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The following information is a simplified summary of the Laws, not a complete reproduction. The definitive source of the Laws is the IBF Laws publication, although the digital distribution of the Laws contains poor reproductions of the diagrams.
Playing court dimensions
The court is rectangular and divided into halves by a net. Courts are almost always marked for both singles and doubles play, although the laws permit a court to be marked for singles only. The doubles court is wider than the singles court, but both are the same length. The exception, which often causes confusion to newer players is the doubles court has a shorter serve-length dimension.
The full width of the court is 6.1 metres (20 ft), and in singles this width is reduced to 5.18 metres (17 ft). The full length of the court is 13.4 metres (44 ft). The service courts are marked by a centre line dividing the width of the court, by a short service line at a distance of 1.98 metres (6.5 ft) from the net, and by the outer side and back boundaries. In doubles, the service court is also marked by a long service line, which is 0.78 metres (2 ft 6 inch) from the back boundary.
The net is 1.55 metres (5 ft 1 inch) high at the edges and 1.524 metres (5 ft) high in the centre. The net posts are placed over the doubles side lines, even when singles is played.
Scoring system and service
Each game is played up to 21 points, with players scoring a point whenever they win a rally (this differs from the old system, where players could only win a point on their serve). A match is the best of three games.
At the start of the rally, the server and receiver stand in diagonally opposite service courts (see court dimensions). The server hits the shuttlecock so that it would land in the receiver's service court. This is similar to tennis, except that a badminton serve must be hit from below the waist in underhand form (upwards), the shuttlecock is not allowed to bounce, and in tennis the players stand outside their service courts.
In singles, the server stands in his right service court when his score is even, and in his left service court when his score is odd.
In doubles, if the serving side wins a rally, the same player continues to serve, but he changes service courts so that he serves to each opponent in turn. When the serving side loses a rally, the serve passes to their opponents (unlike the old system, there is no "second serve"). If their new score is even, the player in the right service court serves; if odd, the player in the left service court serves. The players' service courts are determined by their positions at the start of the previous rally, not by where they were standing at the end of the rally.