Glossary / Entertainment

Tennis Glossary

Ace: A serve where the tennis ball served is served in and not touched by the receiver, aces are usually
Action: Another word for spin.
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.
All-Court: A style of play which is defined as a composite of all of the different playing styles which include
Alley: The area of the court between the singles and doubles sidelines, also known as the tramlines.
Alternate: A player or a team that gains acceptance into the main draw of a tournament due to a main draw playe
Approach Shot: A shot used as a setup as the player runs up to the net, often using underspin or topspin and being
ATP: Association of tennis professionals, the men's professional circuit
ATP Champions Race: The atp points ranking system which starts at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year m
Australian Formation: (in doubles) a formation where the server and partner stand on the same side of the court (deuce or
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.
Backswing: The portion of a swing where the racquet is swung backwards in preparation for the forward motion to
Bagel: Winning (or losing) a set 6-0. With the shape of the '0' being evoked supposedly by the round shape
Ball Boy or Girl: A boy (or girl) tasked with retrieving tennis balls from the court that have gone out of play. They
Baseline: The chalk line at the farthest ends of the court indicating the boundary of the area of play.
Baseliner: A player who plays around the baseline during play and relies on the quality of his or her ground st
Big Serve: A forceful serve, usually giving an advantage in the point for the server.
Block: A defensive shot with relatively little backswing, usually while returning a serve.
Breadstick: Jargon for winning (or losing) a set 6-1, with the straight shape of the '1' being evoked supposedly
Break: To win a game as the receiving player or team, thereby breaking serve. Noun: break (service break) (
Break Back: To win a game as the receiving player or team immediately after losing the previous game as the serv
Break Point: One point away from a break (expressed as the score of 30-40 or 40-adv); a double break point (or tw
Buggy Whip: Describes a forehand hit with a follow through which does not go across the body and finish on the o
Bye: Refers to the round of tournament where a player advances automatically without facing an opponent.
Call: An utterance of a line judge declaring that a play was outside of the play area
Can Opener: A serve hit by a right-handed player with slice landing on or near the intersection of the singles t
Cannonball: A somewhat older term used to define a hard flat serve.
Carve: To hit a groundstroke shot with a combination of sidespin and underspin
Challenge: To request the official review of the location where the ball has landed after a shot using the mean
Challenger: A tournament/tour which is one level below the atp tour. Players compete on the challenger tour in a
Change-Over: The rest time between certain games when the players change ends.
Chip: Blocking a shot with underspin
Chip And Charge: A play which involves hitting a slice shot while moving forward and following the shot into the net
Chop: A shot with extreme underspin
Clip The Line: A shot in which some part of the ball lands on the line.
Closed Stance: Hitting the ball with the body facing between parallel to the baseline and backturned to the opponen
Code Violation: On the atp tour and on the wta tour, occurs when a player commits a violation such as voicing an obs
Counterpuncher: A defensive baseliner. See tennis strategy
Court: The area designated for playing a game of tennis
Cross-Over: A player crossing the net into the opponent's court. It can either be done in a friendly fashion, or
Crosscourt: Hitting the ball diagonally into the opponent's court
Cyclops: A device used on centre court[where?] To detect if a serve lands long past the service line. The dev
Davis Cup: An international, annual men's tennis competition in which teams from participating countries compet
Dead Net: A situation when a player scores by inadvertently hitting the ball in such a way that it touches the
Dead Rubber: Refers to a davis cup match which is played after the victor of the tie has already been decided. De
Deep: A shot that lands near the baseline, as opposed to near the net
Default: A disqualification of a player in a match by the chair umpire, after the player received four code v
Deuce: The score 40-40 in a game. A player must win two consecutive points from a deuce before winning the
Deuce Court: The right side of the court of each player
Dink: Hitting a shot with no pace, most of the time hit close to the net
Dirtballer: A colloquial term for a clay court specialist
Double Bagel: Two sets won to love: see bagel
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 down the side of the court 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
Drop Volley: A drop shot executed from a volley
Entry System: The ranking system used by the atp and wta tours which is so named because it determines whether a p
Exhibition: A tournament in which players compete for the purpose of entertaining the crowd but not ranking poin
Fault: A serve that fails to place the ball in the correct area of play, therefore not starting the point
Fed Cup: An international, annual women's tennis competition in which teams from participating countries comp
First Service: The first of the two serves of a tennis ball a player is allowed at the beginning of a point.
