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Tennis Terminology: M-Z

Tennis Terminology: M-Z

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 M-Z. 



Match A contest between two (or more) players.
Match Point When you need to win one more point to win and end the entire match.
Mini-Break If you win a point on your opponents serve during a tiebreak that is called a mini-break.
Moonball Usually a defensive move, this shot is hit very high over the net.


Net The barrier that separates the two halves of the court.
Net cord judge Official who determines if the serve hits the net.
No-man’s Land Area between the service line and the baseline, where a player is most vulnerable.


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


Point The smallest unit of scoring in tennis, it is a period of play between the first successful serve until the ball goes out of play.


Rally A series of consecutive shots.
Return Stroke made by the receiver of a service.


Scratch Withdrawal from a match due to an injury.
Serve Overhead shot to start each point.
Service Box Rectangular area of the court marked by the sidelines and service lines where a serve is supposed to land.
Service Line The line that runs parallel to the net and forms part of the demarcation of the service box.
Set A unit of scoring. The first player to win six games with a two-game advantage wins the set.
Set Point Situation in which the player who is leading needs one more point to win a set.
Singles Two players on the court who play against one another.
Slice A shot with backspin, or a serve with side spin.
Smash see Overhead.
Spin A method of stroke play which induces a pronounced roll of the ball.
Stance Position of the body prior to playing a shot.


Tiebreak When the score in a set reaches 6:6 a tiebreaker is needed and played up to seven points.
Topspin A forwards rotation of the ball after a shot.
Tramline Line defining the limit of play on the side of a singles or doubles court.

U – V – W

Umpire Official who keeps score during the match.
Underspin Another expression for backspin.
Unforced Error When a player misses an easy shot.

Volley When you hit the ball before it bounces on your side it is called a volley.

Wide A call which indicates that the ball has landed out of court, beyond the sideline.


Have we missed any popular tennis terms?

Let us know in comments below.

Click here for tennis terminology A-L

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