5 Tennis Terms You Might Not Know

5 Tennis Terms You Might Not Know

Experienced tennis players might know every single word in the sport’s glossary. However, the casual player might be less familiar with certain terms. Here are 5 tennis terms of which you might not know the meaning.


When a set is tied 6-6, a “tiebreaker” is played. Tiebreaks are scored using ordinary numbering. To win a tiebreak, you must score a minimum of 7 points and win by 2. The score is counted continuously until an outcome has been reached. The winner of the tiebreak then wins the set 7-6.


The term “deuce” refers to a tie score of 40-40 (40-all), or 3 points a side. Any time beyond this point in the game when the score is tied, deuce will be used. The next side to score a point will have the advantage. If the side with an advantage loses, the score will go back to deuce.


A “bagel” refers to when a set ends in the score of 6-0, with the zero representing the shape of a bagel. If you really want to aim high, scoring the minimum 24 points (to win at least 6 games) without conceding a single point in a set is referred to as a Golden Set.

Continental Grip

The “Continental Grip” or “Chopper Grip” is one of the most commonly used grips in tennis. The grip looks as if you were gripping an axe, hence the name “chopper.” To use this grip, place the base knuckle of your index finger on bevel #2. Because of its versatility, the grip is often taught to advanced players.

Split Step

The “split step” is a ready position in which the receiving player sets their legs apart and initiates a small hop right before the opponent makes contact with the ball. The split step’s purpose is to help you move quickly in the direction of the ball. When you land, your legs will be “loaded” to shift your momentum in either direction.

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Mike Sharp Tennis Director & Manager at Elite Sports Clubs

Written by Mike Sharp; Elite Sports Club-West Brookfield Tennis Director & General Manager

Mike Sharp has been an Elite Tennis Pro since 1990. He is USPTA certified, a USRSA Master Racquet Technician, and the Elite Clubs pro shop buyer. Mike is President of the GMITA and also President of the WTA. He previously has served as the Head Pro for the J.C.C. summer camp, Director of Elm Grove’s summer tennis, and an assistant coach at Brookfield Central. He was named the Elite Sports Club-West Brookfield Tennis Director in 2002.