Tennis Glossary

Ad Court: Left side of the court of each player, so called because the ad (advantage) point immediately following a deuce is always served to this side of the court

Advantage Set: Set won by a player or team having won at least six games with a two-game advantage over the opponent

Backhand: Stroke in which the ball is hit with the back of the racquet hand facing the ball at  the moment of contact

Backcourt: The area of the tennis court between the baseline and the service line

Backswing: Portion of a swing where the racquet is swung backwards in preparation for the forward motion to hit the ball

Ball Toss: The action of throwing up the ball prior to the serve

Chip: Blocking a shot with underspin, creating a low trajectory

Deuce: Score of 40-40 in a game. A player must win two consecutive points from a deuce to win the game, unless the tournament employs no-ad scoring. A player who has won one point after deuce is said to have the advantage

Deuce Court: Right side of the court of each player, so called because the ball is served into it when the score is deuce

Drop Shot: Play in which the player hits the ball lightly enough to just go over the net, usually with backspin; designed to catch a player who is away from the net off guard.

Fault: Serve that fails to land the ball in the opponent’s service box, therefore not starting the point

Forehand: Stroke in which the player hits the ball with the front of the racquet hand facing the ball; contrasted with backhand

Groundstroke: Forehand or backhand shot that is executed after the ball bounces on the court

Half Volley: A groundstroke shot made immediately after a bounce or simultaneous to the bounce and played with the racket close to the ground

Let: A call that requires the point to be replayed

Lob: Stroke in which the ball is hit high above the net

Love: Scoring term indicating zero

No-ad Scoring: A scoring method in which the first player to reach four points wins the game

No-man’s Land: Area between the service line and the baseline

Out: A ball that has landed outside the playing area

Overhead: Stroke in which the player hits the ball over his/her head

Return: Stroke made by the receiver of a service

Serve: The starting point stroke of each game. The ball must be hit into the opponent’s half within the service box

Service Box: Rectangular area of the court, marked by the sidelines and the service lines, that a serve is supposed to land in

Slice: Shot with underspin (backspin), or a serve with a sidespin

Topspin: Spin of a ball where the top of the ball rotates toward the direction of travel

Volley: A shot hit, usually in the vicinity of the net, by a player before the ball bounces on their own side of the court

Winner: A shot that is not reached by the opponent and wins the point


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