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How to Keep Score in Tennis

Let tennis pros Joe Perez and Kirk Moritz explain how to keep score in tennis in this Howcast video.


Perez: How to keep score in tennis.

There are basically the game score, the set score, and the match score. The game score is when the point starts. The player who wins that point it's called 15-love. When you keep score in tennis 15-love means that the server has won the point. You always give the server's score first. So, if the server wins the first point it's 15-love. If the server wins the second point in a game it's 30-love. If the server wins the third point in the game it's 40-love. And if the server wins the fourth point it's game. He wins the first game of the set.

Now, if both players win points it's 15-15, 30-30, but 40-40 in a game is not called 40-40. It's called deuce which means even, so both players have equal number of points. If the server serves at deuce and wins the point in a social game it's called add-in. If there was an umpire the umpire might say, advantage Perez - me - if I were the server. If the server wins the point at deuce it's add-in. If he wins the next point he wins the game. So, at deuce you have to win two points in a row.

If the server at deuce loses the point it's called add-out. And if the server loses the next point when it's add-out he loses the game. That would be, again, the first game of a set.

A set, generally, is six games. That can change, however, because at 5-5, 6-5 doesn't win a set in tennis, 7-5 does. And, at 6-6 in a set most players will play what we call a tie-breaker. Kirk.

Kirk: The most commonly used tie-breaker at 6-6 is a 12 point tie-breaker. In a 12 point tie-breaker it's the first player to win 7 points. But, again, you have to win by at least 2. So, if Joe and I are playing a tie-breaker and I'm ahead 7-6 I don't win. I have to win 8-6 or 9-7 or 10-8. So, until somebody wins at least by 2 and a minimum of 7 points that tie-breaker could continue to 45-43. It can last quite a long time.

A typical match is 2 out of 3 sets. So, when we played this little set here the first set might have been won by Joe 7-6. We start another set of someone's supposed to win 6 games. We could go to a tie-breaker again if we got to 6-6 and go through the same tie-breaker. If we split the sets, meaning Joe wins the first one and I win the second one, there's usually a third and deciding set that's played. Older players sometimes will just play a tie-breaker now instead of an entire set to determine the winner.

Perez: Also, scoring can be different at different tournaments. For instance, at Wimbledon in England they play best 3 out of 5 sets to win a match not best 2 out of 3. So, there are a variety of ways of scoring, and sometimes that scoring system can be developed by a particular tournament. They can determine that they want to do 3 out of 5 for a match rather than 2 out of 3 sets. But that's the basic scoring in tennis.

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