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Tennis Terminology : Understand the Glossary of Tennis Terms 

glossary of tennis terms


Tennis is a sport that is one of the most popular and extensively practised racquet sports. People generally play it for fun or at professional levels. It can be played both indoors and outdoors. The tennis courts are typically designed in a rectangular shape and are divided into two proportionate halves by a net in the middle. Hitting the ball within the lines of the other team's half of the court is how the scoring system in this game works.

Let’s review the tennis terminologies to help you better understand the tennis lingo. 

Tennis Terminology: Tennis Terms and Definitions You Should Know

The Court

i) Baseline: This refers to the rear line drawn perpendicular to the sides and parallel to the net on the court. 

ii) Service Box: The space or the area in which either of the tennis players has to serve the ball.

iii) Net: The barrier that divides the tennis court into two sides.

Tennis Glossary

  1. Ace: A tennis ball served so flawlessly that the racquet of your opponent at the net cannot reach it.

  2. Ad: This is a short form for advantage. It refers to the point earned after the deuce. If the serving player scores, it is called “Ad-in”. If the receiving player scores, it is called “Ad-out.”

  3. All: This refers to an even score. If both sides score 30, it is called “30-all.”

  4. Alley: This refers to the space on both sides of the court between the sidelines for singles and doubles. The alley is added to the area between the singles court to make it more comprehensive for enabling doubles play. 

  5. Approach: It refers to a player’s shot that is played right before they reach the net. 

  6. Backcourt: The area within proximity to the baseline. 

  7. Backhand: The delivery of the serve used to return balls to the opposite side of a player. This means the shot is hit on the opposite side to the player's dominant side (balls hit to the right of a left-handed player.) Backhands can be hit either with one hand or with both hands. 

  8. Deuce: This indicates a tie situation in the score and a minimum of three points gained by both teams. The score in this situation is 40 all.

  9. Deuce Court: This refers to the right side of the court. It is called so because the serve must be served from that side in a deuce score situation. 

  10. Double Fault: This refers to the failure of two service attempts. In such a situation of double fault, the server forfeits a point.

  11. Doubles: A doubles tennis match is played among four players divided into two teams, with two in each team. 

  12. Drop Shot: Hitting a ball immediately after it crosses the net causes it to bounce close to it after being served softly and with lots of backspin.

  13. Fault: When a server steps on or over the baseline with either foot during the delivery of a serve, it is called a fault against the server.

  14. Foot Fault: This refers to the fault called against the server for stepping either foot during delivery on or over the baseline during a serve.

  15. Forehead: This is a stroke used to return balls hit to their dominant side(the ball is hit to the right side of a right-handed player and the left side of a left-handed player.) One-handed strikes are mostly forehands.

  16. Game: This is the basic unit of scoring in tennis. A game of tennis is generally played in a series of points, such as 15, 30, or 40 points. The game is won when players score four points and take the lead off their opponent by being at least two points ahead.

  17. Ground Stroke: This refers to the strike that is made after the ball has bounced on the court. It can either be a forehand or a backhand shot. 

  18. Half-Volley: This is a strike made to the ball instantaneously after it has touched the ground. It generally means taking a short hop to hit the ball lowly. 

  19. Let: This refers to a point that is extended due to interference. Additionally, even if the serve was a good shot, it is still reversed even if it reaches the net. 

  20. Lob: It refers to the stroke that swings the ball high in the air, generally over the opponent’s head over the net. 

  21. Love: This is a term used to refer to the tennis scoring of zero. When you, as a player, get zero points in the game, your score will be termed “love.”

  22. Match: A match is a complete contest between two teams or players. It typically consists of the best of three parts of a set out of five. The winning team is generally based on the higher frequency of sets won. 

  23. No-Ad: This is the practice where the player who wins the first four points wins the game. If the game is a tie, the following point decides the winner.

  24. No Man’s Land: This term refers to the area between the service line and the baseline. 

  25. Out: When a ball lands on the ground outside the court’s boundaries, it is an out.

  26. Overhead: This is a stroke tossing the ball over the head with a racquet. It somewhat closely resembles an overhand serve. 

  27. Poach: This is when a player hits the ball in doubles at the net that the partner player should otherwise play. 

  28. Point: This is the most miniature system of scoring a game.

  29. Rally: This refers to a continuous series of good hits made successfully by players—a series of good hits between them by hitting the ball back and forth.

  30. Receiver: This refers to the player who receives the shot. They are also called returners.

  31. Serve: It’s the short form for service. It refers to the act of first serve of the ball into play.

  32. Server: This is the player who serves the ball.

  33. Service Break: This is a game won by the receiving team or player.

  34. Slice: This shot hits the ball in a high-to-low motion, giving it a backspin.

  35. Smash: The overhead shot that is hit hard.

  36. Spin: It refers to the ball's rotation, such as topspin or backspin.

  37. Stroke: This is the act of hitting the ball with a racquet.

  38. Tiebreak: This is the 6-all mechanism used in traditional tennis to decide a set when the score reaches a tie.

  39. Topspin: This is the forward rotation of the ball that is made by hitting a ball hard from low to high.

  40. Volley: This term is used to refer the stroke that is made by hitting the tennis ball in the air before it reaches the ground. 

tennis court terminology

Grand Slam

The tennis terms and definitions discussed above shall be known by everyone who are willing to enter the tennis world. You shall also know that there are four most prestigious tennis tournaments are part of Grand Slam. 

  • The Australian Open is played in January

  • The French Open is played from late May to Early June

  • Wimbledon is played from Late June to Early July

  • The US Open is played from late July to early September


POPTennis is the best place to join and start your learning if you are new to the game. They are known to be the best tennis school that specializes in teaching kids in Singapore. This academy was incorporated in 2020 and have great experience. They also have the privilege of providing students with fundamental knowledge, mastering fresh approaches, and boldly continuing their educational path. 

They have multiple programs that ranges from Kids Program, Private lessons, Semi-private lessons and Group lessons. They are capable to provide you with the best planned lessons that guarantee your satisfaction. 

Good Luck!


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