Every year when Wimbledon rolls around, it seems that the whole of the UK becomes immersed in the sprit of tennis. From day-glo ball coloured manicures to the more traditional strawberries and cream. Everybody becomes a tennis know it all… and the cheeky glass of Pimm’s doesn’t hurt either.
So while you’re citing yourself as an expert, it may be worth reading our guide to the most widely asked questions about the grand slam sport…
What are players looking at when they’re inspecting their balls?
You might have it on in the background or you might be a particular fan of Sue Barker, but chances are you’ve caught a game of tennis at one point or another. You’ve also probably caught the players inspecting a handful of balls and seemingly choosing which might be the ‘best’.
This is a simple one. They are choosing the best!
The players are in fact looking for the smoothest ball. The more ruffles in the fluff, the slower the ball will travel through the air. Aerodynamics are an important part of the game and the faster the ball travels, the more advantage the player has.
Why do tennis players grunt when striking the ball?
FACT: Maria Sharapova has had grunts measure in at 101 decibels. That’s the equivalent of a small airplane taking off!
There are many theories to the signature ‘grunt’ of some players.
Many spectators and even some players themselves see grunting as vulgar and think it should be banned from the sport. They say the sound is used merely to gain a competitive edge over their opponents by throwing them off their game.
Others protest that the grunts are merely a release of built-up energy and a way of helping players establish a rhythm while they’re in a match.
Why does ‘love’ mean zero?
While the majority of us find the scoring system in tennis as confusing as astrophysics and string theory, the rest of us are trying to figure out why tennis people say ‘love’ instead of just plain ‘zero’ or ‘nil’.
Well, it’s funny you should ask because it just so happens that we know this one.
One theory says that the term stems from the French l’oeuf, which means ‘the egg’… which kind of looks like a zero. Doesn’t it? From some angles? If you squint.
Others say that it really is just ‘love’! As in a player’s love for the game of tennis is the only thing that will keep them on court with such a measly score!
Why is the 15-30-40 scoring system used?
The origins of this particular scoring system are actually quite interesting. We can trace it back to France where it’s said that a clock face was used as the scoreboard with a quarter move of the hand indicating a score… 15, 30 and 45.
But the 45 was changed to 40 so that the game could not be won by a one-point difference, bringing about ‘deuce’.
When both players got to 40, the first player to score receives ten extra points, moving the clock to 50. If the same player was to score again, they would progress to 60 – and win.
However, if the second player were to score, both clocks would move back to 40 – Deuce.
Phew! Not the simplest of games, but a sport extremely popular the world over.
Why not put your new knowledge to the test and get your hands on some coveted Wimbledon tickets for the next tournament?