Game Guide

Tennis became popular in the 19th century among the high society in England as a lawn game. Tennis is a game played between two individuals or two teams of two players on a field or court with a net placed between to separate the sides.

A hollow ball, typically made of hard rubber and covered in a type of felt, is used and hit back and forth across the net with paddle-like racquets that are strung to hit the ball into their opponents half of the court. Tennis courts were traditionally made of grass but can also be made of clay or some other type of hard surface such as concrete or asphalt and occasionally even carpet in the case of indoor tennis.

Tennis Glossary

Tennis Games Glossary A

a serve that is in bounds on the opposing player's side of the net that goes untouched, resulting in a point awarded. A smooth move!
Ad Court
the side of the court to each player's left.
a point more than deuce in a tie game, giving the player that scores it the advantage and positioning him/her one point from winning.
Advantage in
jargon for server advantage.
Advantage out
refers to receiver advantage.
scoring term for a tie, example 40-all.
a type of play encompassing many different playing styles.
the outer sidelines on the court between the singles and doubles sidelines.
Approach Shot
a shot close to the net, typically with spin on the ball.
Australian Formation
in doubles tennis, the strategy of both players playing the same side of the court prior to start of the point.

Tennis Games Glossary B

court area from service line to baseline.
hitting the ball with the traditional back of the racquet.
a shot in which the ball has a reverse spin on it upon contact caused by hitting the ball in an upward slicing motion.
term for area behind the court end where tennis balls are held.
the part of the swing where the player's arm is making a backward motion in order to build momentum to return the ball.
tennis games glossary term for the “O” that represents a bagel in a 6-0 win or a 0-6 loss.
Ball boy or Ball girl
male or female given the task of chasing the balls during a match.
Ball toss
occurs before executing a serve.
the end boundary stretching the width of the court.
Baseline Game
method of play where most shots are near the baseline.
Baseline Judge
game official who duties are calling the shots in or out.
Baseline Player
term for player utilizing a baseline method of play.
Big Serve
lingo for a powerful serve usually in a clutch situation. Faster than a speeding bullet!
typically a service return, the act of using the racket to block the ball, rather than hit it.
slang for the shape of the 1 in a 6-1 win or loss.
the winning of a game when player is not the server, hence the breaking of the serve.
Break Back
jargon for a successful receiver play after a service break.
Break Point
one point away from the end of the match.
Buggy Hit
the act of hitting the ball with no follow through but a short whip-like motion.
occurs when top players qualify to advance without playing a match.

Tennis Games Glossary C

the umpire's decision to rule on a play during a match.
lingo for a hard serve usually on a flat trajectory.
illegal action where the ball is held/carried as opposed to hitting the ball.
a groundstroke hit with spin on it.
Center Court
premium seating location for the tennis court venue.
Centerline judge
game official who is responsible for monitoring and calling the center service line.
Center Mark
term for baseline midpoint that is 2 X 14 inches.
Center Service Line
marks the boundary for both service courts.
tennis games glossary for the location of the game umpire.
the time when players switch ends of the court between matches.
a shot with under spin that is typically a block.
jargon for tennis shot struck with a rapid downward action, having plenty of backspin. Whoa, that's a spinner!
Clean Winner
tennis shot that the opposing player is unable to reach and play.
Closed Grip
motion where the racket face is point down.
Closed Racket
jargon for a racket held with a closed grip.
Closed Stance
hitting the ball with your back turned to your opponent and your body parallel to the baseline.
Court or Tennis Court
measures 78 feet X 27 feet wide for singles and 36 feet wide for doubles with a net in the middle. Service lines are marked 21 feet from each side of the net and parallel to it.
a shot that travels diagonally into the opponent's side of the court.
Cut To
quick, slicing downward movement resulting in sideways and backspin.
a computer powered device used to determine if a serve is in bounds or out.

Tennis Players Terms D

Daisy Cutter
jargon for a low shot with backspin resulting in a low bounce.
Dead Net
the accidental shot that hits the net and falls into the opponent's side of the court. Betcha, can't do that again!
the loss of a match by disqualification after four code violations have been awarded.
Defensive Lob
term for a high shot at or close to the net.
Defensive Volley
return tennis shot generally from below the top of the net.
occurs when both players have accumulated a count of 40 or three points each. Either player must attain 2 points in a row to win the match after Deuce.
Deuce Court
location to the receiver's right service court where a serve is received following a deuce score.
lingo for a shot hit with very little velocity.
slang for someone who is a clay court player.
Double Fault
player action that has failed to produce a valid serve twice.
Double Hit
occurs when the ball is struck twice during a single hit resulting in the loss of a point.
a game played with two players on each side and using the full court.
Doubles Court
term for the playing area for a doubles match.
Down the Line
jargon for tennis shot from near the sideline.
Drag Volley
tennis shot with backspin.
term for system of player selection and schedule of a tournament.
Drop Shot
a shot hit easily and placed close to the net, typically when an opponent is caught far from the net near the baseline.
Drop Volley
jargon for a ball hit before it has bounced.

