How Does Scoring Work In Tennis? All-to-know About Scoring

Tennis has long had a unique system for keeping score, though its beginnings are somewhat obscure. Therefore, if you are trying to figure out why tennis scoring is so peculiar, we may not be able to satisfy your curiosity.

How Does Scoring Work In Tennis? Do not let the way tennis scores are kept frighten you. Tennis scoring is unorthodox, but it is relatively straightforward when you break it down piece by piece and point by point.

How Does Scoring Work In Tennis?

How Does Scoring Work In Tennis
How Does Scoring Work In Tennis

The tennis scoring system consists of three elements. Before delving into the point system, you should be aware that there are games, sets, and matches in tennis. The entire performance is called the “match,” which comprises sets. A set consists of won games, whereas a game consists of points.

Tennis uses the same scoring system for both singles and doubles matches. Singles alleys are out of bounds during singles play but not during doubles play; this is the only change in the gameplay.

The match is won by the singles or doubles player or team with the most sets. A set is made up of games, while a game is made up of points.

Tennis Scoring Rules

There are multiple ways a point can be scored. Among them:

– An unreturnable ball (ball bounces twice); 

– Double fault;

– Ace (unreturnable serve);

– Ball hit out of bounds (the lines count as in); 

– Ball hit the net.

*** Read more: What Does LET Mean In Tennis? 2 Rules On Calling A Let

Tennis Scoring History

You have the right to wonder, “Who was bored enough to come up with this thing?”

Although it is difficult to pinpoint the original origins of the tennis scoring system, it is generally accepted that it dates back to France in the 15th century. Tennis originated in France, where it quickly gained popularity among the affluent.

The early tennis players are thought to have kept score using a clock, with each point represented by a quarter-hour on the clock. Therefore, the first scores should have been 0, 15, 30, 45, and 60, which would have made more sense.

Hands were initially placed at the 15, 30, and 45-minute marks of clock face to keep score in tennis. However, they eventually altered it to 0, 15, 30, 40, 50, and 60 since a player needed to win a game by a margin of 2 points (game). To accommodate the advantage, the 45-minute mark was reduced to 40, and the game ended at 60.

However, adding minute hands to clocks did not occur until the 17th century. Therefore, this is more of a notion or urban legend than a fact.

The numerical numbers are associated with jeu de paume, a French game comparable to tennis but played with the hand rather than a racket. Each point scored would allow the serving player to advance 15 feet, up to a maximum of 45. A 90-foot court was used during the game. Tennis as we know it today eventually replaced the game of jou de Paume.

How Do Games Work?

How Do Games Work
How Do Games Work

#1. Point Tier

You begin with 0 points on the point scale. The player has 15 points after gaining one. The player would reach 30 if they earned one more point. After that, a player scores another point, bringing their total to 40. The player with 40 points will win the following point, taking a 1-0 set lead.

Before a score of 40, there is a tie, which is referred to as “all.” For instance, you might declare “30 all” when both players have 30.

#2. Deuce

When both players reach 40 points, the situation is called a “deuce.” The player gains the advantage if they score the following point while in “deuce,” which, in plain English, implies they will win the game if they do. The game then resets to “deuce” if the player without the advantage wins the point.

#3. Advantage

The last two expressions, advantage-in, and advantage-out, are ones you would frequently hear about scoring. When the server scores the point during a deuce, it is referred to as an advantage in or ad-in. When the receiver scores the point during a double, it is known as an advantage out or ad-out.

Although the deuce and advantage scoring layouts are part of the traditional scoring system, they may not always be used. For example, the following point wins the game if the score is 40-40.

