The 100 Most Important Tennis Terms

If you have ever watched a tennis match, you have probably noticed that many technical terms are used in tennis. Especially as a beginner, it is not easy to find the right meaning for certain terms.

For this reason, we have put together an extensive glossary in which you can clarify all your questions. Here are the 100 most important terms that every tennis player needs to know.

1. Ace
A serve that the opponent can’t reach with his racket.

2. Ad Court
Left side of the court.

3. Advantage
A player scores the point after deuce and only needs one more point to win the game.

4. Alley
Area between the singles and the doubles sidelines.

5. Approach Shot
Offensive shot which prepares an attack at the net.

6. Backhand
Shot where the back of the dominant hand is directed towards the opponent. The backhand can be played one-handed or two-handed.

7. Bagel
A set that a player wins or loses by 6-0.

8. Ball Kids
Children collecting the balls on the tennis court and handing the towel to the players.

9. Ball Toss
The throw of the ball in the serve movement.

10. Baseline
The back line that borders the court. It runs parallel to the net.

11. Baseliner
A player who prefers to stay around the baseline during a rally.

12. Big Point
Important, possibly decisive point in the match.

13. Break
A service game that is won by the opponent of the server. It is also said that the serve is taken from the returner.

14. Break Point
The returning player only needs one more point to break the server.

15. Bye
A player advances to the next round without having to play a match.

16. Challenge
Review of the decision whether the ball was out of bounds or in the court. Is performed with the Hawk-Eye.

17. Challenger
Men’s tournaments, which are organized for players outside the top 100 of the world rankings.

18. Chip and Charge
A tactic in which the receiver returns the serve and then moves quickly to the net to play a volley.

19. Cross Court
A shot where the ball is played diagonally into the opponent’s court.

20. Dampener
A rubber-like component that is placed between the tennis strings to reduce the sound of the strings.

21. Dead Net
Ball that hits the net, but still rolls over the edge of the cord to land in the opponent’s court.

22. Deciding Point
On deuce the next point decides the win of the game. Is used especially in doubles.

23. Deuce
The score is 40-40. One of the players must score two points in a row to win the game. The only exception is the “Deciding Point Rule”.

24. Deuce Court
Right side of the court.

25. Double Fault
Two successive faulty serves that give the receiver a point win.

26. Doubles
A tennis match in which four players play against each other in teams of two.

27. Down the Line
A shot where the ball is played along the sideline into the opponent’s court.

28. Drive
A shot where the ball is played straight and without spin.

29. Drop Shot
A shot where the ball is placed just shortly behind the net.

30. Foot Fault
Error on serve when the player touches the baseline with his foot. The certain attempt is then invalid.

31. Forced Error
A player places the ball so well that the opponent makes a mistake.

32. Forehand
Shot that is only played with the dominant hand.

33. Framing
A Shot where the ball is hit with the frame of the tennis racket.

34. Futures
Series of tennis tournaments for men, which are one level below the Challenger tournaments.

35. Golden Set
Set that a player wins without losing a single point.

36. Golden Slam
A player wins all four Grand Slams and the Olympic gold medal within one calendar year.

37. Grand Slam
The four main tournaments in tennis: Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open.

38. Groundstroke
Forehand or backhand stroke, after the ball bounced off the ground.

39. Half Court
Area around the service line.

40. Half Volley
A shot where the ball is hit shortly after bouncing off the ground.

41. Hawk-Eye
Electronic system that uses cameras to measure the imprint of the tennis ball on the court. It is used when a player requests a challenge. Is only available at large tournaments.

42. Hitting Partner
Training partner of a professional tennis player.

43. Inside In
A stroke where a player runs around his backhand and hits the ball down the line with his forehand.

44. Inside Out
A stroke where a player runs around his backhand and hits the ball cross court with his forehand.

45. Jeu De Paume
A sport in which a ball is hit with the palm of the hand. Comes originally from France and is considered as the predecessor of tennis.

46. Kick Serve
Serve where the ball has a lot of topspin and bounces off high in the opposing court.

47. Let
Rule where a shot does not count and has to be replayed. The best known example is the let serve.

48. Lines Umpire
Person standing at the edge of the court checking whether the ball was in or out. They are assistants to the chair umpire.

