Asked in Tennis
Why tennis points are counted as 15 30 40 and tiebreak as 1 2 3?
July 05, 2009 8:00AM
The origins of the fifteen, thirty, and forty scores are believed to be medieval French. It is possible that a clock face was used on court, with a quarter move of the hand to indicate a score of fifteen, thirty, and forty-five. When the hand moved to sixty, the game was over. However, it was realized that the game could then be won by luck, and so the idea of "deuce" was introduced. In order to make the score still within the ""sixty"" ticks on the clock face, the forty-five was changed to forty. Therefore, if both players have forty, the first player to score receives ten and that moves the clock to fifty. If the player scores a second time before the opponent is able to score, they are awarded another ten and the clock moves to sixty. The sixty signifies the end of the game. However, if a player fails to score twice in a row, then the clock would move back to forty to establish another "deuce". Another theory is that the scoring nomenclature came from the French game jeu de paume (a precursor to tennis that substituted the hand for a racquet). Jeu de paume was very popular before the French revolution, with more than 1000 courts in Paris alone. The traditional court was 90ft in total with 45ft on each side. When the server scored, he/she moved forward 15ft. If he/she scored again, he/she would move another 15ft. If he/she scored a third time, he/she could only move 10ft closer. As for tiebreak scores going 1,2,3 etc. that is because they are a modern addition to the game- simple as that.