Glossary of Tennis Terms
There are many different terms used in tennis, all of which you will
benefir from knowing. Many are used regularly while a game of tennis is
being played so you are sure to pick them up quickly.
A serve where the receiver fails to return or even touch the ball. The point
is won by the server.
The Ad-Court or Advantage-Court is the left hand side of the court
from where both players have the ability to win a Game.
The point being played after a Deuce. A player who has the
Advantage and wins the next point wins the game.
Usually occurs when a ball is hit short of the baseline. The receiving player
then moves forward to the ball and places is deep in his/her opponents court,
while continue moving forward to the net in order to kill off the point with a volley.
Association of Tennis Professionals. The ATP are
the governing body of the men's professional tennis circuit.
To hit the ball across your body. across the left of your body if
you are right handed, and across the right of your body if left handed.
To hit the bottom of the ball making it spin backwards while moving forwards.
See also Dropshot and Slice.
The lines at either end of the tennis court, where you serve from.
Lleyton Hewitt is the perfect example, as he is a Baseliner. It
simply means that players remain on the baseline during a rally. This method of trying to
win points can be tiring, but a good Baseliner will either
wear down an opponent or set them up for passing shot.
Best Of Three (or Five)
This is the number of Sets to be played in a match. Men usually play
Best Of Five where they need to win 3 Sets to win the game.
Women usually play Best Of Three where they need to win 2 Sets
to wint the game.
Blue Collar Tennis
You're under pressure in a match and need to work extra hard to win those points!
The point in a game where the server risks losing his serve. For example, the score could
be 30-40, 15-40, 40-Advantage, etc.
Break Of Serve
When the server loses the Break Point, and therefore loses the game, this is
termed a Break Of Service.
Before the start of a tournament seeded players can be given a Bye, which
means they are automatically awarded a place in the second round of the tournament.
This is the small line you find across the middle of the Baseline. You
must be the correct side of this line while serving.
Champions Tie Break
Follows the same format as a regular Tie-Break, except the winner is the first to
10 points with 2 points clear. An example of where this is used is
The Masters Tennis
tournament, the most popular indoor tennis tournament in the UK.
Change Of Ends
Players are required to change ends after every uneven numbered game.
Not often found in the UK! These courts are made of crushed shale, brick, or stone.
We do have some Green Clay courts in the UK (same type as in the USA) and they are quite fast,
compared to the slower Red Clay courts found mostly in Europe.
A way of holding your tennis racket in order to help you hit powerful
serves, volleys, backhands, and smashes.
A shot that you hit diagonally across the tennis court, from either the
baseline or near the net. If near the net you will usually be required to put a
lot more Topspin on the ball in order to bring the ball down quickly
If both you and your opponent have 40 points each this is called Deuce.
If you score zero (0) games in a set this may be referred to as a Donut.
If you score zero (0) games in two sets this may be referred to as a Double Bagel.
If the server fails to serve correctly on both 1st and 2nd serves this is called
a Double Fault. The server then loses this point.
A powerful shot using a bit of Topspin. Common as a passing shot
down the line to leave your opponent scrambling for the ball.
You need to use a lot of Backspin to perform this shot. It is
a more severe version of a Slice, in that the idea is to get the ball
just over the net and stop almost immediately just after the net without much bounce.
A Forehand grip which which enables the ball to be hit
ahead of the body with good follow-through with the racket.
A match where no points are awarded to players towards their ATP or WTA rankings. This
is for pure entertainment, apart from the fact that players are often paid large
sums of appearance money!
A serve hit very flat and low over the net without any spin. Generally used as a
1st serve as there is greater risk of hitting the net.
Used when performing a ground stroke. Rather than hitting the ball and stopping your
racket head quickly, you Follow-through with the racket so it almost ends up
over your shoulder. The Follow-through is very influential in the length, speed, and
direction of the ground stroke.
Where the server puts his foot onto or over the Baseline before hitting the ball. If
performed on a 1st serve, you will only have your 2nd serve remaining. If performed on your 2nd serve
you lose the point.
