How Does Tennis Scoring Work? The Rules You Need To Know

Are you confused about how is tennis scored? If yes, then don’t worry because at the end of this article you will know how tennis scoring works. Tennis scoring is arguably one of the strangest scoring systems in standard games, but on the other hand, it’s one of the most exceptional and eccentric systems – one that you will probably come to acknowledge as an individual from the tennis network. Stick with me for a couple of minutes, and you will know all about it in a matter of seconds.


Tennis is a game that is played on a court that is rectangular-shaped and of which can be of various surfaces. This game can be either played with two players or four players. The one played with two players is called singles match and while the one played with four players is referred to as a doubles match. Players are supposed to position themselves on the opposite sides of the net. The ball is then hit forth to each other using a stringed racquet.

How does tennis scoring work? 

I always find it almost effortless to clarify by beginning broad and then working all the way down to the points of interest.

First of all, when you go out to play tennis against an opponent, it is called a match. The word “match” is the same as the word “game” in basketball, football, or baseball.

So when you tell a colleague that you are going out to see a companion play tennis, try as much as possible to avoid saying, “I am going out to watch my companion play a tennis game.” Instead, call it a match, otherwise, if your friends know about tennis they are likely to laugh at you.

Normally, a tennis match is played in three sets. This means that a player needs to win two sets to be crowned the winner and this is the most widely recognized format. However, some pro men’s tennis competitions for example the US Open tournament are played as the best of five sets, meaning that the player needs to win three sets to be declared the winner.

One set has six games and out of these six games, you must win by two games to win the set. In case you tie at six, you go on to play what we call a tiebreaker. We will come to this later. In each tennis game, there are a couple of strange point values.

Point Values In A Tennis Game

Each tennis game has three points however, similar to a set, you are supposed to win by two, The most puzzling part for a lot of novice tennis players is that we don’t just utilize the point values, for example, 0, 1, 2, 3… in tennis we instead assign some unique point values. Look at the point values below:

0 points = Love,1 point = 15, 2 points = 30, 3 points = 40, Tied at 1 point = 15-all, Tied at 2 points = 30-all and Tied at 3 points = deuce.

The point values above only cover the basics. When you get to deuce there is what is we call “ad scoring”. Let go through all this assuming you are the one serving.

  • Deuce and you have a point, this score is an “ad in”( ad in, is a short form of advantage in).
  • The advantage in you earn the next point and you win the game.
  • The advantage is you lose the next point and at that point, the score returns to “deuce.”
  • Deuce your opponent earns a point, then the score is advantage out (“ad out”)
  • Advantage out and your opponents earn the next point and at that point, your opponent takes the game.
  • Advantage out and you earn the next point and the score returns to a deuce.

Keep in mind that the above “advantage scoring” works if you are the one serving and it would is flip when the opponent is the one serving.

It’s additionally imperative to have it in mind that the server always mentions his/her points first before each point. In this way, for instance, in case you are serving and you earn a point, the score is called 15-love. This detail is vital, and it’s one that will in general get novices entangled, particularly when they are enjoying a tennis match and attempting to track it along.

It is not easy to understand at the start, but don’t worry. Let us look at an example so that we get you out of the confusion.

Example of a Tennis Game

Below is an example of a tennis game assuming you are the one serving.

  • Prior to serving the very first point of the tennis game.
  • You don’t have to call out any point if it is the very first point of the match. In tennis, there is nothing like “love-all”.
  • Okay, if for instance it is the first point and you have already played a game or some games before, then you have to mention the score in games. For instance, let us assume you have played three games and you won two while your opponent won one, you are supposed to say 2 to 1. Let look at the tennis scoring rules below.
  • You earn the first point of the game, the score is called 15 love.
  • You earn the next point, the score is now 30 love
  • Your rival earns the next two-point and now the score 30 all
  • You earn the following point, the score is 40-30
  • Your rival earns the following point, the score is now termed as a deuce.
  • You earn the following point, the score is advantage in (ad in)
  • Your rival earns the following point, the score returns to a deuce.
  • You earn the following point, the score goes back to an advantage.
  • You earn the following point, at that moment the game is over and there is no need to mention out any points.

Playing A Tiebreaker

Now that you have a clue on how a tennis single game is played which is part of a set in a tennis match, let us now look at how tiebreakers work. Remember that when playing a set, it is the first to six games, and you are required to win by two. But, in case you tie the score at 6-all or at six games, to determine the winner you have to play a tiebreaker set.

The most ideal approach to consider a tiebreaker set is that it is simply an extra game that has many points. The most strange thing here is that we are going to defy all the scoring guidelines that we had discussed earlier.

In a tiebreaker set, we are going to utilize simple point values like 0, 1, 2, 3… instead of using the normal love, 15, 30, 40, deuce advantage in and advantage out. Also, in a tiebreaker set, it is first to seven points where you are supposed to win by two instead of the first to three points win by two in a standard game.

Look at the example below to know more about playing a tiebreaker.

  • You serve the first point of the tiebreaker
  • You serve the first point of a tiebreaker set, the score is 0-0 and you are not supposed to call out this score because it is assumed.
  • You earn 5 points consecutively; the score is now 5/0
  • You earn the following point; the score is 6/0
  • Your rival earns 6 points consecutively; the score is 6/6
  • You earn the following point; the score is 7/6, keep in mind that to be declared a winner you must win by two.
  • Your rival earns the following point; the score is at 7/7
  • You earn the next two points; the score is now at 9-7 and wow! You win the match.
  • At first, tennis scoring may look very confusing of which it is, but after reading the above breakdown I hope now you have a clue of what tennis scoring entails.

Wrapping Up

If you want to know more and be comfortable about how to keep track of tennis scoring, I advise you to play at the same time watch as many tennis matches as possible. The best way to learn is to get out and do it in the court. Read carefully the above guide and you are all set to keep track of tennis scoring.

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