Five: An expression of a number of games completed (e.g. '7-5' is spoken as 'seven-five'), or (curiously,
Flat: E.g. A flat serve; a shot with relatively little spin
Flatliner: A player that hits the ball flat with a very low trajectory with exceptional depth and accuracy such
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 ba
Forced Error: When an opponent hits a difficult shot that causes the player to miss. As opposed to the unforced er
Forehand: A method of wielding a tennis racquet where the player hits the tennis ball with a stroke that comes
Fry: Jargon for winning (or losing) a set 6-1, with the straight shape of the '1' being evoked supposedly
Futures: A series of tennis tournaments which is two levels below the main tour and one level below the chall
Game Point: A situation when the player who is leading needs one more point to win a game
Geary: When the player pulls a quality pose after winning a point
Ghost In To The Net: Refers to the tactic of approaching the net from the baseline while the opposing player is focused o
GOAT: Acronym for the 'greatest of all time'
Golden Set: Winning a set without losing a point
Golden Slam: Winning the grand slam and the tennis olympic gold medal in a calendar year
Grand Slam: The four most prestigious tournaments in a year: the australian open, the french open (or roland gar
Grinding: Playing out points with a series of shots from the baseline. Hitting and running down tennis balls w
Groundies: A forehand or backhand shot that is executed after the ball bounces once on the court
Groundstroke: A forehand or backhand shot that is executed after the ball bounces once on the court
Gut: Refers to a type of historically very popular racquet string made from natural materials (the intest
Hacker: A beginning to intermediate player
Hail Mary: An extremely high lob, for defensive purposes
Half Volley: A volley shot made after a short bounce
Hawk-Eye: A high speed computer system used to track the path of the ball and used with the challenge system t
Head: (racket) the portion of the racket that contains the strings
Heavy (Ball): A ball hit with so much topspin that it feels 'heavy' when the opposing player strikes it.
Hold: Winning the game when serving
Hopman Cup: An annual international team tennis tournament
I-Formation: A formation used in doubles wherein the net player begins roughly at the center of the net; used mai
Inside-In: Running around one side and hitting it down the line; less popular than the inside-out
Inside-Out: Running around one side (e.g. The backhand side) and hitting a crosscourt shot
Insurance Break: Obtaining an overall advantage of two breaks of serve.
ITA: The intercollegiate tennis association [1], the governing body of collegiate tennis.
ITF: The international tennis federation, the governing body of world tennis.
Jamming: To serve or return straight to the opponent's body
Junk Ball: A deliberate yet poor quality stroke producing a slower and harder-to-predict return that is introdu
Kick Serve: A type of spin serve that bounces high
Lawn Tennis: Regular tennis, as opposed to table tennis or real tennis, the game from which tennis is derived.
Let: A warning exclamation when multiple matches occur adjacent to one another and one match's ball bounc
Let Service: When the ball from a serve touches the net but lands in the service court; the serve is void, and th
Let-Check: An electronic device attached to the net which detects lets by detecting vibration of the net. It is
Line Judge: A person designated to observe the passage of tennis balls over the boundary lines of the court. A l
Lob: A stroke in tennis where the ball is hit high above the net. If the opposing player or players are u
Love: Zero (score) (e.g. 'To hold to love' means 'to win the game when serving with the opponent scoring z
Love Game: A shutout game, won without the opponent scoring
Lucky Loser: The highest ranked player to lose in the final round of qualifying but still gain acceptance into th
Mac-Cam: A high speed video camera used for televised instant replays of close shots landing on/near the base
Masters Cup: The year end tennis competition for the atp tour where the top 8 players compete.
