\”Love\” means zero. In tennis, the server\’s score is given first, so \”love-fifteen\” means the server has no points, the opponent has fifteen. The score in a tennis game progresses from love to fifteen to thirty to forty to game. If both players achieve forty then it\’s called a deuce. A player must win a game by two points, so the player who scores the next point is said to have \”advantage. \” If the opposing player scores the next point, they go back to deuce. It\’s a quirky scoring procedure.
Its roots derive from French, not English, so I feel within my rights to declare ignorance without penalty at this point. 🙂
A novice tennis fan wouldn t be blamed for being confused about who s winning a matchБan understanding of the language of tennis scores is needed to appreciate the game! Unlike soccer, basketball, and baseball, which simply count points for every goal, basket, and run, tennis has a scoring system (and lexicon) all its own.
At the beginning of the game, when both sides have no score, the game is love-love because in tennis, means having a score of zero or nil. One point brings a player to 15, two to 30; and three to 40. The next point wins the game, unless a complex series of tiebreakers comes into play, because in order to win a tennis match, a player must win by a margin of two. Where did the game gets its affectionate score for zero? The Oxford English Dictionary suggests that the term might be rooted in the colloquial phrase Бfor love,Б meaning Бwithout stakes being wagered.
Б This theory reflects the sport s long history of etiquette and sportsmanship. Others theorize that love arose from the French word for Бegg,Б l oeuf, because a zero on a scoreboard resembles an egg. This is a clever claim, but it remains unsubstantiated. Tennis might have ended up with a different name altogether. Major Walter Wingfield, who laid down the rules for modern tennis, had another name for tennis.
He called it sphairistike, based on the Greek phrase Бskill in playing at ball. Б The word tennis most likely comes from the French word tenetz Б meaning Бhold! Б Б the imperative conjugation of the verb tenir. Etymologists hypothesize that this was an early command used in the game, but there is no firm evidence to support this. Have you heard other theories about why love is used in tennis?