How to Keep Score in Tennis

So you’ve watched a few matches of professional tennis and now you’d like to hit like the greats Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Well first things first: you’ve got to know how to keep score.

Scoring is a little different in tennis than in other sports where the count goes up by 1, 2, runs etcetera. In tennis, both players start at 0-0 also known as “love all”. The “0” is noted as “love” in tennis. When the player that is serving the ball scores a point he goes up by 15 so it becomes “15 love”. If the returning player scores the point then it becomes “love 15”. The player that wins the next point goes up by another 15 to 30. If the server wins three points in a row, they are up “40 love”. If the return player wins three in a row, then they are up “love 40”. If both players are tied at “40 all” then it is called deuce and the player that wins the next point after deuce is the winner of the game. Each set has six games and if both players have each won 5 games then a “win by 2” situation arises. If both players are at 6 games each then a tie-break situation occurs and the first to win 7 points is the winner of the set. If both players are at “7 all” in the tiebreak, then the first to win by 2 points is the winner of the set.

A match can have anywhere from two to five sets. A two-set win is played during a best of three set format. In the best of three set format, if players split sets, then a third deciding set is played. In grand slam matches like you see Federer and Nadal playing, the match format is the best of 5 sets. If the players each split the first 4 sets with 2 sets each, then a final 5th deciding set will be played. The winner of this will then win the match and maybe even the entire tournament!

Hopefully, this gives some clarity on the next time you go out to play. Good luck and remember to stretch and warm up adequately beforehand!