Tennis scoring is unlike any other sport. Over the years, I have had to explain to many people how the scoring works, but until now, I had no idea the history behind it.
The scoring system is thought to come from the French during the Medieval times. It is thought that a clock was used to tell the score. The clock hands were placed on the the increments of 0, 15, 30, 45, and 60 to indicate the score with 60 being the end of the game.
The term deuce was introduced into the game so that a player could not win by one point. Deuce means that the score is tied at 45-45and that the next player to win 2 consecutive points will win the game.
I know what you are thinking…”What happened to 45?” We now say 40 instead of 45. This is ecause if the second hand were to move two increments for each point following 45, it would put it past 60. By changing the number to 40, the first point scored brings the score to 50 and the second to 60.
Ad scoring is used to indicate who has won the point following deuce and has the “advantage to win the game.
Love is used instead of zero because the French loved starting a game of tennis. Ok not quite, but the term does come from the French language. The French used the word l’oeuf meaning egg because an egg is thought to look round like a zero.
So now you know the complete history of tennis scoring! Once you get the hang of it, it is not difficult to remember at all, but to be quite honest, I am shocked that the scoring system has not evolved more over the years. Considering most sports follow a little bit more logical rules, you would think people would have gotten tired of weird increments at some point.
If there is one thing I hope you remember about the history of scoring, I hope that you remember when you say love in tennis you are not referring to actual love but you are referring to an egg!