How To Get Started in Tennis – Scoring

Two players play Lawn Tennis as a singles game or four players (two pairs) play it as a doubles game

A match consists of a number sets. The four Grand Slams are played on a best of five sets basis. Other matches and all women’s matches, on a best of three sets.

Players make up a set of games in Lawn Tennis. The first player to reach six games with a lead of two games wins the set. If the score reaches 5-5 then one player, or pair, must win two straight games hence 7-5 is a win.

Players make up a game of points in Lawn Tennis. When either player wins four points in a row, they win the game.

The points are called 15, 30, 40 and game to that player. If the score reaches 40-40 (deuce) then one player, or pair in doubles, must win two clear consecutive points.

Players call the first point won after deuce an advantage point. If the player with the advantage point loses the next point, the score reverts back to deuce.

How Does the Scoring Work?

In tennis scoring, players call zero ‘love’. Hence, players score fifteen love as 15-0, thirty love as 30-0, and forty love as 40-0. Because of the scoring system matches frequently last for several hours and at Grand Slams even gone into a second day.

The longest match on record was played at Wimbledon 22-24 June 2010  –  3 days! John Isner (USA) beat Nicolas Mahut (FRA)  6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7-9), 7-6 (7-3) 70-68. Which equates to 11 hours, 5 minutes.

old tennis scoreboard

Tiebreak introduced in 1970-1973 to speed up matches, not all Grand Slam tournaments adopted the tiebreak.

A 2022 rule change now requires every Grand Slam tournament, even the Olympics, to use the tiebreak in the final set. Players play a tiebreak when the games reach 6-6. In the tiebreak, players use a 12-point system and count points using ordinary numbering.

The set is won by who has scored at least seven points and is leading by at least two points.  Hence 7-5 tiebreak points is a win for that player and winning the set by 7-6  –  seven games to six.

The details of the tiebreak scoring system in tennis need not greatly concern a beginner to this great game. He is probably more concerned with how to get the ball over the net and keep it in the court.

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