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If you’re a beginner to the sport then you may have a hard time understanding the tennis score system. It is safe to say that tennis has one of the most interesting yet weird set of rules of all the sports. The score system is quite confusing, but there are some logical reasons why it is like this.
Why is tennis scored 15 30 40? Base on history there are two theories why the scoring system is like this. The first theory is that clocks were used to keep track of the score, so each score the pointer moved round a quarter, from 0 to 15, 30, 45 and whenever it reaches 60 the game was over. The second theory credits the scoring system to a sport called “jeu de paume”, in this unique sports players would advanced 15, 15 and 10 feet after the first 3 points won.
How the 15 30 40 Got Created
It’s sad to say that there is no official source online that stated who created the scoring system and why the scoring system are using the 15 30 40 system. However, there are few theories online that seem to make sense and should be considered trustworthy base on the history and information provided.
One of the most trustworthy theories we’ve came across in terms of the origin of the 15, 30, 40 tennis scored are coming from the medieval French. It was said that there was a clock face used on the court. So whenever a point was scored, the pointer moved round a quarter, from 0 to 15, 30, 45 and whenever it reaches 60 the was over.
Why 40 Instead of 45?
So what they did was introduce “deuces”, by doing so they ensured that it wasn’t possible for the game to be won by one point difference. In order to make sure the score stayed at 60 which is the max minutes on a clock face, they had to change it from 45 to 40.
What this means is that if both players have a score of 40, then the first player to recieve 10, which eventually moves the clock to 50. If the player should score a second time before his opponent, then he will be awarded with another 10 points and the clock will move to 60.
Whenever it reaches 60 this signifies that the game has come to an end. The drawback is that if the players failed to score twice in a row, then you can expect the clock to move back to 40 resulting in another deuces.
A lot of people have different theories when it comes to the number changing from 45 to 40, many believe the reason for this is because they couldn’t bother to say the full number ’45’ each time. If you think about it, 40 (forty) is easy to say when compared to 45 (forty five) which is two words.
Evolution Of The Scoring System In Tennis
Like every other game, tennis did not start out in the palace it is today. The game started off more as an indoor sport that was reserved for the Kings and only some of his closest friends and aides. Over the years a number of factors affected the game, its appearance and its scoring system. Thus was born the game of tennis as we know it today.
Lawn tennis or court tennis was where the game evolved from. To distinguish between the two games, people began referring to the more outdoorsy and commonly played form of the game like tennis. Then in the year the 1870s, Major Walter Clopton Wingfield published a list of new rules. This was done with the intention of promoting the game, and luckily, it caught on. Some tennis enthusiasts developed a similar form of the game and began playing it in another part of England. These rules were similar to ones formulated by Major Clopton. At that time, the courts were not rectangular as they are now, in fact, they were hourglass-shaped and points were counted one by one. There was also a series of fouls and misses that players had to be aware of.
Then in 1877, the All England Croquet Club created a field for the game. This, by some experts, has been termed as the birth of Wimbledon. The club formulated a set of their own rules that were created by combining the old and the new rules. This is where the present day 15,30,40 system was popularized.
Some have blamed the complicated system for the much-upheld idea that in tennis, the players outnumber the spectators. This theory is yet to be proved, as the game, in recent times has no dearth of fans.
Other Tennis Score Theories
Another popular theory in the tennis world why the scoring system is 15 30 40 is coming from the french sport “jeu de paume.” This game is very similar to tennis and was originated in France in the 1800s, and it is played indoors. The main difference with this game compared to tennis is that the players uses their hands to hit the ball instead of a racquet.
As time goes by, they started wearing gloves, then it went to bat, and now they began using racquets. While jeu de paume may now be a popular sports these days, it was a very popular sport a century ago. A lot of people nowadays believe that the rules of this game were the same rules upon which modern tennis was built and this is why the tennis scoring system is like this today.
The jeu de paume is actually 90 feet long and 45 on each side. Usually when a player wins a point, he then got move up to 15 feet on the court, if somehow he won another point he got to move up again to another 15 feet which equals to 30 feet in total for 2 points. He wins another point straight in a row, he would have to move closer to the net since the court is only 45 feet in length. Therefore the third pointer was only 10 feet, which means you would have the 15 30 40 scoring system.
If you look closely you’ll notice that the scoring system is pretty much the same as tennis scoring system today and because of that, there are many historians that believe this theory is the correct one. In my opinion it does make a lot more sense compared to the clock theory, but you should keep in mind that the clock theory got more proof behind it.
Why is 0 Called Love?
There are many different kind of theory regarding why “love” is used as zero in tennis. Even though there isn’t any direct answer to the question since everyone has their own personal opinions, there are some theories that makes total sense.
One of these theories and also the one that is considered by many people to be the most popular one, is that “love” means, love of the game and the players with 0 points have nothing to lose at the end of the game. It were used as a reminder to inform players that they only thing they have when stuck at 0 points is the “love” for the game.
Another theory you may heard from many people is that the term also comes from France. The reason behind this is because there symbol for zero “0” is similar to an egg which is said to be known as I’oeuf, meaning ‘an egg’ which have been corrupted in English over the years to become love.
As you can see these are all theories, so the truth has been unknown or simply kept as a secret. Since the game was created ages ago, many people have wondered about the scoring system. The clock theory is very known, but there isn’t enough information to list it has facts.
But does it really matter where the scoring comes from? No not really. The reason a lot of people would like to know is because of how weight the scoring is for tennis compared to other popular sports around the world. However, we all know by now that the scoring will never change since it has been around since the start of the game, so all you have to do right now is get used to it.