So, the tennis is back on and while we’ve lost our world number one, Ash Barty, we’ve still got a strong showing this year.
There are 15 Aussie players fighting it out this year at the international home of tennis, the largest contingent we’ve had since 1995. It’s a real mix of newcomers and old favourites, with Jason Kubler, Max Purcell, Astra Sharma, Zoe Hives, Jaimee Fourlis and Maddison Inglis, successfully qualifying.
They join Alex de Minaur, Nick Kyrgios, Jordan Thompson, James Duckworth, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Alexei Popyrin and John Millman, in the men’s singles, and Ajla Tomljanovic and Daria Saville in the women’s singles.
With the championships running until July 10, it’s likely that the so-called ‘sport of kings’ is going to be dominating your life for a little while — whether that’s in your own living room or in the background at the pub.
If you’ve got no idea what ‘love’, ‘deuce’ or any of the rest of it means, here’s your quick guide to tennis scoring and the unique approach taken by Wimbledon.
Tennis Scoring Explained
Right, a tennis match isn’t the most straightforward thing to wrap your head around.
The match — played between two opponents in a singles game or two pairs in a doubles game — is made up of a series of sets which are themselves made up of games. Stay with us.
Each game — hitting the ball back and forth over the net until someone misses it or hits it out — is worth one point. Games are played until one player wins six points, making up the set.
Matches are normally played in best-of-three sets. Whoever wins two of the three sets, wins the match.
What’s slightly confusing here is that each game is individually scored out of four. 15 points are awarded to each game-winner for the first and second round, and 10 are awarded for the third round. So, if a player wins three games, they’d have 40 points. If they win the next game, they win the point for that set.
However, and this is where it gets even more confusing if both players make it to 40 points — known as ‘deuce’ — they have to win two consecutive games in order to win the point for the set. Winning one of the deciding games is known as having the ‘advantage’, but if they then lose the next game, their score returns to 40. Once a player wins the game, the score resets to zero — or ‘love — for both players.
Again, they’re trying to be the first to six points to win the set. Now, if both players manage to get six points each, a tie-breaker game is played to decide the winner of that set. Tie break sets are scored using just the numbers one, two, three etc.
So, win six games, you win the set. Win three sets, you win the match.
Wimbledon, like most tennis tournaments, is an elimination competition meaning the loser of the match is out and won’t be going any further. This is partly what makes the matches so exciting as the players on court are fighting for their lives.
What’s Different About Wimbledon
To make matters even more straightforward, each tournament has slightly different rules on how players win points.
First off, at Wimbledon, only the women play three sets. Men play matches to the best of five.
Also, tiebreaker sets must be won by two games. So, if the score is six-six, players have to get to a minimum of eight-six in order to win the set. There is no time limit here and matches can genuinely go on for hours. The longest ever tennis match at Wimbledon ended 70-68 and went on for three days.
If that’s not all sunk in, just say “a load of great points in this game” when you’re next watching and you’ll be fine.