How to Read Tennis Scores

Tennis is a game that has a logical set of rules and guidelines developed to guarantee a winner at the end of a tennis game, set, or match.

Unlike some other sports, a tennis match can never result in a tie. The game must be played out until one player wins and the other player loses.

Although tennis is a fascinating game to watch, spectators may have trouble keeping up with how to read the tennis scores it can be confusing at first. Why do they keep talking about Juice!?

The good news is that the tennis scoring system is straightforward to understand and remember once you get the hang of it.

So in this article, you’ll come away with everything you need to understand about how to read tennis scores quickly and easily.

How to Read Tennis Scores: The Beginning

This is an overview of the components of scoring in tennis:

  1. Points – these are won when you hit a winning shot or your opponent fails to return the ball to you within the specified area.
  2. Games – each game is won by the player who wins the point when on a score of 40 or with the advantage if it is Deuce.
  3. Sets – these are won by the player who reaches 6 games first or in the event of a tie break, the person who wins that. There can therefore be a maximum of 6 games in a set and 1 tie break if it gets to 6-6 in games.
  4. Match – this is won when a player reaches a certain number of sets. This number varies depending on the tournament and if it is men or women playing.

The game starts with one player initiating the serve. A player who serves first will continue to serve throughout the entire game.

To win a game, one player must earn at least four points (more if the game gets to Deuce).

The server’s score is announced first before they hit the ball to the opposing player.

The terminology of how the tennis score is kept track of can be seen below:

  • Points Earned 0 = 0 Games Points or ‘Love’
  • Points Earned 1 = 15 Game Points
  • Points Earned 2 = 30 Game Points
  • Points Earned 3 = 40 Game Points
  • Points Earned 4 = Game Over (2 Point Advantage Required)

In order to win a tennis game, one player must have more than two points than the opposing player. In other words, if the score is 40-0 and the server wins the next point, the server wins the game.

On the other hand, if the server loses the next point and the score is 40-15, the server must continue to serve and see the game until the end.

Tennis Scoring: A Set

A set in tennis is named when a player who has won a minimum of 6 games with at least a two game advantage over their opponent.

A set could be a number of score outcomes, such as 6-4, 6-3, 6,2, 6-1, or 6-0.

Some sets can last as long as an hour or even more if there are special rules in play.

These rules can include tie-breaker scoring or no-ad scoring that can dramatically alter the strategy the players use for the match.

A common set of rules seen in tournament play is ‘Pro set’, which makes the games end faster. When playing a ‘Pro set’ game of tennis, the winner of the match needs to win at least 8 games leading with a minimum advantage of two or more games.

During a tennis game, the players will rotate continuously during a match when the total number of games in a set is an odd number.

For example, a total game score in a set could be 5-4, which is 9 games in total. The competitors would then switch sides before starting the next game.

Tennis Scoring: Match

The nature of a tennis nature is purposefully designed with an odd number of sets to ensure that a winner emerges at the end of the match.

Most competitors in tennis play for the best 2 out of 3 sets to decide on the winner of a match.

In some tournaments, such as the Australian, French, or US open, players will compete for the best out of five sets.

Therefore, the final score could be 3-0, 3-1, or 3-2 for the winner in these competitions.

The Short Answer

The quick answer of how to read tennis scores is that the competitor who wins the most of their sets within a match is crowned the winner of the game.

Tennis is often a very exciting and interesting sport to watch, but without knowing how to keep up with the pace of the game can make it overwhelming.

So by now you should know everything you need in order to understand what’s unfolding on the courts, as we have left nothing out in this quick guide.

For some readers, simply reading an article may not be enough for them to fully absorb the complexity of the game. If this applies to you, then you can easily find tutorials on YouTube and other sources that may be able to explain how to read tennis scores with videos and pictures instead of writing alone.

Now you know how to read the scores, grab yourself a racquet and get on the court!

Tips for Playing Doubles Tennis

efore learning how to play tennis doubles, the rules of the game of singles tennis should be mastered first. But even once you have the fundamentals down, playing tennis doubles can be challenging and confusing for new and experienced players alike.

A game of tennis doubles is played between two pairs of opposing players with a few different rules to the singles games.

A player that is new to tennis doubles will need to get accustomed to the different sidelines, the sequence of serving, and the fact they will only be returning from one side of the court.

As you are playing with a partner as part of a team you will also need to synchronize your gameplay.

In this guide, we’ll cover all of the important aspects there are to mastering tennis doubles, which should significantly cut your learning curve.

Quick Tips For Playing Tennis Doubles

  • Find a duo partner that has a relative skill level to your own
  • Communication with your doubles partner is of utmost importance, including before and after your tennis match
  • Make the choice between the forehand or backhand side, which will usually be determined by your dominant hand (left or right handed)
  • Decide if you or your partner will serve first

How the Net Will Influence Your Game

Once you have the fundamentals of doubles tennis down, what comes next is to fine tune some important techniques to increase your chances on the court.

Controlling the net is regarded as far more important in doubles than in singles. This is due to the fact that it is much easier to score points at the net as you can make use of a greater variety of angles for your volleys. Additionally, the presence of an extra player on your team works to maximize the possible spaces on the court.

Typically, the server or returner in doubles will be at the baseline of the court while the other player will be at the net. As the game progresses back and forth, the baseline player should support his or her partner at the net also.

Take Advantage of the Weakest Player in Tennis Doubles

In order to gain a strategic advantage, many players in doubles matches will pressure the weakest player on the other side of the court. This pressure is applied by directing the flow of the game towards the weaker player, forcing them to react in a way that sets the pace of the match.

This psychological component of the game is key when it comes to securing victory in doubles matches, although it could be seen as slightly unfair!

