While everyone (well, everyone interested in tennis) has their eyes glued to the television sets watching the spectacular tennis tournament that is The Championships Wimbledon, I get the inspiration for my next article. I am listening to McEnroe’s commentary on the Roger Federer-Grigor Dimitrov match and researching on the scoring system. Most people would wonder why tennis has a scoring system where you go 0-15-30-40-Game instead of perhaps 0-15-30-45-Game. The latter surely sounds more sensible.
I read a few references and some history on it and here’s what I found. Some of it I have known and some of it is quite new to me. Let me first tell you what I know about tennis. Let’s first et a couple of things clear. The game has its origins in the 12th century French sport by the name of ‘real tennis’. The name comes from the server’s call in real tennis – ‘tenez’. If you try and look for translations you’ll find different meanings to tenez from ‘hold’, to ‘here you are!’ to ‘take heed’. The scoring system in tennis though, seems to be justified by a few different theories.
One theory is that the courts of real tennis used to be 90ft long and 45 ft wide. With each serve won, the players were to move 15 ft forward. When they were already 30ft forward from the base line, with the last serve, if they moved ahead by another 15 ft (taking the ‘score’ to 45), they would be right at the net and to avoid that, the last move forward was only by 10 additional ft, thereby making the scoring system 0-15-3-40-Game.
Another more popular theory seems to be that traditionally a clock was used to keep the score. With every point won, the clock hand would move ahead by a quarter. From 30, the clock hand should move to 45 technically. The winning difference in tennis is always by the difference of two ‘points’ and not one. If both players reached the 45-mark together, there would be no possibility of counting 2 points as the next quarter leads on to 60, which is equivalent to resetting the clock. Therefore, it seems to have been decided that the third point would be 40 instead of 45 thereby giving you the opportunity of counting 2 further points as 50 and 60. Commonly the 50-mark is now called the ‘advantage’.
Interesting, eh? If you’d like a short funny read on these lines, here’s the link to a quirky article for you. I thoroughly enjoyed the read, I hope you do too –
Are you a tennis fan? Did you watch the round of 16 match between Muller and Nadal? I haven’t seen a match of that level in a while now! Who are you supporting in this Championship?