How Tennis Scoring Works A Complete Guide In 2022

How Tennis Scoring Works

Are you confused because you are so much into tennis and want to check out a global tournament but you are not able to figure out what’s happening on the court? Then no need to worry at all!

Tennis scoring seems complicated at the start but once you are into the game and you go through this complete guide about scoring, this won’t be an issue for you anymore.

Here is a complete guide that is going to help you in learning about how tennis scoring works.

In this article, you will find the complete framework of tennis scoring, terms for tennis scoring, rules for tennis scoring, and theories about the origin of tennis scoring.


The framework of tennis scoring consists of three parts; Set, Game, and Match.

  • Game:

Game is when a player scores 4 points in a number of different ways.

  • Set:

Set consists of games. A player needs to win six games at least to complete the set.

  • Match:

A match is best of 5 or 3 sets. Championship matches are mostly 5 best sets.

Starting the game:

  1. The game starts with flipping a coin or spinning a racquet as a toss. The person who wins the toss decides one of the four things: that if the player wants to serve first, if the player wants to receive first, the side court the player wants to play, if the player wants to leave the choices to the opponent.
  2. The player serves until the game is over and then the serve is moved to the opponent.
  3. The players serve from the baseline, to the right hand side of the court, between the singles sidelines to the centre mark of the court.

Scoring the game:

  • Before you serve, you need to announce the score, starting your score first and then the opponent’s, for example, your opponent has 30 and you have 0, you will announce “love-30”.
  • You get to try these in every serve. The serve either goes over the net, lands in the service box opposite, or bounces once before the opponent returns back.
  • A second service is taken if it does not land in the service box. If you fail in the second serve then you will lose the point.
  • If the serve lands in the service box grazing the net then the serve does not count. The serve is considered as serve over and is known as “let”.
  • If you send a serve and the opponent returns it, then you both will continue hitting back and forth till the ball hits into the net, out of the bonds or someone misses a shot. Whoever does it the opponent gets a point.
  • The serving continues until the score reaches 40 and each player before the serve has to call out the score.
  • Score tied at 40 is known as “deuce”, in other words a tie. For Breaking the tie one of the players has to win two points in a row. If a player is serving in deuce and gets the next point, then the player says “my ad” meaning “my advantage”. Same goes with the opponent if he gets two points in the row and this can go on for long. 
  • As the game gets over it is time for the person to serve. The sides of the court are switched after odd numbers of games are played.

Scoring a set:

  • The person serving announces the score of the previous set before the new game starts. For example, if you won the set you will announce “1-0”.
  • If there is a deuce then you need to win a set with 2 games at least. If the score is 6-5, the person with 5 needs to win two more games. And if the score is 6-6, then a tie breaker will be played.
  • For completing the set it is necessary to win six games. If you win the six games you win the set.

Scoring a match:

The complete gameplay is known as a match. The winner is determined by the best 2 out of 3 sets.

So if a player wins 2 sets then he is the winner, but if both of the players have won one set then they need to play the third set to determine the winner.

Tennis scoring rules:

There are many ways for scoring in tennis, for example,

  • Hitting ball into the net
  • Hitting ball out of bounds
  • Ace
  • Double fault
  • Unreturnable ball

Theories of tennis scoring:

Unlike any other normal sport, the first three points of tennis are 15, 30, and 40.

There is no technical reason why this scoring system is used in tennis

but they are different that we can come across:

  • The Tennis scoring originally was kept according to the clock faces hands that were placed at 15, 30, and 45 minutes marks for keeping up to the score. The 45 minute mark for an advantage was dialled back to 40, with 60 as game ending. Minutes were added in the 17th century thus this theory is not considered true. 
  • Another theory says that the numerical values are attached to a French game, jeu de paume that is somehow similar to tennis but is played with hands instead of racket. The player serving moves 15 points up to 45 per point scored. 

The term “Love” is said to be taken from the French word “l’oeuf”. L’oeuf means an egg. And an egg shapes exactly like a 0.

Tennis is a worldwide played game. There are many theories that tell us the origin of the scoring system of tennis but few of these theories are not considered true.

But there are many people who love the game yet they are not able to under the scoring system.

This guide is a complete set of all the terms and ways of scoring that will help you in enjoying your favorite game and knowing the scores your favorites player is making.

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