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Where did tennis scoring come from?

Tennis scoring is unique in many ways. 15, 30, 40 and deuce. Not to mentioned a ‘set’ is 6 games but then you also have a tie breaker to 7 points.

There are many theories and we will explore some of those in this article.

Why do they say ‘love’ not zero.

You know how sometimes when a team in any sport comes up empty-handed on points, it’s said that there was a big olé’ bagel or goose egg on the scoreboard?

Some people believe that a similar French expression is the reason zero points is called “love” in tennis. L’oeuf is French for ‘egg’.

Where did 15, 30, 40 come from?

First is the theory that, back in the pre-Revolution days, the 1000-plus jeu de paume courts in French were 90 feet total, 45 per side. Upon scoring, the server got to move up 15 feet. Another score meant another 15-foot scoot forward. Since a third score would put the server right at the net, 10 feet was the last bump forward.

Another theory is a clock face?

One theory is that in the early years of the game, in the 16th century, a clock face was used as a score-board and the hands would be moved a quarter of the way round each time, initially to 15, then 30, then 45.

The 45 became 40 to allow for deuce to be set at 50, with the hand finally moving onto the top mark when a game was won.

Whatever the history is, it is certainly a unique way of keeping score and will be constantly debated for generations to come.

This article was inspired by an article on mentalfloss.com

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