Scoring in Tennis

Usually when someone picks up tennis as a new hobby/sport, they get frustrated with the scoring, understandably so. There are so many different terms, and ways to score, that it seems impossible. In this post, I’ll try to break it down as simply as possible so you can get a basic understanding!

Firstly, lets talk about a match. The match is the whole entire competition. When you go out to play competitive tennis, you are going to play a match. In every match, there are sets. A set is compiled of games. Each game has multiple points in it. To win a set, you have to win 6 games, and you have to win by two games. The scoring in a game is a little more difficult because it is not scored as “1, 2, 3, 4, Game” Games are scored as “LOVE (0), 15, 30, 40, Game.” The server always announces their score first, and the serve always begins on the Deuce (right) side of the court. After the first point, it is either LOVE-15 (0-15), or 15- LOVE(15-0), depending on who won the point. The second point is played on the Ad (Left) side. This continues until the game is completed. If the score gets to 40-40, this is called Deuce. Either player has to win the next two points in a row to win the game. If the server wins the Deuce point, the score is announced AD IN. If the returner wins the Deuce point, the score is announced AD OUT. For example, if the sever wins the Deuce point, but loses the Ad point, the score goes back to Deuce. This can happen many times. Another thing to remember, players switch ends of the court every odd game (after the first game, then every two games). You have a 90 second break starting with the change of sides at the third game. This is also when you change the set score on your score cards.

After many games are played, you may find yourself at a set score of 6-5. At this point, even though you have gotten 6 games, you have not won the set because you have not won by two games. So you will either have to win one more game to make the set score 7-5, or the score will go to 6-6, and a set tie-breaker must be played. In a tie-breaker, the first server serves one point from the Deuce side. After that point, the opposite server serves the next two points starting on the Ad side, then Deuce This two-point serving pattern continues until someone wins the tie-breaker. The tie-breaker is scored in intervals of 1 (1, 2, 3… so on) until someone reaches 7 points (again by two). In USTA play, players switch ends after the first point, then after every four points (or the score will show every five points when both scores are added together). In all other competitive play other than USTA, players switch ends every 6 points.

A match is always best two sets out of three (unless you are a man playing in one of the grand slams). If you are playing USTA, the third set is replaced with a match tie-breaker. Don’t freak out! It is played exactly the same way as a set tie-breaker, only the score goes to 10 points (by two of course) because it is played in place of a set. When you are playing in tournaments, the director has the choice of whether you will play a full set, or a match tie-breaker.

If you feel like I have completely melted you brain at this point, do not feel bad, it is a lot of information. After reading this, it is good to grab a friend who knows how to play, go out, and walk through the scoring point by point. Sometimes it is easier to learn by actually playing the points out. I have also attached a great video that explains step by step how to score!

Tennis: Why Now? Why Me?

You don’t run in tennis.” “Do you even have to work?” “It is not even that hard!” “It is just so boring, I would never play!”

Tennis players all over hear these phrases more than you can imagine. The thing is, though, anyone who has ever tried to play knows how incredibly inaccurate this is. Tennis is one of those sports that you can pick up just for fun, and spend the rest of your life playing. Not only are there many health benefits, but there are also many fun/social aspects to the game.

Firstly, there are numerous health benefits that come with playing tennis. The best part is, once you get a basic understanding of the game and start playing, you are getting a workout in that is fun! A lot of the time you hear people say, including myself, they do not like just going out and running, or running on a treadmill. Sure, running outside is nice sometimes, but I personally just get bored. I feel like I can get more accomplished in an hour-and-a-half tennis drill, than I would going out for a run. Tennis is a great aerobic exercise, AKA cardio. A few benefits of aerobic exercise include improving cardiovascular health, lowering blood pressure, reducing chronic pain, weight loss, and so on. Along with those, tennis specifically helps with improving muscle tone and flexibility, and increasing reaction time. Another factor that goes into many people picking up tennis is that it is a non-impact sport. Tennis is generally easy on the body. Sure, you will hear about the pros having injuries, but generally tennis is pretty safe. Here at Wembley, we have a gentleman that is his 80’s still playing multiple days a week, and he is not the only one doing it! Even at the National Senior Games there is a 90+ age division! The longevity of this sport is truly incredible.

As if that is not enough to make you want to play, the social aspect will really seal the deal for you. I will start with an anecdote. When I was in eighth grade (2009), I became friends with one of the girls on my tennis team. Here we are, ten years later, and she is still my best friend. She is not the only one though. Throughout my life, I have met some of the best people playing tennis, especially in adult league tennis. Even in these past six months of working at Wembley, I have met the greatest tennis players, both on and off the court, I could ever hope to have in my life. Not only is it fun to play tennis with everyone here, but they have also accepted me into their lives outside of the club. That’s how everyone is here. We go out together, we swim together, we have cookouts together, everyone’s children hang out together, we do things together. Adult league tennis is so much fun as well. If you thought competitive sports end in high school, or even college, then you have not played adult league tennis, or USTA. Do not get me wrong, it is so fun, but when people want to win, they will go for it. We still have fun though. Everyone grabs a drink and a bite to eat after the matches. You get to know each other if you are new, and you get to know people from other teams. Even here at Wembley, we have friends from other clubs, most of which we have tried to recruit to come here. When you play USTA, and do drills with the tennis pros, you get to spend time with people, and get to know them. It really is a social game.

Tennis is so much more than smacking a little yellow ball ball back and forth over a net. The friends you will make, the laughs, the competitive spirit, and the workout are all beneficial to life. Whether you are just starting tennis, or a lifelong player, this game is for you.