The Lob & Overhead

In doubles, you can perform a lob and overhead move by hitting the ball at an angle so that when the ball is returned your partner can smash it back to the opposing team. Another option is to return the ball straight down the middle between the two players, which can take your opponents off guard.

The serve and return are known as the two most important shots in tennis. A key difference between a single and double match is that hitting the ball at an angle may not be the best tactic due to the presence of another player. Most seasoned tennis pros prefer to hit the ball straight, as it is rarely expected.

Teamwork and communication

Although there are some differences in terms of tactics and raw game mechanics when playing tennis doubles, teamwork and communication are by far the most important variables to success.

To put it simply, if you do not synergize well with your teammate, then you have a very low likelihood of succeeding in a doubles match. For this reason, it is imperative that you find someone that you have an understanding with.

In addition to finding someone who you gel with, you should also discuss the various tactics and strategies that you’d like to employ before the match begins. By being open with your tennis partner, you’ll both be on the same page, as well as working in unison to execute on your game plan.


Despite the obvious similarities between singles and doubles tennis matches, there are definitely some nuanced differences between the two game types. Learning how to play doubles tennis can take years to master, with some people spending their entire tennis careers just learning how to synchronize their game with another player.

If you want to buy a good racket to play doubles with have a look at our guide here.

Like most things, learning how to play doubles tennis takes practice, patience, and more than a fair amount of tenacity — yet it can be mastered with the right coaching and attitude.

How To Get Better At Tennis

Tennis is a game that takes years of dedicated practice and study for before you can reach mastery. But the good news is that there are some shortcuts that you can take that will cut your learning curve in half.

Although these tips are not guaranteed to work for everyone no matter what, you’ll still be able to get a handle on your tennis game quicker than ever before – but only if you put these ideas into practice.

Top Ten Tweaks To Sharpen Your Tennis Game

Start With Your Goals

Like anything, if you don’t have a clearly defined goal with your tennis game, then it will be very hard to produce the changes that you’d like to see in terms of results.

A good start to getting better at tennis is to write down three big goals you’d like to achieve. Post your goals on your bathroom mirror, or somewhere else you’ll see every day.

Watch Instructional Videos and Tutorials on YouTube

Watching videos on YouTube can be a great way to sharpen your tennis game, especially if you are a visual learner. Watching someone hit a tennis ball with the correct form can go a long way to help you understand how to play better tennis.

There is no shortage of content that can be watched for free on the YouTube platform, so we’re sure you’ll find at least one channel that you like and can relate to.

Get Fit, and Focus on Your Cardio

Any amount of extra fitness activity will make your tennis game better. The sad truth is that tennis by itself is unlikely to get you into incredible physical shape, as it usually burns only a handful of calories compared to more intensive sports and workouts.

The other reason why you should focus on getting into shape is that you can acclimatize your body to working out in the great outdoors. The last thing you want is to be exhausted and too fatigued to continue playing, which is why your physical condition is so important when playing tennis.

Defeat Tennis Elbow with Stretches

Tennis elbow is a nasty condition, and can put a speed bump in the way of your progress. Fortunately, tennis elbow is easy to avoid by doing some simple forearm stretches. You can find a bunch of ideas on how to stretch properly on YouTube.

Draft a Simple Mantra or Saying For Calm and Focus on the Court

Having a mantra is an easy way for you to put your focus in the game. You could say to yourself, “I’ve got this,” “Calm and clear,” and “Just like practice.”

Master the Art of Split-Stepping

Just like the serve, the split-step is a vital part of your game that you should be constantly working on. You can do this in the comfort of your own home, preferably with your racquet for the added immersion and realism.

Eat Fresh Fruit and Vegetables for Nutritious Snacks

Like exercise, what you put into your body in the form of snacks and food will also determine the quality of your tennis game. Eating better will also benefit your health in other ways, helping you keep focused and healthy inside and outside of the court.

Start Squatting

You should be eating healthy and exercising, even if you’re not a tennis player. But if optimal performance is your goal, then squats are by the far the best body weight exercise to strengthen your legs and core muscles.

A great thing about squats is that they can be performed in the privacy of your own home, and without the need to use extra equipment. Try googling some variations of the classic squat, such as sitting against a wall with your back straight, as well as narrow and wide squats.

Reduce Foot and Heel Tightness by Rolling your Foot Over a Tennis Ball While Standing

This may come as surprising news, but using a tennis ball for a foot massage feels fantastic and is easy to use. You should start with one foot at a time, ensuring that you are rolling the ball all around the foot where you experience stiffness and pain.

If tennis balls aren’t your thing, then a foam roller works equally as well for the hard to reach places of your feet.

Buy or Rent a Tennis Ball Machine

In tennis, repetition is the key to mastery, and nothing will make you quicker on your feet than buying a tennis ball machine. These machines are now quite affordable, and you will be able to train yourself to respond to the game in real time.

But if you’re a casual player that doesn’t have room for a tennis ball machine, then visting your nearest tennis court to practice with one is the next best thing.


Tennis is a sport that very few people can say that they have mastered. Even professional players require years of disciplined practice before they can enter the most competitive of tournaments, so don’t feel too bad that you maybe aren’t progressing as quickly as others.

The above tips were chosen as some of the easiest shortcuts for you to take to improve your tennis game in leaps and bounds. However, you’ll still be required to put the hard work in, as well as sacrifice a lot of your time and energy to be a truly competent tennis player.

If you are still struggling to reach the level finness that you deserve, then you try paying for some lessons from a professional tennis tutor. Tutors can give you real-time feedback on how you can improve your tennis game, and they are now an affordable option.