Tennis Terms Explained

There are a lot of different tennis terms used by tennis players and fans. If you want to be a tennis player then you should be familiar with almost all of these terms!

Tennis Terms


A serve that lands inside the lines and is untouched by the opponent


The point that follows a deuce score. If the player wins this point he wins the game, otherwise it goes back to deuce!


The left side of the tennis court. It is called Ad-Court because the ad points are always played from this side.

Approach Shot

A shot that the player follows to the net is called an approach shot


The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) is the governing body of men’s Tennis!


On a shot with backspin the ball rotates backwards. These shots usually stay pretty low


When you win a game during which your opponent was serving that is called a break in Tennis!

Break Point

The receiver is said to have a break point whenever he is in a situation where a point won results in him winning the game off of the server.


A shot that is hit diagonally into the opponent?s court


A shot that lands very close to the baseline rather than short around the service line


An expression that is used when the actual score is 40-40


The right side of the tennis court. It is called Deuce-Court because all deuce points are played from this side

Double Bagel

A match that ends with the score 6-0 6-0 is often called a double bagel in tennis circles. One of the funniest tennis terms in my opinion

Double Fault

The server has two serves to start the point. Whenever he misses both he looses one point in the game and this situation is called a double fault.


When you have four players on the court and two are playing against two this is called a doubles match.

Down the Line

A shot that is hit straight along the sideline into the opponent?s court


Any shot in Tennis that does not land within the lines that it is supposed to land within is called an error

Foot Fault

The server is not allowed to move over or even touch the baseline during his service motion. If he does so it is a so-called foot-fault and his serve is considered a fault.

Forced Error

When Player 1 hits a really good shot that forces Player 2 to miss that is called a forced error


Whenever the ball bounces on your side before you hit it that is called a Groundstroke. Forehands, Backhands, and Slice Backhands are all groundstrokes.

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When you win your service game it is called a hold.

Inside-Out Forehand

Tennis commentators often mention the so-called inside-out forehand. This is a situation where a player hits a forehand, usually from the backhand side of the court, towards the backhand side of his opponent. The ball takes an inside-out swing pattern and therefore the shot is called an inside-out forehand

Kick Serve

A serve hit with lots of topspin. The ball usually jumps high on this kind of shot!


The umpire calls a let whenever a serve touches the net and still lands in the service box. The serve is then replayed

Match Point

When you have match point you only need to win one more point to win and end the entire match.


If you win a point on your opponents serve during a tiebreak that is called a mini-break


A shot hit very high over the net. These are usually defensive shots and many tennis player dislike playing against players that hit moonballs. Just hearing the tennis term “Moonball” can cause some tennis players to get into a bad mood.


When you are at the net and your opponent tries to lob you with a high shot you will hit an overhead.


Whenever two players play a match against each other in tennis it is called a singles match


Same thing as an overhead.


A tiebreak is played when the score in a set reaches 6:6. The tiebreak is played up to 7 points and the idea is to bring the set to an end because without a tiebreak it could take forever


This is another expression for backspin. The ball rotates backwards and stays low on these shots

Unforced Error

When Player 1 misses an easy shot that is called an unforced error


Whenever your hit the ball before it bounces on your side it is called a volley

Wild Card

To get into many tournaments you need to have a certain rankings position. If you do not have that position the tournament officials can award you a wild card. With a wild card young players can often enter pro tournaments that they usually could not enter according to the ranking system

So that’s it for the tennis terms explanations. If you think a tennis term is missing then feel free to send me an email and I will include it!

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