Tennis Information and Terminology Ace

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Tennis Information and Terminology

  • Ace – a serve where the tennis ball served is served in and not touched by the receiver, aces are usually powerful and generally land on or near the one of the corners at the back of the service box

  • Ad court – the left side of the court of each player

  • Advantage – when one player wins a point from a deuce and needs one more point to win the game

  • Alley – the area of the court between the singles and doubles sidelines, also known as the tramlines

  • Approach shot – a shot used as a setup as the player runs up to the net, often using underspin or topspin and being a much faster shot than used during rallies

  • Backhand – hitting the ball with the back of the racquet hand facing the ball at the moment of contact.

  • Backspin – (also known as slice or underspin), is a shot such that the ball rotates backwards after it is hit. The trajectory of the shot involves an upward force that lifts the ball.

  • Backswing – the portion of a swing where the racquet is swung backwards in preparation for the forward motion to hit the ball

  • Baseline – the chalk line at the farthest ends of the court indicating the boundary of the area of play.

  • Break point – one point away from a break (expressed as the score of 30-40); a double break point (or two break points) is expressed as the score of 15-40; a triple break point (or three break points) is expressed as the score of 0-40

  • Court – the area designated for playing a game of tennis

  • Crosscourt – hitting the ball diagonally into the opponent's court

  • Deep – a shot that lands near the baseline, as opposed to near the net

  • Deuce – the score 40-40 in a game. A player must win two consecutive points from a deuce before winning the game. See advantage

  • Deuce court – the right side of the court of each player

  • Double Fault – two faults in a row in one point, causing the player serving to lose the point

  • Doubles – a tennis game played by four players, two per side of the court

  • Down the line – hitting the ball straight ahead into the opponent's court

  • Drop shot – a play in which the player hits the ball lightly enough to just go over the net; designed to catch a player who is away from the net off guard

  • Fault – a serve that fails to place the ball in the correct area of play, therefore not starting the point

  • Follow through – the portion of a swing after the ball is hit

  • Foot fault – when a player, during the serve, steps on or over the baseline into the court before striking the ball, which results in a service fault. A foot fault may also occur when the player steps on or across the center hash mark and its imaginary perpendicular extension from the baseline to the net

  • Forehand – a method of wielding a tennis racquet where the player hits the tennis ball with a stroke that comes from behind their body with the front of their racquet hand facing the ball

  • Game point – a situation when the player who is leading needs one more point to win a game

  • Groundstroke – a forehand or backhand shot that is executed after the ball bounces once on the court

  • Head – (racket) the portion of the racket that contains the strings

  • Let (let service) – when the ball from a serve touches the net but lands in the service court; the serve is void, and the server gets to retake that serve.

  • Let – a warning exclamation when multiple matches occur adjacent to one another and one match's ball bounces into the court of another match. The point is replayed in the offended match. Most often used in high school and college tennis, although it can also be used at the major tournaments if a ball falls out of a player's shorts or skirt onto the court.

  • Lob – a stroke in tennis where the ball is hit high above the net. If the opposing player or players are up at the net, the intention may be an offensive lob in order to win the point outright. In a defensive lob, the intent is to give the player time to recover and get in position, or, if the opponents are at the net, to force them to chase down the lob.

  • Love – zero (score) (e.g. 'to hold to love' means 'to win the game when serving with the opponent scoring zero points'; 'to break to love' means 'to win the game when receiving with the opponent scoring zero points'). Thought to be derived from the French term, "l'oeuf", literally "the egg", meaning nothing.

  • Match point – a situation when the player who is leading needs one more point to win the match. If the player is serving in such a situation, (s)he is said to be 'serving for the match'. Variations of the term are possible, e.g. championship point is the match point in the final match of a championship

  • Mixed Doubles – a tennis game played by four players, two male, two female, one of each player sex per side of the court

  • Net– the piece of netting stretched across the middle of the court; it is held up by the posts

  • No-Man's Land – the area between the service line and the baseline, where a player is most vulnerable

  • Out – any ball that lands outside the play area

  • Overhead – (also: 'smash') a situation when the player is hitting the ball over his/her head; if the shot is hit relatively strong, it is referred to as the smash (see: Smash); smashes are often referred as simply 'overheads', although not every overhead shot is a smash

  • Poaching – (in doubles) an aggressive move where the player at net moves to volley a shot intended for his/her partner

  • Point – the period of play between the first successful service of a ball to the point at which that ball goes out of play

  • Rally – (Following the service of a tennis ball) – A series of return hits of the ball that ends when one or other player fails to return the ball within the court boundary or fails to return a ball that falls within the play area.

  • Receiver – the person that is being served to

  • Second Service – the second and final of the two serves a player is allowed at the beginning of a point

  • Serve – (also, as a noun, 'service') to begin a point by hitting the ball into the opponent's half of the court

  • Service gamewith regard to a player, the game where the player is serving (e.g. 'Player A won a love service game' means that Player has won a game where (s)he was serving without the opponent scoring)

  • Serve and volley – a strategy to serve and immediately move forward to make a volley and hopefully a winner

  • Set point – a situation when the player who is leading needs one more point to win a set. If the player is serving in such a situation, (s)he is said to be 'serving for the set'

  • Singles – a tennis game played by two players

  • Slice – (rally) hitting a tennis ball with underspin; (service) serving with sidespin

  • Smash – the most frequent variety of the overhead shot (see: Overhead): an overhead shot at an angle close to perpendicular causing the ball to bounce off the opponent's court at angle close to perpendicular or in another manner that is hard to manage by the opponent

  • Spin – rotation of the ball as it moves through the air, affecting its trajectory and bounce. See Backspin & Topspin

  • Split stepa footwork technique, doing a small hop just before the opponent hits the ball

  • Spot Serving/Server – Serving with precision resulting in the ball either landing on or near the intersection of the center service line and service line or singles tramline and service line

  • Stroke – a striking of the ball

  • Tiebreak (also: tiebreaker) – a special game at the score 6-6 in a set to decide the winner of the set; the winner is the first to reach at least seven points with a difference of two over the opponent.

  • Topspin – spin of a ball where the top of the ball rotates toward the direction of travel; the spin goes forward over the top of the ball, causing the ball to dip and bounce at a higher angle to the court.

  • Underhand service (serve) – a service whereby a player serving delivers the ball with his or her racquet below shoulder level. In intermediate level tennis this is considered unusual but an acceptable ploy. In upper-intermediate and professional events, the practice would generally be considered insulting.

  • Volley – a forehand or backhand shot executed before the ball bounces in the court.

  • Winner – (rally) a forcing shot that cannot be reached by the opponent and wins the point; (service) a forcing serve that is reached by the opponent, but is not returned properly, and wins the point

Court Diagram

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