OFFICIAL TENNIS SCORING RULES
is identical in the singles and doubles games. A tennis game
, when not prolonged by a tie, is played to four points, designated by the terms 15, 30, 40, and game, with zero points being referred to by the term love (possibly derived from the French word for egg, l'oeuf, referring to the physical appearance of the number zero). A tie at 40 is called deuce. Because a game must be won by two points, play continues from deuce until one player leads by a margin of two points. After reaching deuce, the player who can win the game on the next point is said to have the advantage, while a subsequent tied score is always called deuce. (A system referred to as “no-ad” is sometimes employed in which the winner of the point following the first deuce wins the game). In tennis competition
, the score of the server is always given first. Typical scores at stages of a given tennis game might be “love-15” or “40-30.” The players or teams exchange sides after each odd-numbered game.
Players must win six games to win the set, but they must win by at least two games.
Thus, if a set becomes tied at 5-5, at least 7 game victories are required to win the set. A tiebreaker
is often employed if a set becomes tied at 6-6. A tiebreaker
is generally played to 7 points, but because it too must be won by at least two points, it may be extended. The winner of a tiebreaker is recorded as having won the set 7-6, regardless of the point total achieved in the tiebreaker
. Tennis matches
are usually the best two out of three sets or the best three out of five sets.
(In the Grand Slam Tournaments - Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open, only the US Open employs a final set tiebreaker.)
An Example of Tennis ScoringTennis
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is a fun game. When one is just learning the game, hitting the ball back and forth is fun alreadybut as the player's proficiency in the game increases, he wouldn't be content just hitting the ball. Eventually, he would like to enjoy the game more by utilizing tennis scoring
Tennis scoring takes a little getting used to. Generally, people play a set, or best out of three sets. Each set consists of a number of games. The first person to win six games wins the set; the smallest number of games in a set would be six (if the score were 6-0). However, to win a set you must win by two games, so if the score is 5-5, the set will go on till someone wins by two (7-5, 8-6, etc.), kind of like extra innings in baseball. In many competitions, players play a tiebreaker if the set is tied 6-6 instead of fighting it out for a two-game lead.
Keep your attention in how tennis scoring is done by this series of examples: Love means zero; the first point scored is 15, the second point 30, the third point 40, and next point is game. Once again, a player needs to win a game by two points, so if the score is 40-40 it's called deuce, and then the next player to win a point has what's called advantage. If the same player wins the next point, the game is over. If he loses it, the score returns to deuce.
The same person serves the ball throughout the entire game (the next player serves the next game, and they alternate until the set is over). The server's score is always said first. Like a lot of things, it sounds a lot more complicated on paper than it is in real life.
Here's an imaginary game played between two players, Peter and Paul; watch how tennis scoring had been employed:
(Peter serves) 1st point: Peter wins score: 15-Love
2nd point: Peter wins score: 30-Love
3rd point: Paul wins score: 30-15
4th point: Paul wins score: 30-30
5th point: Peter wins score: 40-30
6th point: Paul wins score: deuce (40-40)
7th point: Peter wins score: advantage Peter (since Peter is the server, this is called "advantage in")
8th point: Paul wins score: deuce
9th point: Paul wins score: advantage Paul(since Peter is the server, this is called "advantage out")
10th point:Paul wins score: game (Paul has won by the two points necessary to win the game). At this point, Paul would become the server, and the second game would proceed.
Background of Tennis Scoring
As for the history of tennis scoring, there are two background stories:
1. that it has its origin in medieval numerology. The number 60 was considered to be a "good" or "complete" number back then, in about the same way you'd consider 100 to be a nice round figure today. The medieval version of tennis, therefore, was based on 60--the four points when 15, 30, 45 (which we abbreviate to 40) and 60, or game.
2. The system may be based on the presence of a clock face at the end of the tennis court. A quarter move of the appropriate hand was made after each rest, with the score being called as 15, 30, or 45. As the hand was moved to 60, this was the game. This didn't explain a score of 40, however.
The Invention of the Tie-break
The tie-break was invented by Van Alen in 1965 and was introduced at the United States Open in 1970 after a successful trial period at Newport, Rhode Island. Originally, the winner of the tie-break was the first player to reach five points, and there was no requirement that someone win by two points.
Impetus to use the tie-break gained force after a monumental 1969 struggle at Wimbledon between Pancho Gonzales and Charlie Pasarell. This was a 5-set match that lasted five hours and 12 minutes and took 2 days to complete. In the fifth set the 41-year-old Gonzales won all seven match points that Pasarell had against him, twice coming back from 0-40 deficits. The final score was an improbable 22-24, 1-6, 16-14, 6-3, 11-9.
In 1971 the tie-break was introduced at Wimbledon when the score in any set except the final set reached 8-8 in games.
In 1979 the tie-break was changed to be in effect when any set reached 6-6 in games.
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Elsewhere in this site, you will find tennis scores of Grand Slam tournaments, some of them dating to the 19th century. Thanks to these records, we have an idea of how players then performed against each other before the advent of radios and TV's.
Tennis scoring is something that any fan admiring the game should have any idea about. The scoring of badminton, volleyball and tennis are somehow similar but distinct from each other and there lies the mystique of the game of tennis.
Here's a few of my pages which display tennis scoring of the past and current tennis champions:
US Open Men's Singles Finals Results
US Open Women's Singles Finals Results
Wimbledon Men's Finals Results
Wimbledon Women's Finals Results
French Open Men's Finals Results
French Open Women's Finals Results
Australian Open Men's Finals Results
Australian Open Women's Finals Results