Tennis Players Terms E - F

a failed shot that results in a lost point.
a serve that falls out of bounds.
count for the first point of a game going to a player or side.
First Flight
movement of tennis ball from the racket hit until just before it bounces.
First Service
the first of two attempts by a player to serve the ball in bounds.
lingo for a rapid, straight shot without spin. It's a whizzer!
Follow Through
movement of arm with racket after the ball has been hit.
Foot Fault
occurs when a player steps on the end line before making contact with the ball during a serve.
Foot Fault Judge
game official who monitors and calls foot faults.
Forced Error
a shot that is placed in such a way that it is missed by the opposition.
the act of hitting the ball with the front hand of the racket.
Forcing Shot
tactic where a player's shot places the opponent on the defensive.
specific location between the net and service line.
count for the third point of a game going to a player or side.
term for oval part of the racket that houses the strings.

Tennis Players Terms G

jargon for game watchers located at the ends and sides of a court.
tennis match where the winning player or side must accumulate 4 points and lead their opponent by 2 points.
Game Point
a serve that can decide the outcome of the match with the scoring of one point.
statement that a winner has been decided and the match has ended.
Golden Set
the win of a set without losing a single point. Congrats are in order!
Grand Slam
four tournaments
Australian, French, U.S. Open and Wimbledon make up the premium championship known as the Grand Slam of tennis.
taking your opponents best shots and running down every one, typically in a frenzied manner while refusing to give up.
the act of hitting the ball after it has bounced once in your court.

Tennis Players Terms H

lingo for a series of swings or shots by a player that appear to be luck more than skill.
Half Court
term for court area near the service line.
Half Volley
action occurs when the tennis ball is struck as it hits the court.
the top portion of the racquet where the strings are found.
Heavy Ball
jargon for tennis shot hit with topspin.
Hit on the Rise
term for ball played before reaching the bounce high point.
tennis balls holder.

Tennis Players Terms I - K

valid tennis shot landing in the opponent's court.
ball hit near the opposing player's body resulting in a weak return.
Jump Smash
jargon for a player's vigorous hit while jumping into the air. A smooth move!
Kick Serve
term for robust spinning hit resulting in a change of direction when it lands.
lingo for a heavy hit that leaves the opponent unable to reach and play it.

Tennis Players Terms L

Lawn Tennis
name for the original tennis game location, played on grass.
a ball touching the net on the serve but landing in bounds.
Line Judge
a person with the responsibility of ruling the ball in or out of bounds.
a ball hit high in the air into the opponent's court.
hit that is called out of bounds as it lands beyond the opposing baseline.
tennis game where the losing player scores no points. It's lost love!
Love set
a game set where the losing player won no games.

Tennis Players Terms M

tennis game that includes games and sets where the winner is declared based on greater number of sets won.
Match Point
the point in a game where a player can win the entire match by winning the final set with the next point.
term for a loss of a point on service during a tiebreaker.
Mixed Doubles
typical doubles tennis played with a male and female on each team.

Tennis Players Terms N

suspended from a steel cable, equipment divides a tennis court into halves. Also, the verb, 'to net', refers to hitting the ball into the net.
Net Cord
cable support for the net.
Net Judge
game official who monitors and calls lets on service.
Net Point
a point won by charging and playing close to the net. Usually followed by a definite Yes! with hands into fists motion.
No-man's land
lingo for the area located between the baseline and service line where it is a challenge to hit groundstrokes or slams.
Not Up
term for tennis ball hit at a second bound resulting in a point loss.

Tennis Players Terms O

Offensive Lob
tennis ball hit deep into opponent's court while this player is at the net.
Open Stance
facing the opponent and hitting parallel to the baseline.
Offensive Volley
shot taken from above the net.
Open Tournament
both amateurs and professional tennis players are welcome.
Open Grip
occurs when racket faces upward and away from the court.
Open Racket
occurs when racket is held with an open grip.
term for tennis shot that ends up outside the designated playing area.
Overhead Smash
the act of hitting down on the ball, typically on a lob with great velocity.
lingo for topspin.
Over Wrap
a spongy material wrapped around a racquets grip to improve comfort and grip on the racquet.

Tennis Players Terms P

refers to the speed that the ball is hit. Do I hear a "pick up the pace to very high?"
doubles tennis team.
refers to one of the two players on a doubles team.
tennis shot that is hit past the opposing player.
Pickup Shot
see half volley.
strategic tennis hit that the opponent cannot play or reach.
jargon for play by one double player that was intended for the partner of the team.
term for tennis scoring referred to as fifteen, thirty, forty, and game.
Point Penalty
results in a point loss as determined by the umpire.
lingo for inexperienced player who hits plenty of chip and drop shots.
Punch Volley
quick hit stroke.
a competitor who plays defensively as opposed to trying to score.
a perfectly placed unreturnable shot.

