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The Tennis Business Discussion Forum Archive

Re: Origins of Scoring

From: Cliff Kurtzman <>
Date: Wed 23 Aug 2000 08:40:45 -0500

>Can someone please cast some light on the origins of scoring our game?

 From the Tennis FAQ that Chris Smith used to maintain online:

           Origin of the Scoring System in Tennis

The traditional scoring system in a tennis game is 15-30-40-deuce-ad-game.
The scoring system is said to derive from the usage of the four quarters
of a clock (15-30-45-60) used to score a game in the pre-modern era. 60
would signify game, while 45 was, in time, "shortened" to 40.

A common explanation for the term "love" to signify a score of zero is that
it originates from the Frech term "l'oeuf." Another explanation is based
on the idea that to do something for love is to do something for nothing

The tie-break in tennis originated with Jimmy Van Alen in the late 1960s.
Van Alen wished to eliminate interminable deuce sets (sets where the score
reaches 5 games all and, under traditional rules, play continues until the
winner of the set acquires a two-game advantage).

After some experimentation at Newport, R.I., a "sudden death" tie-break
was introduced at the US Open in 1970. The winner of the tie-break was
the first person to reach five points with an advantage of at least one.
The current version of the tie-break -- first to seven with an advantage
of two -- was implemented in 1975.

--Cliff Kurtzman
moderator, TennisBiz
publisher, Tennis Server

Received on Wed Aug 23 2000 - 08:40:45 CDT

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