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Guide to Tennis Terminology and Lingo

Title: Your Ultimate Guide to Tennis Terminology and Lingo: Learn the Language of Tennis

Are you a beginner looking to start playing tennis? Or are you a seasoned player wanting to improve your knowledge of tennis terminology and lingo? Either way, this guide is for you! In this article, we’ll take you through the most common tennis terminology and lingo, so you can start speaking the language of tennis.

Basics of Tennis Terminology

Let’s start with the basics. Tennis is played on a rectangular court divided into two halves by a net. Each player stands on opposite sides of the court and hits a small, hollow rubber ball back and forth over the net using a tennis racket. Here are some essential terms you should know:

Serve: The first hit in a point, used to start the game.

Forehand: A shot hit with the front of the racket hand facing the ball.

Backhand: A shot hit with the back of the racket hand facing the ball.

Volley: A shot hit before the ball bounces on the court.

Smash: A powerful overhead shot hit when the ball is high in the air.

Ace: A serve that is so good that the opponent cannot return it.

Advanced Tennis Terminology

Now that you know the basics, let’s dive into some more advanced terminology.

Deuce: When the score is tied at 40-40, the next point is called “deuce.” The player who wins the next point gets “advantage.”

Rally: A series of back-and-forth shots between players.

Double Fault: When a player fails to get the ball into the opponent’s court on both serves, resulting in a loss of a point.

Let: A serve that hits the net and lands in the correct service box, resulting in a redo.

Drop Shot: A shot that is hit softly so that it barely clears the net and lands close to it.

Lob: A shot hit high and deep to force the opponent back to the baseline.

Tennis Lingo

Tennis players have their own unique lingo that can be a bit confusing to those new to the game. Here are some common phrases you might hear on the court:

Love: Zero points.

Foot Fault: When a player steps on or over the baseline while serving.

Bagel: A score of 6-0 in a set.

Golden Set: A set where a player wins without losing a single point.

Spin: A player’s ability to hit the ball with topspin, backspin, or sidespin.

Advantage In/Out: When a player is one point away from winning a game, they have “advantage in.” If they lose the next point, it becomes “advantage out.”


By now, you should have a good understanding of tennis terminology and lingo. Knowing these terms will help you communicate better on the court and better understand the game. Don’t be afraid to ask your coach or other players if you don’t understand a term. The more you know, the more you’ll enjoy playing tennis.