve using b1+b2, you try to do your fastest serve possible. If you power is equal to your consistency, then you have 70% chances of success. If your power is above your consistency, then you have less than 70% chances of success, and in the opposite case, you have more than 70% chances of success.

When you serve using b2, you have 100% chances of success ; the speed of your serve depends of your power, and the difference between your power and your consistency.

When you serve using b1, you do a serve between the b1+b2 & b2 ones. If your power and your consistency are equals, then you have 85% chances of success.

The average maximal speed of your serve depends mainly of your power:

Power Percentage
Average maximal speed

140 km/h

87 mph

160 km/h

100 mph

177 km/h

110 mph

196 km/h

123 mph

215 km/h

136 mph


Volley & Smash:

Depending of the strike you do, the Net Presence skill is combined with the volley forehand, volley backhand or smash skill, to define the precision and the consistency of your strike. The power doesn't depend of the Net Presence.

Except that, the volleys & smashes work like the forehands and backhands from the baseline.

Moreover, the higher your Net Presence is, the more you can run while striking the ball without getting any handicap.

When you play at the net, you need to have high volley skills if you want to strike winners that overwhelm your opponent. Also, the normal strike at the net is only a ball pushing, which often will be too slow to be out of your opponent reach, even if it's well placed. If you want to do winning volleys, you should use the acceleration, but only on easy balls, i.e. not too high, not too low nor too fast, else you might do a fault.

Lob & Dropshot:

The lob and dropshot skills define your ability to do lobs and dropshots, but each skill is balanced with the skills of the forehand or the backhand, depending if you're doing a forehand or a backhand.

The higher this balanced skill is, the more you'll keep the control of the fast incoming balls, being able to normally execute your strike, without sending the ball too long.


The counter skill is the ability to use the incoming ball speed to send it back faster. So the counter skill gives you a speed bonus of up to 7.5 km/h on your normal and topspin strikes when the ball is coming really fast.

Moreover, the higher your counter skill is, the less you are constrained by fast incoming balls, but the slow incoming balls are also a bit less easy for you.


The topspin is the effect from down to up given to the ball by the racket during the strike, which makes it spin quickly on itself. Topspin balls have more curved trajectories, with a higher and quicker rebound which forces your opponent to step back. But beware, the topspin has very little effect on fast surface, especially on grass.

The higher your topspin skill is, the more you will give topspin on your strikes, especially with the normal strike, the topspin strike and the acceleration. A topspin ball gives more accuracy on length, but it loses some gross speed.


The higher your speed is, the more:


The smaller you are, the quicker you accelerate your run. But this bonus is very small, just big enough to compensate the difference of wingspan with taller players, so that it doesn't give a handicap to play with a smaller player.


The stamina defines the maximum number of accelerations you can do before they lose in accuracy and power because of the tiredness:

Aggressive Lob
0% - 24%
25% - 49%
50% - 74%
75% - 99%

On your 2nd serve, if you use B1+B2, it counts like 1 acceleration, and if you use B1, it counts like half an acceleration. The 1st serve doesn't tire your player.

Play style:

Depending of your play style you choose, you'll get different bonus and handicap.

Note: when Tiredness is on, the extra acceleration bonus means your accelerations are less tiring ; also Counter style acceleration is tiring as a normal strike.


Level & SubLevel:

These set the overall CPU strength. The SubLevel allows you to finely set its strength between 2 levels. If you set the SubLevel at 1, then it will be just a very little bit stronger than playing at the Level below with the SubLevel at 10.

On Beginner, Club & Junior levels, the CPU has a handicap on its skills. On Pro & Master levels, its skills work exactly like yours. On Incredible level, the CPU has a bonus on its skills.

The Pro level is designed to be the most realistic one. But you should pick the level that gives you the most fun to play with.

Statistics screen:

This screen shows the shots strength of a player, and the number of struck balls, the number of balls in, and the number of winners; there are also the number of aces, the double faults, and the run distance.
The player ranking appears only in tournament mode.
If you look at this screen during a warm-up or a match, the statistics displayed concern only the current game; if you access it by the player menu, the statistics are for the whole player career.


During doubles, the player n°1 will be with the player n°3, and the player n°2 will be with the player n°4.


 VI. Tournament mode 

In the World Tour, women have their power & their speed lowered of 25 points compared to the men. For example, if a woman has a forehand power of 75%, then she'll strike the ball as strongly as a man with a forehand power of 50%.

Automatically saved games:

When you exit Tennis Elbow by clicking on the "Exit" button, your game is automatically saved, and you will go on from where you stopped the next time you launch Tennis Elbow.

Moreover, your game is automatically saved over the past 3 weeks of play, over 3 different slots ; therefore, in case of problem (ie: if the game crashes or hangs for a reason or another), you will still have the possibility to restart from a recent saved game.