This is the part of the court between the net and the service line. Usually
where you would attempt to volley the ball back over rather than letting it bounce first.
To hit the ball from the side where you naturally hold your racket.
Each Set is comprised of at least 6 Games.
A point that either server or receiver needs to win a game.
A set of tennis which is won 6-0 without dropping a single point.
Only one player in the history of professional tennis has ever achieved this, Bill Scanlon (USA).
It was against Marcos Hocevar (Brazil) in the first round of the WCT Gold Coast Classic at
Del Ray (Florida, USA) on 22 February 1983. Bill Scanlon won the match 6-2, 6-0.
To win all 4 of major tennis tournaments (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open)
in one season you are said to have won the Grand Slam. Therefore, the 4 major
tournaments are also known as Grand Slam events.
Any type of shot (Forehand and Backhand)
across the net where the ball bounces.
The half of the court nearest to the service line.
To hit the tennis ball immediately after it has off the ground, so you're hitting the
ball on it's upward bounce.
A tennis court which has a surface made from asphalt, concrete, etc.
Used to describe a showoff on the tennis court i.e. a player smashing the ball at every opportunity or playing
trick shots. A perfect example would be trick shot legend Mansour Bahrami.
An Inside-Out Forehand is to run around the ball to take it on your forehand, even though
it has been hit to you in a natural backhand position. An Inside-Out Backhand is the exact opposite.
A serve with plenty of spin enabling it to change direction once hitting the ground.
This can result in the receiver misreading the bounce of the ball and playing a sub-standard return shot.
Called to announce that a point is to be replayed. A common example is when
a serve clips the top of the net but still lands correctly in the court.
To hit the ball over your opponents head using a lot of Topspin. Best
played when your opponent is at the net.
When one of the tennis players has a score of zero (0).
A point that either server or receiver needs to win a match.
If the server loses one of his two service points during a Tie-break, this is
called a Mini-break.
Same as a Let call (see above).
A shot played above the head, hitting the ball downwards, hard and fast into your opponents
side of the court
Where the Umpire decides his opinion of a line-call (etc.) is better
than that of a line judge.
A shot played down the line while your opponent is close to the net, but is unable to return.
Seeded players are always pre-qualified for tournaments, but lesser players must perform well in
Qualifying Competitions in order to earn their place in many tournaments.
A term used in the Davis Cup, which essentially means a "heat" or a "leg". The Davis Cup consists
of one Doubles Rubber and four Singles Rubbers. As an example,
if you win the first Singles match, you have won a Rubber or a Singles Rubber.
A term created after Serena Williams consecutively won all 4 Grand Slam events, but not
in the same season. In 2002 Serena won the French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open, followed by the
Australian Open in 2003.
Show Court (Showcourt)
A tennis court which is the one of the most prized of all to play on or to spectate on.
For example, at Wimbledon the show courts are Centre Court, No.1 Court, and No.2 Court.
You use Backspin to perform this type of shot. Often used as
a defensive shot to return fast served ball deep into your opponents court and
slow the game down. Similar in execution to the Drop Shot.
This method is used to determine the winner of a Set once the score
in Games is 6-6. See Rules Of Tennis (Brief)
for full details. Or see above for details of the Champions Tie Break variant.
To hit the top of the ball making it spin forwards while moving forwards, and forcing the ball
to curve down over the net.
The person who controls the game, the players, the score, and his line judges!
Where a player is not under any pressure from an opponent yet plays a shot which does
not land in the court.
To hit the ball before it bounces.
A way of holding your tennis racket in order to help you hit Topspin Forehand shots.
Given to select players who have not qualified for a tournament so they can participate. Preference
usually given to young talent in the host country and also big name players who have slipped
down the rankings.
Term often used meaning Backhand side and/or Forehand side. For example,
a player may be comfortable to volley from either Wing.
Womens Tennis Association.
The WTA are the governing body of the women's professional tennis circuit.