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Popular Terms of Tennis

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In this chapter, we will discuss about all the popular terms used while playing Tennis. Understanding the service line, base line, side lines, and centre line are very important and all these were discussed in earlier chapters. The following terms are used during the play.


  • Serve − A player standing behind the baseline tosses the ball in air to hit with racket before it bounces on the ground. The ball then has to fly above the net and pitch in opponent’s service area. The ball then travels further for opposite player to hit. This is called a serve. Importantly, the players have to stand diagonally on the court while serving to each other. Every first serve of game has to start from right half of the court.
  • Ace − A correct serve is considered ace if the opponent player is unable to hit and return the ball with his racket.
  • Deuce − When both players have scores of 40 then, it is called Deuce.
  • Advantage − The next point won by a player after deuce gets advantage point. It is equal to game point. If this point is broken by opponent in next serve then, they get back to deuce.
  • Game Point − The last point of a game is called game point.
  • Set Point − The last point of game when the player serves to win the set.
  • Break Point − The last point of a game that opponent player wins while the other serves.
  • Match Point − The last point of the match where a player is about to win over his opponent.
  • First and second serve − The number of times a player gets the first serve correct is analysed in percentages. In case the first serve goes wrong, then next attempt to serve is called second serve.
  • Rally − A correct serve returned by opponent player for serving player to be hit and the continuous shots between the players is called rally. Most importantly, the players returning the ball have to hit it over the net and ensure it pitches within area of sideline and baseline of opponent player.
  • Volley − It is an aggressive move by a player where she/he swiftly run towards the net and take the ball on full during a rally. This gives the player a better opportunity to place the ball well in opponent’s court and ensure opponent misses it to gain a point.
  • Let − Chair umpire calls ‘Let’ when a player’s serve is good but the ball touches net strap before reaching the opponent. In such case, the serving player gets another chance to serve. Let is not a fault until it is not repeated. It also doesn’t discard any service foul made just before a let.
  • Advantage Set − The final set of a tennis match is called advantage set. This set doesn’t have a tie-breaker instead; the player has to maintain difference of two games after winning 6 games. The set continues till one of them achieves the target.
  • Tie-break Set − All the other sets except the final one are tie-break sets. In a situation where both players/teams win six games each, a tie-breaker is initiated. Single points are given to players/teams who win each serve. The first player to score seven points and maintains a difference of two points over opponent is declared winner of the set.
  • Umpire − There are line umpires and a chair umpire in a professional tennis match. Line umpires keep a close eye on the ball pitching on or outside the sidelines and baselines. The chair umpire manages rest of the proceedings.
  • Ball in play − When a player unintentionally hits a fixed structure like net post or strap during a rally and ball bounces in opponent’s court then, it is considered as ball in play. In case, the ball bounces back to same side then, opponent gets a point.
  • Forehand − A shot played with racket where the palm faces in direction of the shot.
  • Backhand − A shot played with arms holding the racket across the body and back of hand facing in direction of the shot.



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