Tennis Terms & Definitions

Western grip, crosscourt shot, drop volley, all these would be jargons if you do not know tennis terms and definitions. Do not think a mini-break is for you to get some snacks. 

Time to understand why there is a forced error or game penalty. To help you get one point ahead of your friends, we came up with this list of tennis terms to help you understand the game much better.

50 Important Tennis Terms You Need to Know

  1. Ace  – An unreturned serve by the opposing player that is equal to one game point
  2. Ad Court  – An area in the tennis court to the left of the players where the tennis ball bounces in
  3. Ad  – (Or advantage) A point played by tennis players after the score was deuce
  4. All  –  Tennis terms mean both players have an even score on either doubles matches or inside the singles court
  5. Alley (Doubles Alley)  – Part of the court between the singles and doubles sideline. found on both right or left side of the court
  6. Approach  – An offensive shot, usually possible when the opponent serves with a short ball landing close to the service line rather than the baseline
  7. Backhand  – The backhand shot is when the racket moves across the body of the player, using one or both hands, providing more speed and power on the forehand before hitting the ball
  8. Backcourt  – Area between the baseline and service area at the tennis court where players can hit the ball
  9. Baseline  – The backline area at the court aligned with the net and at 90 degrees to the sidelines where the player hit the ball to serve
  10. Break  – Where the receiving player/players win, usually the game’s highlights 
  11. Break point – Point won when the opponent is serving, and the tennis player is one point away from winning
  12. Chip and Charge – When a player goes to the net right away after returning the serve from the opponent using a slice shot
  13. Chop – This is a tennis shot wherein a player uses a downward motion that causes the ball to do a backspin
  14. CourtA rectangular area usually made of concrete, grass, or clay, with a net in the middle, 2 feet, and 6 inches tall
  15. DeuceA score of 40 -40 in a tennis game. To win this, a tennis player needs to win 2 points successively
  16. Deuce Court – Right side of the tennis player where serve when in a Deuce
  17. Doubles – Doubles match is where there are two players on both sides of the court
  18. Double Fault – A serving player has court double fault after committing two faults in a row
  19. Down the line – Landing the ball on the opposite side directly to the baseline in the court, tennis players use 
  20. Drop shot – A shot made in tennis courts carefully calculated to go over the net barely, usually using a soft backspin
  21. Fault – A serve that is unsuccessful in reaching the opponent’s service box
  22. Foot fault – When a player steps on or over the baseline during service or in the center mark
  23. Forehand – An effective stroke where the dominant hand does the forehand grip
  24. Game – A part of a set completed by winning four points or gaining two points to take the lead or win two points in a row after deuce 
  25. Ground stroke – The player hit the ball with a forehand or a backhand after bouncing once on the ground
  26. Half Volley – Hitting the ball right away just after it touches the ground
  27. LetBall hits the net but still manages to fall on the other side of the court
  28. Lob – Players push the ball high and deep into the opponent’s court, effective if the baseline is left open
  29. LoveA score of zero in a tennis game played
  30. Match – Term for opposing players on each side of the court in a tennis tournament, completing three or five sets match point
  31. No Ad – A scoring system in a tennis match where players race to get four points to win the game
  32. No Man’s Land – The front of the baseline and behind the service line 
  33. Out – Where a player misses and the ball lands outside of the court’s boundary
  34. Overhead – Also called a smash, wherein the player hits the ball with the racket above his head
  35. Passing shot – When the player hits the ball around his opponent by the net and manages to make it land inside the court
  36. Poach – A hit taken by a player in doubles tennis tournaments, supposed to be done by the partner, by the net
  37. Point – Smallest scoring unit in tennis game score which can be a point penalty if they have numerous code violation
  38. Rally  – Hits made after the player serves wherein opposing sides manages to bring it back to the other side until one misses
  39. Receiver  – The player who receives the ball from the opposing player
  40. Serve  – A shot made by the player with a tennis racquet behind the baseline, which marks the start of the match
  41. Server  – The player who is serving the ball
  42. Service break  – The receiving player wins the match by bringing the ball back to the server, who cannot return it
  43. Set  – Made up of 6 games either completed in 2 or three matches depending if there is a need for a tiebreak
  44. Slice – Or backspin, a shot hit where the ball stays low, giving the opponent difficulty in getting to it
  45. Smash – A shot where the tennis ball is overhead and usually done with a high amount of force
  46. Spin – Movement of the tennis ball that affects its landing and the direction it takes
  47. Stroke  – Variation of movements in tennis that needs to be learned by tennis professionals (1) or amateurs who plays the game
  48. Tiebreak  – An extension in a game to break the tied scores of the opposing players.
  49. Topspin  – A defensive shot that allows the ball to bounce higher once it lands on the other side of the court
  50. VolleyA stroke where the ball gets hit without touching the ground in a tennis game

Take a Shot and Learn the Terms

Professional tennis players worked hard on their skills from day one of them holding a tennis racket. They never were the same player as before. As a beginner, start with learning the most important tennis terms. 

The terminologies are essential if you are interested in finding out what is happening in an entire match, why it became a qualifying draw, or how a player turned out as the grand slam winner.


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