Tennis Game Terms R

Racket or Racquet
the tool of the trade in tennis used to hit the ball. It has a long handle with an oval frame on the end containing a series of woven cords that are stretched tight across it. Rackets today can be produced using steel, aluminum, graphite, titanium, carbon and fiberglass.
a lengthy back and forth series of shots between players or sides. A real treat for fans--bring on those rallies!
Ready Position
receiver's position before a serve.
tennis game terms for players who receive the serve during the game.
game official presiding over the tournament, but leaves the officiating up to the umpire.
Reflex Volley
a volley that happens more by reaction than plan.
tennis game terms for the return of a difficult shot.
skillful defensive player who is proficient at returning difficult shots. Don't we all want to grow up to be a retriever?
Return Ace
a returned serve in which the serving player does not touch the ball and it lands in bounds resulting in a point.
Reverse Twist
jargon for served ball with spin resulting in a high bounce to the receiver.
match series of a tournament that determines a player's advancement to the next round.
Round Robin
to assess player standings based on win-loss records during tournament.
Run Around the Backhand
lingo meaning to vigorously play a ball on the forehand rather than the backhand.
playing region between the baseline and backstop.

Tennis Game Terms S

Scoring System
is established based on game points, then a set is based on games and finally to a match based on sets.
Second Flight
jargon for tennis ball after it bounces.
Second Service
the second attempt of putting a serve in play.
is a ranking system of players based on skills and recent matches. The best players are considered top-seeded and are not required to play until the end of a tournament.
the act of putting the ball into play.
player who serves the ball in turn.
Serve and Volley
motion of serving and making an aggressive follow shot on the return to score a point. Well done!
Service Court
area consisting of the service sideline, service line, center service line with the net in between each side.
Service Line
line marking that designates the back boundary of the service courts for each side.
Service Line Judge
game official who monitors and calls served hits.
series of at least 6 games to include a two-game margin win, unless there is a tiebreaker.
Set Point
final game or match point, that if successful becomes that player's win.
a hit where the ball hits the handle or frame of the racquet, usually resulting in a missed shot.
motion of hitting the ball with the racket.
tennis game terms for side line boundary of the court.
Sideline Judges
game officials who monitor and call the shots in or out of the sidelines.
a match played by one player on each side of the net.
Singles Court
used for single matches.
lingo for shot hit with both backspin and sidespin.
aggressive shot that lands down hard into the opponent's side. It's a pounder!
Snap Volley
wrist action volley that packs a wallop.
Stop Volley
a short easy volley that lands just over the net.
Straight Sets
a match is won without a set being lost.
refers to the hitting surface of the racket.
a hit, shot or swing at the ball.
Sudden Death
usually, a 9 point tiebreaker where the first player to reach 5 points wins while it's 'sudden death' for the loser.
Sweet Spot
jargon for ideal hitting area from the racket face.

Tennis Game Terms T

region of the court where the service lines abut the center service line.
Take the Net
jargon for the act of moving towards the net to control the volleys aimed at the opponent.
Tandem/Up and Back
strategy whereby one plays the forecourt and the other, the backcourt at a doubles game.
tennis game terms for canvas material covering the top of the net.
Team Tennis
contest among teams that include singles and doubles matches. Results are based on the team that wins the most games.
Tennis Ball
rubber ball with inside of pressurized air, covered with wool and nylon material and weighing between 2 and 2 1/16 ounces.
Tennis Elbow
pain of playing the game--caused by joint strain.
the spin put on a ball by hitting the top of the ball, causing it to spin in the direction it is traveling.
count for the second point of a game going to a player or side.
system to decide winner for a set that is tied. Usually settled with a short game of 13 points where the first player to reach 7 points is declared the winner.
Top Seed
the best of the best player in a tournament.
accurate control of hit followed by precise placement. It's the magic touch!
successful accomplishment of winning singles, doubles, and mixed doubles at a tournament.
lingo for a serve that combines topspin and sidespin. A double threat!
Two-handed Backhand
shot delivered with both hands on the racket handle.

Tennis Game Terms U - Z

game official who is the 'boss' of a tennis match. The final word, the umpire may also overturn decisions by other judges if necessary.
the spin put on a ball by hitting under the ball, causing it to spin in the opposite direction of travel.
Unforced Error
term used to describe a shot that goes into the net or out of bounds resulting in a lost point.
a shot hit prior to the ball bouncing on your side of the court.
jargon for an easy win resulting from the opponent's default.
service shot that lands beyond the sideline or service sideline.
lingo for shot to the opponent's side while this player is moving or turned in a different direction.
bad case of nerves resulting in shakes that make it very difficult for a gamer to play well. This phrase can be used in reference to many games and is recognized by both players and fans alike.