Match Point: A situation when the player who is leading needs one more point to win the match. If the player is s
Mercedes Super 9: The former name for the 9 atp masters series tournaments
Mini-Break: To win a point from the opponent's serve in a tiebreak without losing points on your own serve.
Mis-Hit: When the racket fails to make contact with the ball in the 'sweetspot' area of the strings
Mixed Doubles: A tennis game played by four players, two male, two female, one of each player sex per side of the c
Moonball: A medium-high offensive lob hit with topspin (in the uk, also a pejorative term for a defensive, ver
MOP: Stands for major opportunity point at 0-30.
Net: The piece of netting stretched across the middle of the court; it is held up by the posts
Net Point: A point won or lost on approaching the net, as opposed to a point won or lost by a stroke from the b
New Balls: A new set of balls replacing the old ones during the game from time to time due to the fact that str
No-Mans Land: The area between the service line and the baseline, where a player is most vulnerable
NTRP Rating: A tennis rating system which consists of a scale from 1 to 7 with a 1 being an absolute beginner and
OP: Stands for opportunity point at 15-30.
Open Stance: Hitting the ball with the body facing between parallel to the baseline and facing the opponent; a mo
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 hi
Overrule: Reversing a call from the linesperson, done by the umpire
Overwrap: A material wrapped over the handle of the racket to absorb moisture. Includes gauze and the popular
Passing Shot: A shot that passes by (not over) the opponent at the net (see lob)
Peng: A drop shot that finds the net or allows an easy return winner for the opponent
Poaching: (in doubles) an aggressive move where the player at net moves to volley a shot intended for his/her
Point: The period of play between the first successful service of a ball to the point at which that ball go
Pressureless Ball: A special type of tennis ball that does not have a core of pressurized air as standard balls do but
Protected Ranking: A player injured for a minimum of six months can ask for a protected ranking, which will be based on
Pulp: 30-30 in a service game; not quite 'deuce' (juice).
Pusher: A player who does not try to hit winners, but only to return the ball safely
Putaway: A shot to try to end the point from an advantageous situation
Qualies: The qualifying rounds of a tournament where participants compete for a spot in the main draw.
Qualifier: Player that did not automatically make the main draw based upon his/her world ranking but by competi
Racquet: A bat with a long handle and a large looped frame with a string mesh tautly stretched across it, the
Rally: A series of return hits of the ball that ends when one or other player fails to return the ball with
Receiver: The person that is being served to
Referee: A person in charge of enforcing the rules in a tournament, as opposed to a tennis match (see umpire)
Reflex Volley: A volley in which the player has no time to plan the shot, and instead reacts instinctively to get t
Retirement: A player withdrawing during a match, usually due to injury; and subsequently forfeiting their place
Retriever: A defensive baseliner. See tennis strategy
Return Ace: It's the shot when the opponent serves and you return the serve and the opponent doesn't hit the bal
Rising Shot: A shot thats hits the ball immediately after it hits the ground.
Round Of 16: The round of a tournament prior to the quarterfinals in which there are 16 players remaining, corres
Round Robin: A tournament format in which players are organised into groups of 3 or 4 players and compete against
Second Service: The second and final of the two serves a player is allowed at the beginning of a point
Seed: For a given tournament there are specified number of seeds depending on the size of the draw. For at
Serve: (also, as a noun, 'service') to begin a point by hitting the ball into the opponent's half of the co
Serve And Volley: A strategy to serve and immediately move forward to make a volley and hopefully a winner.