/!\ Note : when you play in windowed mode, and you exit Tennis Elbow by clicking on the little cross on top right of the Tennis Elbow window, your current game will be also automatically saved if you are in a menu with the "Exit" button ; but if this button isn't there, it's possible that your game won't be saved ; in this case, you will lose all your progress since the last automatically saved game.

Type of Career:

when you start a new game, you have the choice between 2 modes :

These 2 modes are very similar, but the Seasons mode contains 3 major differences :

Men's Rankings:

Women's Rankings:


In Full Career, before each tournament, the Training screen will pop up; this screen allows you to distribute the experience points you won during your previous matches.

For each available day between 2 tournaments, you can do 6 hours of training. Depending of the difficulty level, the training hours are more or less effective. Moreover, it needs 2 times more hours and experience points to train most of your skills between 60% & 89%, and 3 times more hours and experience points when they are between 90% & 99%.

In main draws, for each match won, you earn about 10~20 experience points; for each match lost, you earn 25 experience points, because defeats teach more than victories..! In qualification draw, these numbers of points are divided by 2. Moreover, in easiest levels (ie: Beginner & Club), you'll earn more points, and in hardest levels (ie: Master & Incredible), you'll earn less points.

But beware, every week, you lose a few points in your characteristics: if you don't practice, you'll regress inexorably. The higher a characteristic is, the faster it'll drop.

The topspin is a special skill, because it's the only one you can choose to lower. Indeed, on fast surface the topspin isn't much useful, and so it can be interesting to play a volleyer with a very low topspin.

End of year bonus : if you don't play during the last week of December (warning: this excludes the qualifications of tournaments happening on 1st week of the next year!), you'll get a small experience bonus, depending of the number of days you didn't play, up to 50 ( = from mid-November), for a total of ~35-45 experience points, depending of the difficulty level.

Note: if you win a tournament, it's always on Sunday. And if you start a new tournament the following week, often it'll be on Monday: you won't have any free day for training, so that's why you'll see 0 available day & hour in the training screen.

Default number of sets:

  Beginner & Club Junior & Pro Master & Incredible
Tournament type Normal Rounds / Final
Qualifications 1 1 2
Challenger 1/1 1/2 1/2
Int'l Series 1/1 1/2 2/2
Master Series 1/2 2/3 2/3
Grand Slam 2/3 3/3 3/3

If you activate the advanced options (within the "Misc Options" menus), a screen will appear when you create a new game, letting you set the number of sets as you wish.

The Masters:

You'll automatically participate in Masters if you are in the 8 best players when this tournament begins, or if you won a Grand Slam tournament. If not, you won't play it.
Its planning is a bit special. There are 2 groups of 4 players, and every player plays 3 matches. The 2 best players of each group will play semifinals, afterwards the 2 semifinal winners will meet in final.

Change the World Tour's players:

You can edit the players by opening the "Data\Players.*.ini" files with an advanced text editor (these files are quite big, so better to not open them with the Windows Notepad).


 VII. Tennis Rules Summary 

Rule 1. Opponents stand on opposite sides of the court. The player who delivers the ball to start the point is called the server. The player who stands opposite and cross-court from the server is the receiver.

Rule 2. The server shall stand behind the baseline within the boundaries of the singles court. All even points are served from the right part of the server court to the left service box on the opponent's court, and odd number points are served from the left part of the server court to the right service box on the opponent's court.

Rule 3. If the ball does not land in the service box, it is deemed a fault and a 2nd serve is given. If the server misses his target on 2nd serve, he loses the point. If the ball hits the net and goes in the correct service box, another serve is granted.

Rule 4. The receiver can stand where he likes, after the service line, but must let the ball bounce in the service box.

Rule 5. The server always calls his score first. The 1st point gives a score of 15. The second point is called 30. The third point is called 40 and game is won on the 4th point. If the score is 40-40, also known as deuce, one side must win by 2 points. The 1st of these 2 points is called Advantage. If the 2nd point isn't won by the same team, the score goes back to 40-40.

Rule 6. After the game, the opponents serve. Games equal 1. The first to win 6 games, by two, wins the set. The first to win 2 sets wins the match (3 sets in men Grand Slams and Davis Cup). If the score is 6-6, a tie-breaker is played. This is scored by one's. The 1st server serves once, then each team serves twice in turn. The first team to score 7 points winning by two wins the set.

Rule 7. If the ball goes into the net, or outside the boundaries of the court, the player who hits that ball loses the point. If the ball hits the net during the point and goes into the opponents court, the ball is in play.

Rule 8. A ball that lands on the line is good, even if it just partly touches it.

More details about rules & tennis glossary on Wikipedia : .


 VIII. Conclusion 

Have fun with Tennis Elbow 2013 !


A question, a suggestion ?
Contact: Web Form







Copyright Emmanuel Rivoire - ©1996-2013