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Game, Set, Match

Tennis fans will hopefully be hearing the familiar phrase “Game, set and match” soon, as the Covid-19 restrictions are gradually relaxed – as long as the virus continues to subside.

The well-known phrase is used to describe one player beating their opponent to win the whole match. The winner of a men’s singles match is the player who has won three out of five sets; for women, it’s the player who wins two out of three sets.

tennis umpire

© lev radin / Shutterstock.com


Tennis scoring

Every tennis match comprises points, games and sets. One set consists of a minimum of six games. Each game consists of a number of points. The set is won by the first player to win six games, as long as there’s a margin of at least two games over the other player. This means the score needs to be either 6-4 or 7-5.

If a set is tied at six games each, the players will play a tie-break to decide who wins the set. This will result in a 7-6 score to win the set. A tie-break doesn’t use the traditional tennis scoring of 15, 30, 40 and game. Instead, it is scored one, two, three, four and so on. The first player who wins seven points, by a clear margin of two points, wins the tiebreak game and consequently the set.

Hearing a tennis umpire utter the words “game, set and match” at the conclusion of a match is commonplace – and now, the phrase has infiltrated into popular culture too, acknowledging a victory or triumph outside the sports pitch.

For example, if someone produces a winning idea in the workplace, leaving everyone awestruck, a colleague might say: “When he/she showed us the design for the new product, it was game, set and match!” – meaning no-one else could top it.


Words of Wimbledon

The phrase, “Game, set and match!” automatically conjures up that quintessentially English spectacle of the Wimbledon tournament on the beautiful grass courts of the All England Club.

Tennis has its own unique language and the announcement of which player has won is just a small part of “tennis talk”. For the uninitiated, the words “serve”, “shots” and “doubles” may sound more like something that happens in a bar at the weekend!

The sight of an adult sitting in a highchair at the side of the court, apparently shouting, “Juice!”, fits in with this theme. Even “love” isn’t what you think it is at a tennis tournament. Of course, joking aside, it’s all about the tennis lingo.

In fact, the word “love” means zero points, so when the umpire says a player is winning a singles game “40-love”, you know the other competitor is in trouble. The word comes from the French word “l’oeuf”, which means egg – it is chosen because an egg is the shape of a zero.

Of course, the umpires aren’t actually saying “juice”, but rather “deuce” – used to describe a score of 40-all in a game. This is another word derived from an old French word, “deus”, which means two – hence two players with exactly the same score. The word can be traced back even earlier, to the Latin word, “duos”.

Another tennis phrase you will hear is “straight sets”, describing a victory in the minimum number of sets. For example, in men’s singles, if a player wins in straight sets, he will have won three in a row, so there’s no need to play the full five sets.

A player who scores an “ace” has managed to land the ball in the service box when they serve, with the other player not managing to touch it. We’ve all seen an ace, when the receiving player is left almost frozen to the spot as a ball goes flying past them at around 100mph!

This is another word that is used socially, outside the tennis court, to describe someone who excels at a particular activity. It is also a colloquial term, “to ace it”, this means to effortlessly succeed at a task first time.


Tennis court uses

In tennis, although winning a tournament is the ultimate aim of every competitive player, there’s more to the tennis courts than playing for big prizes.

Everyone has to start somewhere, and whether you’re a player, a coach or an umpire, training is paramount to your future success. Coaching can be for beginners and experienced players alike, as well as for people of all ages.

Tennis courts can also be prepared for mini-tournaments, as well as the big matches. Whether it’s an amateur or a professional tournament, the condition of the playing surface must be pristine, to ensure player safety and a more enjoyable playing experience.


Latest Covid-19 news

The past 12 months have been challenging for everyone involved in tennis at all levels, including court owners, maintenance teams, players, coaches and other staff. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a big impact on the sport in general, with courts in the UK having to close due to the lockdown.

Now, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, as long as cases of coronavirus continue to decrease. Outdoor tennis can resume in England from 29th March, when people can play recreational tennis again.

Tennis in schools in England already resumed on 8th March, when they reopened. Some tennis resumed in Scotland on 12th March. However, the reopening is being rolled out gradually and it will be 26th April before the sport gets back to normal in Scotland.

In Wales, tennis courts reopened on 13th March. In Northern Ireland, the lockdown is not due to end until 1st April, although ministers are set to review current measures on 18th March.


Tennis organisation’s response

The Lawn Tennis Association has welcomed resuming outdoor tennis. Officials say tennis plays a major role in supporting people’s physical and mental health, so playing the sport will “give a boost” to the whole nation. The body has long argued that as a naturally socially distanced sport, tennis is relatively safe. The LTA says it will now focus on supporting venues, players, coaches and officials as they resume outdoor tennis.

Now is the time to start preparing your courts for the grand reopening, to ensure they are in peak condition. As the game has been disrupted since the first Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020, make sure the lack of use hasn’t affected playing conditions on court.

Have your tennis courts cleaned by the professionals at Dragon Courts to prepare for the season ahead. We also carry out tennis court lining and marking and tennis court painting. Give us a call on 01572 770404 for further details of our services.



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