What Does Love Mean in Tennis? And It’s Origin (Explained)

Tennis is an interesting game where players use a racket and a tennis ball to play against each other. Sounds pretty simple right? Wrong! Tennis, like any other competitive sport, has so many rules and regulations in the game.

There are many terms used in a game of Tennis that a lot of people may not be familiar with. A lot of times, non-fans or fans that are not that hard-core, get confused with the terms that are used in a game of tennis.

The most common one among all of these terms is love. If you are one of the people who are highly curious to know what the term love means in tennis, you have come to the right place, my friend.

In this article, we will be discussing a few terms in tennis that relate to regular words that we use in our lives but have a completely different meaning in Tennis, AND tell you what love means in tennis and why it means so.

So if that sounds interesting to you, let’s jump right into this article!

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Some Common Terms used in Tennis

1. Game

Usually when we say the word game, we refer to any game in general, like a sport, or a video game. But in tennis, while having a similar meaning, it is a little different. This is why we said there are terms in tennis that are used in our daily life but contain a slightly different meaning.

The word game refers to a segment of a set (we will explain this too), which consists of a sequence of points played against the same player.

2. Grass

This one is not so different from its conventional meaning. However, it does have a special meaning in tennis. Grass refers to a natural turf court that is made of grass mostly for playing tennis on. 

3. Hacker

In the conventional terms, hacker refers to people who know coding and programming and can gain access to devices, accounts and platforms with ease.

The meaning of hacker in tennis, however, is far from this. Hacker in tennis refers to the player whose clumsy strokes appear to be more accidental than intentional in the game.

4. Handicapping

Handicapped usually means people who are crippled to disabled, but that’s not what it means in tennis. Handicapping in tennis refers to when competitor players are provided advantages for equalizing the chances of winning. 

5. Head

No, we don’t mean your head, we are talking about the racket’s head. The portion of the racket that contains the strings is called the head of the tennis racket. 

6. Heavy

Usually heavy means something that weighs more, it is similar in the game of tennis, but has a specific meaning. When a player strikes the ball very hard, the opponent player striking it will notice the ball feels heavy when hit.

7. Rubber

In a general sense, rubber is an elastic substance used for various purposes. But in tennis rubber refers to individual matches that may be singles or doubles. These matches are called rubber.

8. Set

Typically we refer to set as a group of something. But in tennis it is actually a unit of scoring. A set usually consists of a number games. Each player is required to win 6 games with an advantage of two games, in order to win a set.

9. Upset

We think it’s kind of cute how this term is used for such a thing in tennis. In tennis, upset refers to when a lower ranked player beats a high ranked player. It truly is upsetting for the higher ranked player.

While these are not the only terms used in tennis, they are the ones that resemble every day words. Now let’s look at what love means in tennis.

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What Does Love Mean in Tennis?

What is love? No we are not talking about the feeling of love or the movie or the song by Haddaway. Love is a term used in tennis that has a completely different meaning from its conventional meaning. 

Similar to all of the terms that we talked about in the previous section, love has a completely different meaning as well.

We all know love to be a word associated with affection and emotional connection. But in tennis it refers to a score of zero.

While this may sound a bit absurd, how such a beautiful word like love can mean zero, it actually has a completely different origin story.

Origin of Love in Tennis

The term was derived from the French term l’oeuf which translated to egg or nothing or in other words, zero. It is also said to be derived from the Dutch term lof doen which means honor, but that sounds even more unrelated doesn’t it?

This is why we prefer the French origin and why it makes sense for love to mean zero. The term is used in tennis while scoring games. For example, 10-0 is spoken as “ten-love”.

Love is a quite widely used term in tennis, as a lot of times it is seen that games end with one player scoring a lot and the other scoring only zero, or in the tennis terms, love. 

When a player wins by serving and their opponent score zero, it is called “to hold to love” and when they win by receiving it is called “to break to love”. These are quite common victories for pro tennis players and can be seen occurring in a lot of matches. 

Final Words

So we hope there is not more confusion in what the word love means in tennis. Just as you read, tennis has some unusual meanings for some very common words. But when you start watching tennis as a fan, you get more familiar with the terms and don’t get confused with these words.

We hope you enjoyed reading our article on what does love mean in tennis and learned something new today. Have a nice day!

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