49. Lob
Shot where the ball is played high into the opponent’s court. Often used when the opponent is at net.

50. Longbody
Name for an extended tennis racket.

51. Love
Other word for zero when calling the score.

52. Lucky Loser
Player who loses in the qualifying phase, but still makes it to the main draw. The best player from among the losers will be selected to replace a player who has cancelled the tournament at short notice.

53. Main Draw
The schedule of the matches of qualified players in a tennis tournament.

54. Match
Competition between two or four players in which a winner is determined.

55. Match Point
A player is only one point away from winning the match.

56. Match Tiebreak
Special tiebreak that is played to 10 points. In doubles, in case of a tie in sets, the decisive set is replaced by the match tie-break.

57. Midcourt
Medium-sized playing court with a length of 59 ft. and a width of 21 ft.

58. Mini-break
A point won by the returner of the serve in the tiebreak.

59. Mixed Doubles
Match in which two doubles consisting of one man and one women play against each other.

60. Moonball
A shot where the ball is hit steeply upwards and with a lot of topspin to the baseline of the opponent.

61. New Balls
A phrase with which the chair umpire announces the replacement of the tennis balls.

62. No Man’s Land
Area between the service line and the baseline.

63. One-handed
Players who use only one hand for their backhand.

64. Open Era
Period in which tennis became a professional sport. Since 1968 not only amateurs but also professionals have been admitted to official tournaments.

65. Out
A ball that hits the ground outside the court.

66. Overgrip
Outermost tape wrapped around the handle of the tennis racket.

67. Overrule
Correction of a decision of the lines umpire by the chair umpire.

68. Passing Shot
The ball is hit past the opponent who is currently standing at net.

69. Penalty
Point deduction for inappropriate behaviour of a player on the court.

70. Poach
A tactic in doubles where the net player surprisingly hits a volley.

71. Point
Smallest scoring unit in tennis. Points are scored after winning or losing a rally.

72. Pusher
Defensive tennis player who does not try to beat winners, but only tries to hit the ball back into the court.

73. Racket
Playing equipment with which the ball is hit in tennis.

74. Rally
An exchange of shots between the two players. The length of the rally is the number of shots.

75. Return
A shot where the player hits back the opponent’s serve.

76. Serve
First stroke, with which the rally begins. The ball must be hit diagonally into the opponent’s service box. For each rally there are two attempts to serve.

77. Serve and volley
Strategy where the server runs to the net immediately to play a volley.

78. Service Winner
A serve that is reached by the opponent reaches, but not played back into the court.

79. Set
Scoring unit consisting of several service games. The first player to win 6 games with a lead of at least 2 games wins the set. At the score of 5-5, the game continues until 7.

80. Set Point
A player needs only one point to win the set.

81. Shot Clock
Time display, which shows the remaining time for the current serve.

82. Sideline
The lateral line that delimits the court. It is perpendicular to the net.

83. Singles
Standard tennis match where one player plays against another.

84. Slice
A shot where the ball is hit with backspin.

85. Smash
A shot where the player hits the ball over his head into the opponent’s court at high speed.

86. Spin
The rotation of the ball in the air during flight.

87. Split Step
A small jump with which the player takes the ready position.

88. Stringing
Strings that are clamped in the frame of the tennis racket.

89. Sweet Spot
The optimum area of the racquet head to hit the tennis ball with the greatest acceleration and accuracy.

90. Tennis elbow
Injury to the elbow, which occurs when the arm is too heavily loaded.

91. The “T”
The vertical and horizontal lines delimiting both services boxes.

92. Tiebreak
Special rules for a score of 6-6 in one set. The player who wins 7 points with an advantage of at least 2 points decides the set for himself.

93. Topspin
Shot where the ball is hit with forward rotation.

94. Trampoline Effect
The more flexible the string bed of the tennis racket is, the greater the acceleration of the ball on the stroke.

95. Tweener
Shot where the ball is hit through the legs with one’s back to the opponent.

96. Two-handed
Players who use both hands for the backhand.

97. Unforced Error
An error made by a player that could have been avoided.

98. Volley
Shot where the ball does not bounce on the ground but is hit in the air.

99. Wildcard
Permission of a player to participate in a tennis tournament who would not normally be eligible.

100. Winner
A player places the ball so well that the opponent is not able to reach the ball.