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Tennis Terminology: A-L

Tennis Terminology: A-L

Tennis is a game where two to four players strike a ball with rackets over a net to earn points and win a match. Whether you are a player or fan in the stands, knowing tennis terminology is necessary to better understand the game.


This is a list of common tennis terminology from A-L and the list continues on at M-Z. 



Ace A serve that lands inside the lines and untouched by the opponent.
Ad Court The advantage court is the left side of the court for each player.
Advantage Once the score reaches 40-all, the winner of the next point will have the advantage. Now another point is required to win the game. If the player with advantage loses the next point, the score reverts to 40-all.
All Used by the chair umpire to announce scores when both players have the same number of points or the same number of games.
Alley The area of court bounded by the singles and doubles sidelines, used in doubles games.
Angle-game Style of play where the all is hot so as to force the opponent wide of the court.
Approach Shot A shot that the player follows to the net is called an approach shot.
ATP The Association of Tennis Professionals. The governing body of men’s tennis.


Backhand The tennis stroke in which the ball is struck on the opposite side of the body to the racket hand.
Backspin On a shot with backspin the ball rotates backwards.
Ball The tennis ball usually made with a hollow rubber core and covered with a wool or nylon coat.
Ballboys Assistants whose job is to collect the ball and return it to the serving player.
Ball Toss The act of tossing up the ball prior to a serve.
Baseline Two-inch wide mark at the rear of the court.
Break When you win a game during which your opponent was serving.
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.
Bunt To use the power of the opponents shot and hit it back with a short swing.


Change-over 90 second rest time after every odd-numbered game when the players change ends.
Cross-Court A shot hit diagonally across the court.


Deep A shot that lands very close to the baseline.
Deuce An expression that is used when the actual score is 40-all.
Deuce-Court The right side of the tennis court for each player.
Double Bagel A match that ends with the score 6-0 6-0 is often called a double bagel in tennis circles.
Double Fault When the server faults two in a row and loses a point.
Doubles Four players on the court with two opponents on each side.
Down the Line A shot that is hit straight along the sideline into the opponent’s court.
Drop Shot A volley in which the ball drops just over the net.


Elbow Corner of the baseline and the doubles alley.
Error Any shot that does not land within the lines is called an error.


Fault When the ball does not land inside the service area during a serve.
Foot Fault When the server moves over or touches the baseline during their service motion.
Forced Error Error caused by an opponent’s good play.
Forecourt Area of court between the service line and the net.
Frame Shot When the ball hits the frame of the racket rather than the strings.


Grinding Playing out points with a series of shots from the baseline.
Groundstroke The term used when the ball bounces on your side before it’s hit.


Half Court The area of the court in the vicinity of the service line.
Hold The term used when you win your service game.

I – J


Kick Serve A serve hit with a lot of top spin.


Let The umpire calls a let whenever a serve touches the net and still lands in the service box. The serve is then replayed.
Linesman Official who sits in a chair along lines of the court to call whether balls are in or out.
Lob A ball hit high in the air in an attempt to land the ball behind the opposing player.
Love Terminology indicating zero, ie. a score of 15-0 is announced “fifteen-love”.

Have we missed any popular tennis terms from A through L?

Let us know in comments below.

Click here for tennis terminology M-Z

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