Demystifying Tennis Scores: How Points and Sets Add Up

Tennis is a sport that has fascinated and challenged enthusiasts for generations. Its blend of physical agility, mental strategy, and competitive spirit creates a captivating experience for both players and spectators. However, the details of the scoring system can be confusing, especially for those new to the game. Understanding how tennis scores are calculated is essential for appreciating the sport’s depth and excitement. 

Through this article learn how is tennis score calculated, the complexities of tennis scoring, clarify its unique terminology, and explore the historical origins that shaped this enduring system.

Understanding the Basics of Tennis Scoring

  1. Point System

In tennis, the point system is simple but distinct. Each game begins at zero, known as “love.” The points are awarded in three increments: 15, 30, and 40. If a player scores the following point after 40, they win the game. However, if both players achieve 40, the score is known as “deuce.”

To win from a deuce, a player must score two consecutive points. The first point after the deuce gives the player an “advantage.” If the player with the advantage scores the following point, they win the game. If they lose the point, the score resets to deuce, and the process continues until one player wins two consecutive points.

  1. Game to Set

A set consists of a series of games. A player needs to win at least six games, with a margin of two games over the opponent, to win a set. For example, if the score is 5 all, the player will need to win two more games to win (7-5). If the score is 6 all, the players then go into a tiebreak. Tiebreak points are awarded as 1, 2, 3… instead of 15, 30, 40, and are played to at least 7 points. The winner needs a margin of two points to win. 

  1. Set to Match

Matches are typically best of three or five sets. To win the match, a player must win the majority of sets, or win a super tiebreak of 10 points in the third or fifth deciding set.

Tennis Scoring Terminology – Common Terms

  • Love: A score of zero.
  • Deuce: A tie at 40-40.
  • Advantage: The point after deuce. If the player with the advantage scores the following point, they win the game.
  • Tiebreak: If the set reaches 6-6, a tiebreak is played to determine the winner of the set.

History of Tennis Scoring


Are you wondering how did tennis scoring come about? The origins of tennis scoring are steeped in history and mystery. It is widely believed that the system dates back to medieval France. The theory suggests that the scoring terms—15, 30, and 40—are derived from the use of a clock face to keep score. Each point moved the hand of the clock a quarter of the way around, hence 15, 30, and 45. Over time, 45 was shortened to 40 to accommodate the game’s pace and flow.

The term “love,” meaning a score of zero, is thought to come from the French word “l’oeuf,” meaning “egg,” symbolizing the shape of zero. The origins of “deuce” and “advantage” are less clear but are believed to have evolved from early forms of the game where different rules and terms were experimented with before standardization. This historical context provides a fascinating backdrop to the modern game, linking today’s players with those who played centuries ago.


Over time, the scoring system has seen few changes. The introduction of the tiebreak in the 1970s added a new dimension to the game, preventing endless sets.

Practical Application: Tennis Scores and Results

To understand tennis scores in practice, let’s consider a match example. Suppose Player A is competing against Player B. The match score might be presented as 6-3, 4-6, 7-5. This means Player A won the first set by winning six games to Player B’s three. Player B then won the second set, winning six games to Player A’s four. In the final set, Player A won seven games to Player B’s five, securing the match victory.

Interpreting Scores

Tennis scores are typically displayed with the server’s score first, followed by the receiver’s score. For instance, if the score is 40-30, the server has 40 points, and the receiver has 30 points. If the game is tied at 40-40, it’s a deuce, and players continue to play until one wins by two consecutive points.

Reading Match Results

Match results often appear in summaries that highlight the winner, set scores, and any notable statistics. Understanding these scores helps fans and players analyze performance and strategies. It also adds depth to the viewing experience, making each point, game, and set more engaging.

Benefits of Learning Tennis Scoring

Player Perspective

For players, mastering tennis scoring is crucial. Knowing how points, games, and sets add up helps in planning strategies and managing the match. It enables players to focus on crucial points, such as those at deuce, and understand the importance of breaking an opponent’s serve. This knowledge enhances decision-making and mental toughness during matches.

Spectator Perspective

For spectators, understanding the scoring system transforms the viewing experience. It allows fans to follow the match’s progression with greater insight and excitement. Recognizing the significance of each point, game, and set makes the highs and lows of a match more thrilling. It also helps in appreciating the strategies and skills employed by the players.

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  • Local Scene – Dubai boasts a vibrant tennis culture with world-class facilities.
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  • Programs for All Ages – Tennis 360 offers tailored programs for different age groups and skill levels, ensuring everyone can enjoy and improve their game.

Wrapping Things Up

Understanding how tennis scores are calculated is essential for both players and fans. It not only enhances the enjoyment of the game but also aids in strategic improvement for players. Now that you know how is tennis score calculated, if you’re looking to deepen your tennis knowledge or improve your skills, consider Tennis 360 in Dubai. Their expert coaching and excellent facilities make it the perfect place for tennis training.