How do you keep score in tennis and why is it dome that way?

How do you keep score in tennis and why is it dome that way?
  • 22 Jul 2023

The Basics of Scoring in Tennis

As a passionate tennis player, I've always found the scoring system to be one of the most curious and intriguing aspects of the game. It's a system that's unique and unlike what we see in most other sports. The first section of this article will provide a detailed breakdown of the basic scoring system in tennis, including how points, games, and sets are counted.

Each game in tennis starts at zero, or 'love'. As the game progresses, points are scored in a sequence of 15, 30, and 40. If a player scores another point after reaching 40, they win the game, unless the score is tied at 40-40, also known as 'deuce'. From deuce, a player needs to score two consecutive points to win the game. This pattern repeats until one player wins the game.

Understanding the Term 'Love' in Tennis

Now, you might be wondering, why do we start at 'love' in tennis? This is a question that most new tennis players ask. In this section, I'll delve into the history and meaning behind the use of the term 'love' in tennis scoring.

There are several theories about the origin of the term 'love' in tennis. One popular theory suggests that it comes from the French word for egg, 'l'oeuf', because an egg looks like the number zero. Another theory suggests that it refers to the idea of playing for the love of the game, rather than for points or money.

The Significance of Scoring in 15s

Another unique aspect of tennis scoring is the progression of points in increments of 15. It's a system that can seem odd to newcomers, but there's a fascinating history behind it. In this section, I'll explain why points in tennis are counted in 15s.

The reason for scoring in 15s is thought to date back to the origins of the game, when a clock face was used to keep score. Each point represented a quarter of an hour, or 15 minutes. However, when the score reached 45 (for three points), it was simplified to 40 to keep the scoring concise and easy to call out.

What is 'Deuce' in Tennis?

If you've ever watched a tennis match, you've likely heard the term 'deuce'. Deuce in tennis is a crucial part of the scoring system, and it can often be the turning point in a game. In this section, I'll discuss what deuce means in tennis and why it's so significant.

Deuce occurs when the score is tied at 40-40. At deuce, a player must win two consecutive points to win the game. This rule creates an exciting and tense situation, as the game can continue indefinitely until one player achieves the required two-point lead.

The Set and Match Scoring System

Aside from individual games, understanding the scoring system for sets and matches is also crucial in tennis. The set and match scoring system is what determines the overall winner of a tennis match. In this section, I'll explain how sets and matches are scored in tennis.

A set is won by the first player to win six games, but they must be ahead by at least two games. If the set reaches 6-6, a tie-break game is played to decide the set. A match is usually best of three or five sets, depending on the competition.

Why is Tennis Scored This Way?

After understanding the complex scoring system of tennis, the next logical question is - why is tennis scored this way? In this final section, I'll explore the reasons behind the unique scoring system in tennis.

The unique scoring system in tennis is thought to create a balance between skill and luck, and to increase the excitement and unpredictability of the game. The requirement to win by two points at deuce, or to win by two games in a set, means that a player can't simply rely on a few lucky points to win. They must consistently outplay their opponent to secure a victory. This makes tennis not just a game of physical skill, but also a mental battle.