*** Read more: What Is Break Point Tennis? Definition of Break Point

Scoring Example

 # Players Win Without Deuce

  • 0-0 (Game Starts with Serve from Player 1)
  • 15-0 (Player 1 scores the first point)
  • 30-0 (Player 1 scores the second point)
  • 400 (Player 1 scores the third point).
  • Game Over – Player 1 Wins (Player 1 scores the fourth point)

# Players Win With Deuce

  • 0-0 (Game Starts with Serve from Player 1)
  • 15-0 (Player 1 scores the first point)
  • 15-15 (Player 2 scores the first point)
  • 30-15 (Player 1 scores second point)
  • 30-30 (Player 2 scores the second point).
  • 40-30 (Player 1 scores the third point).
  • 40-40 (Player 2 scores the third point).
  • DEUCE: The game is now tied; for a player, or players in doubles, to win, they must score an additional two points in a row. These points are also called game points and advantage-in (or out). Whether the player who wins the point after a 40-40 tie is the one serving or receiving services, it is referred to as being “in” or “out” in the advantage phrase. If the person serving wins the point, it is said to be an advantage-in; if the player receiving wins, it is an advantage-out.
  • Ad-In – 40 (Player 1 scores the fourth point).
  • Game Over – Player 1 Wins (Player 1 scores fifth point)

Set Scoring vs Match Scoring

Set Scoring vs Match Scoring
Set Scoring vs Match Scoring

# Set Scoring

A player must win six out of the seven games in a set in order to win the set. The first player to win the set wins six games. Similar to how at least two points must decide games, sets must be determined by at least two games (see Deuce above). If a set is tied after five games, the winner must win two more straight games to claim the victory. As a result, sets may be won by scores of 7-5, 8-6, 9-7, and so forth.

As an alternative, and in professional tennis, there is something called a “tiebreaker” when a set ends with a score of 6-6 in games.

A tiebreaker game is a game of 12 points, and the victor of the tiebreaker will also win the set. A player must have at least 7 points and two more points than their opponent to win the tiebreaker. Sequential tiebreaker scoring begins at 1. As a result, a player may, for instance, triumph in a tiebreaker with a score of 7-5, 8-6, 9-7, etc.

*** Read more: What Is A Set In Tennis? Full Explanation of Set In Tennis

# Match Scoring

A best-of-score method is used for match scoring. A match typically consists of three sets, with the first player to win two of the sets winning the match. In best-of-five professional men’s tennis sets, the first player to win three sets wins the match.

Match Scoring
Match Scoring

How To Score Points?

#1. In Singles

The opponent cannot return the service because the serving player directs the ball into the proper serving court. An Ace is what we call this.

On two consecutive occasions, the ball-serving player serves into the net or outside the court. The second try is known as a “Double Fault,” and the opponent receives a point. The first effort is known as a “fault,” and no points are awarded.

If any player smashes the ball into the net after a service has been put into play, the other player or players receive a point.

If any player smashes the ball into the doubles alleys on either side of the court or behind the baseline after a service has been placed into play, the opposite player or players are awarded a point.

#2. In Doubles

In a game of doubles, a player or players may accrue points in the following ways:

Except for the Doubles Alleys being in use, the score in doubles play is the same. In other words, if a player hits the ball into the alleys, the opposite side does not receive 15 points, but rather the game continues until a different player hits the ball behind the baseline or into the net.

How To Win A Tennis Match?

How To Win A Tennis Match
How To Win A Tennis Match

It is time to discuss how a player can win a match now that we have discussed how to win tennis points, games, and sets. Understanding how to win a match should be simple if you are familiar with the other aspects of the scoring system.

Depending on the competition they are participating in, a player must win either 2 out of 3 sets or 3 out of 5 sets to win a tennis match. The “2 out of 3 rule” governs most tennis competitions. That means a player must defeat their opponent in 2 sets to win a game. Two sets to 0 or two sets to 1 are possible results. Some possible game results include 6–3–7–5 (2 sets to 0 wins) or 2–6–4–7–6. (2 sets to 1 win).

The “3 out of 5 rule” is not frequently used in tournaments throughout the year. Typically, only Grand Slams use such a scoring system. A player must be the first to win three sets in order to win the match. Scores of three sets to zero, one, or two sets are all possible. These games take far longer, frequently lasting over three hours (or even eleven hours!).


Tennis is one of the most entertaining activities to watch and play because of its peculiar rules! Tennis players of all skill levels like to do the bare minimum on the court. Though it should not come as a surprise as the game itself is already intellectually and physically taxing!

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