If you've tuned in to the Australian Open to catch the action but are feeling a little confused by what's happening on the court, don't fret. Tennis scoring can seem complicated at first, but once you get the hang of it, you'll feel like a seasoned fan. Here's a primer on scoring as the tournament heads toward the finals — so you can keep up with the matches!
The origin of the term "racket" is unclear. According to a popular belief first published by tennis player Malcolm Whitman in 1932, the expression comes from the Arabic term rahat al-yad, meaning "palm of hand". Modern research however, holds this thesis in a highly questionable light. Instead, the term is more likely to be derived from the Flemish word "raketsen" which is itself derived from Middle French "rachasser", meaning "to strike (the ball) back".
The head-light balance point is rarer in professional tennis than it once was, as the sport has converted to larger-headed rackets, stiffer rackets, stiffer strings, more western grips and accompanying stroke production, and more topspin. The head-light balance point is most optimal for the serve and volley style with a continental grip. Serve and volley is no longer a viable option for nearly all professionals as the mode of playing for most points in a match. Head-heavy rackets became popular, mainly with recreational players, primarily with the introduction of the Wilson ProFile widebody racket. The head-light balance makes volleys and serves easier to produce, while groundstrokes are less stable. The head-heavy balance makes groundstrokes more stable, which typically increases the player's comfort for swinging harder to add power, but makes serves and volleys more cumbersome. A head-heavy balance also puts more stress on the elbow and shoulder.
In August 2007 the ATP announced major changes to the tour that were introduced in 2009. The Masters Series was renamed to the "Masters 1000", the addition of the number 1000 referring to the number of ranking points earned by the winner of each tournament. Contrary to earlier plans, the number of tournaments was not reduced from nine to eight and the Monte Carlo Masters remains part of the series although, unlike the other events, it does not have a mandatory player commitment. The Hamburg Masters has been downgraded to a 500-point event. The Madrid Masters moved to May and onto clay courts, and a new tournament in Shanghai took over Madrid's former indoor October slot. As of 2011 six of the nine "1000" level tournaments are combined ATP and WTA events.
A game point occurs in tennis whenever the player who is in the lead in the game needs only one more point to win the game. The terminology is extended to sets (set point), matches (match point), and even championships (championship point). For example, if the player who is serving has a score of 40-love, the player has a triple game point (triple set point, etc.) as the player has three consecutive chances to win the game. Game points, set points, and match points are not part of official scoring and are not announced by the chair umpire in tournament play.