Service Game: With regard to a player, the game where the player is serving (e.g. 'Player a won a love service gam
Set Point: A situation when the player who is leading needs one more point to win a set. If the player is servi
Shank: A mishit whereby the ball contacts the racket frame during the swing resulting in a shot which is mi
Singles: A tennis game played by two players.
Singles Sticks: A pair of poles which are placed underneath the net near the singles sideline for the purpose of rai
Sitter: A shot hit by the opponent which is hit with very little pace and no spin which bounces high after l
Slice: (rally) hitting a tennis ball with underspin; (service) serving with sidespin.
Spank: To hit a groundstroke flat with a lot of pace.
Special Exempt: Players who are unable to appear in a tournament's qualifying draw, because they are still competing
Spin: Rotation of the ball as it moves through the air, affecting its trajectory and bounce. See backspin
Split Step: A footwork technique, doing a small hop just before the opponent hits the ball.
Spot Serving: Serving with precision resulting in the ball either landing on or near the intersection of the cente
Squash Shot: A forehand or backhand shot typically hit on the run from a defensive position, either with slice, o
Stick The Volley: A volley hit crisply resulting in shot with a sharp downward trajectory.
Straight Sets: A match victory in which the victor never lost a set
String Saver: Tiny pieces of plastic that are sometimes inserted where the strings cross, to prevent the strings f
Strings: The material weaved through the face of the racquet. The strings are where contact with the ball is
Stroke: A striking of the ball.
Sweetspot: The central area of the stringbead which is the desired location for making contact with the ball.
T: Where the center line and service line intersect to form a t.
Tanking: To purposely lose a match, because of poor mental game or other reason; or to purposely lose a non-v
Tennis Ball: A soft, hollow, air-filled rubber ball coated in a synthetic fur, used in the game of tennis.
Tennis Bubble: An indoor tennis facility consisting of a domed structure which is supported by air pressure generat
Tennis Elbow: A common injury in beginner to intermediate tennis players possibly due to improper technique or a r
Tennis Hall Of Fame: The sport's hall of fame located in newport, rhode island.
Tie: Synonymous with match but used for davis cup.
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
Topspin: Spin of a ball where the top of the ball rotates toward the direction of travel; the spin goes forwa
Touch: Occurs when a player touches any part of the net when the ball is still in play resulting in losing
Tramline: A line defining the limit of play on the side of a singles or doubles court.
Trampolining: The effect which occurs when striking a ball flat with a racket which is strung at a very loose tens
Tree: A player who is playing much better than they normally play, or a shot that a player hits that he/sh
Treeing: Someone who is playing much better than they normally play.
Tweener: A trick shot first popularized by yannick noah which involves hitting the ball between the legs from
Twist Serve: A serve hit with a combination of slice and topspin which results in a curving trajectory and high b
U.S. Open: The US Open or U.S. Open (or formally United States Open) tennis tournament is the modern incarnatio
Umpire: An independent person designated to enforce the rules of the game in a match, usually sitting on a h
Underhand Service: A service whereby a player serving delivers the ball with his or her racquet below shoulder level. I
Underspin: Spin of a ball where the top of the ball rotates away from the direction of travel; the spin is unde
Unforced Error: During play, an error in a service or return shot that cannot be attributed to any factor other than
Unseeded Player: A player (male or female) who is not a seed in the tournament (see seed).
Volley: A forehand or backhand shot executed before the ball bounces in the court.
Walkover: An unopposed victory. A walkover may be awarded as a bye, or more commonly because the opponent defa
Wild Card: A player allowed to play in a tournament, even if his/her rank is not adequate or does not register
Wimbledon: The Championships, Wimbledon, or simply Wimbledon, is the oldest tennis tournament in the world and
Winner: (rally) a forcing shot that can not be reached by the opponent and wins the point; (service) a forci
Womens Doubles: An event that two women play together and serve to two other women, serving with the server of the t
WTA: Women's tennis association, the women's professional circuit.

Links
Home
Glossary
Thesaurus