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Essential Tennis Lingo

Every professional tennis player started with the basics.

With that in mind, it is important that you know these key tennis words and phrases before hitting the court.

Tennis Jargon:

1. Ace

A serve that the receiver is unable to hit back results in the points being awarded to the side of the server.

2. Backhand

For a right-handed player this would be a shot playing a ball in front of or to the left of the body and for a right-handed player, vice versa.

3. Baseline

The outermost edge of the court, the baseline is the line parallel to the net.

4. Carry

Instead of being hit, the ball rests on the racquet resulting in the offending player losing a point.

5. Centreline

This divides up the service boxes.

6. Daisy Cutter

A very low bounce shot.

7. Drop Shot

This is a soft shot that lands just over the tennis nets.

8. Foot Fault

When a player touches the baseline or the centreline during a serve, it is a foot fault. The player automatically loses their opportunity to serve.

9. Forehand

The palm of the hand facing the direction of the strike is forehand.

10. Grand Slam

These are the four most prestigious events in the professional tour: Wimbledon Championships, Australian Open, U.S. Open Championships and the French Open.

11. Grip

This is the way you hold a racquet during gameplay.

12. Groundstrokes

Usually made at the back of the court, a groundstroke is a shot played after the ball has bounced on the ground; your basic forehand and backhand strokes.

13. Jam

By hitting the ball near your opponent’s body, this results in an awkward or weak return.

14. Lob

A high and deep stroke shot that clears the challenger who has advanced towards the net, a lob shot will land in your opponent’s court.

15. Love

This is the tennis term for zero points.

16. Net Posts

These are the two metal posts that hold the net.

17. Overhead

A shot that is hit over a player’s head, a smash would be termed as an overhead shot.

18. Passing Shot

This is a winning shot to the opponent’s side that they cannot reach.

19. Seed

The player who is considered most likely to win the tournament, there are normally 16 seeds in a competition.

20. Serve

The first shot that you use to start each point, it is a stroke made over the head.

21. Side Line

The side line defines the widest margins of the court. These lines are perpendicular to the net.

22. Topspin

This technique is where the ball is hit with a rising action and an exaggerated follow-through, allowing the ball to hit the ground a lot faster. A top spin increases the speed and bounce of the ball.

23. Volley

Striking the ball before it bounces on the ground is a volley.



There we have it…Game, set and match!