Twelve-year-old tennis prodigy Ryoma Echizen begins attending Seishun Academy Middle School in Tokyo, Japan, and joins its boys's tennis team. After proving his superior ability in tennis during the ranking matches, he becomes a regular in the team, knocking third-year Sadaharu Inui off temporarily.
Sumire Ryuzaki, Seigaku's team coach, states that Ryoma had won four tennis tournaments back in America and was known as the "Prince of Tennis." His father is the legendary "Samurai Nanjiro," who abruptly retired from his professional tennis career despite his obvious talent. Ryoma eventually develops new playing styles, techniques, and improves drastically.
Although his tennis was originally a copy of his father's, he soon outgrew that through the guidance of Seigaku team captain Kunimitsu Tezuka. He and the rest of the Seigaku regulars aim to win the National Tournament. Ryoma and the Seigaku regulars run into many rivals, friends, and people whose talents far surpass that of the past tennis generations'. Some even consider their generation as the "Golden Age" of Junior Tennis, with some players utilizing techniques that were on a professional level.
Seigaku loses and struggles through many matches in the hands of other tennis teams, but also develops unlikely friendships with the same teams after their matches. The original Prince of Tennis manga ends with the second face-off between Seigaku and Rikkai Daigaku Fuzoku Chuu (Rikkaidai), the formidable two-peat Nationals champions under the leadership of the Big Three: Renji Yanagi, an old friend of Inui's who taught him data tennis; Genichirō Sanada, the strict vice-captain, and; Seiichi Yukimura, the team captain with unprecedented talent in tennis, and considered by some to be the number one tennis player in the Japan junior high tennis circuit. Ryoma manages to defeat Yukimura after achieving The Pinnacle of Perfection's last door, Teni'Muhou no Kiwami, resulting in the victory of Seigaku, 3-2, and their institution as the new National champions.
In the New Prince of Tennis, Ryoma returns from America after middle school students (which included Seigaku regulars and other teams that Seigaku competed with in the past season) were invited to the U-17 Training Camp. A camp that was originally for high schools, the U-17 Camp opened its doors to the middle school students due to their tennis capabilities. Release of the manga and OVAs are ongoing, as Ryoma continues his tennis adventures with his friends and rivals from Seigaku, Hyotei, Shitenhouji, Fudomine, Yamabuki, Rikkaidai, St. Rudolph, and the high-schoolers.