Tennis Scoring System Explained (Full Guide)
In most sports, when you look at the scoreboard, even without knowing the sport itself, you are able to tell who is winning and what’s happening. However, it’s a totally different story in tennis.
I remember when I first saw tennis on tv before I was introduced to tennis personally; I was so confused because I didn’t understand what the world was happening on the scoreboard. Luckily, it isn’t so confusing anymore when you learn about it, and that’s what you’ll learn in this article.
So why is tennis scored so weirdly?
The tennis scoring system is weird because of its early version, Jeu de Paume. In Jeu de Paume, the court has 45ft on each side of the net, and each time a player scored a point, he moved 15ft closer. As the 45ft mark was too close to the net, the last move was only 10ft long, hence 0, 15, 30, 40, game.
There are many theories around the scoring system, but the influence from Jeu de Paume is the most believed and adopted to this day.
Another theory is that the scoring system comes from the clock-face. This is because when a tennis player scored a point, the clock-face was used as a scoreboard and turned quarter of an hour to 15 to 30, and to 40. However, researchers and tennis historians have dismissed this theory because the Jou de Paume theory is far more believable and likely.
How Did Tennis Scoring Start
Before diving deeper into the subject, you probably want to know why on earth is tennis scored this way and not like 1,2,3.. like normally most sports are scored. Take a trip with me to the history and let’s find out.
In order to further understand why tennis is scored the way it is, we need to talk about Jeu de Paume. Jeu de Paume is a French sport that was particularly popular in the 16th and 17th centuries. It’s the original predecessor of tennis, and it was even in the first summer Olympics in 1908!
However, Jeu de Paume isn’t a close copy of tennis; in fact, there are many considerable differences. First of all, Jeu de Paume was played on an indoor court, and you could strike the walls with the ball like in squash.
When it comes to the rules, every time a player gained a point, they moved 15 feet forward towards the net. As the net has a 45ft length of space on each side of the net, the third advance would be directly under the net; hence the 45ft mark was turned to 40. That’s why the tennis scoring system is what it is.
Jeu de Paume isn’t in its former glory. In fact, most people haven’t even heard of it in the modern-day. However, tennis, on the other hand, is known to most people walking on earth, so that’s why it’s one of the most played sports in the world.
Why Do They Call It Love in tennis?
As the tennis scoring system goes 0, 15, 30, 40, game, the 0 part of it has another name that is love. The tennis scoring system is weird as it is, and it is even weirder when 0 points are suddenly called love. Why is that?
Love means zero in tennis, and the reason why it is called love is that tennis should be played for love to the sport. If one doesn’t score points in tennis but is left with zero points which are called love, it shouldn’t matter because one should play for love for the sport.
There are more theories on where exactly does word love comes from, but this theory is the far the most accepted theory of all. The word love symbolizes that one should keep playing the game even if they haven’t scored any points because playing tennis, challenging yourself, and having fun while doing it enough of a reason to play tennis.
Why Does Tennis Go From 30 to 40
Tennis goes from 30 to 40 instead of 45 because of an early version of tennis called Jeu de Paume. In Jeu de Paume, there is a 45ft length of space on both sides of the court, and a player moves 15ft towards when a score is made. However, in the third advance, they would be directly under the net, hence, 40.
It is widely believed that the tennis scoring system is taken from the advances on Jeu de Paume, and a player simply can’t be under the net, so in the third and last advance, the player moved only 10ft forward instead of 15, which made 40ft moved in total instead of 45ft.
What Is The Point After 40 In Tennis?
When a player has advanced to point 40, the next point is ”game”. This means that the player has won the game, and six games are required to win a set. In tennis, the whole match is played either best of three or best of five sets.
What Does It Mean When It’s 40-40 In Tennis
When the score is 40-40 in tennis, it is called a deuce. A deuce means that one player must win by two points in order to win the game. Therefore, when the score is 40-40, the winner is who first scores a 2 point difference from the other.
My Favorite Tennis Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Below you’ll find my top tennis equipment recommendations would like.
- Racket: My preferred tennis racket is the Wilson Ultra 100 V3. This racket is made from graphite and carbon fiber, making it durable, firm, and easy to swing. The racket weighs 300g, making it lightweight yet not too lightweight to generate power. The racket’s main benefit is power. I like to add multifilament strings to the racket, such as Wilson NXT Soft 16 (recommended tension 52lb/23.5kg), because they are comfortable and soft on the arm with a great feel to the game.
- Tennis balls: Best tennis balls are always pressurized, and I like them having extra-duty felt, which is fit for hard court play. I like Penn Championship Tennis Balls, and so does the ITF because these balls are approved for competitive play. So yes, these are the real deal.
- Tennis shoes: I can’t stress enough the importance of comfortable and supporting shoes. ASICS Gel-Resolution 8 tennis shoes are unique because the balance between durability and support mixed with comfort is something out of the ordinary.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.