What is the origin of the score in tennis?


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Each sport has its own way of counting points: the simplest ones, such as soccer, where you score a goal and get 1 point and whoever has the most points at the end of the game wins, basic. Others a little more complex, such as basketball, where it is counted two by two, less when it comes to a triple or free throws, which add 3 and 1 point, respectively.

Even, to complicate the fans a little more, there are sports such as volleyball, where you score one by one but the sets and the advantages necessary to score come into play. But, above all this, on another level, there is the score in tennis.

As tennis fans will know, or have heard those who do not follow the sport but know what we are talking about, the game score is counted 15, 30, 40 and “game”. This peculiar scoring system raises curiosity and makes us wonder why it is scored so strangely in tennis? The truth is that there is no unanimity on the origins of the method, but there are several theories.

The sexagesimal system

One of the most accepted theories is the one based on the sexagesimal system, which has the number 60 as its arithmetic base and was used to measure times and angles. Each game, with base 60, would be divided into 4 parts and thus we would obtain the scores of 15, 30, 45 and 60.

The circle

Historically, the circle has been considered the perfect figure. A complete circumference has 360º so, applying it to tennis, each set represents a complete circle. Each circle (set) is divided into 6 equal parts (the sets) of 60º and each game, in turn, is divided into 4 parts of 15º, 30º, 45º and 60º.

The watch

Another version is that the points of a game represent the quarters of a clock. Thus, a game would be equivalent to one hour, the points at 15, 30 and 45 minutes, and the full hour, to the game.

Betting in France

There is a theory that dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries in France, where it was customary to bet on tennis matches and, for each point, a sou was bet, which was worth 15 deniers and thus, the scores were born according to what you bet on each point: 15, 30, 45 and 60.

All these theories are very interesting but you will have detected that they all speak of 45 instead of 40. The explanation is that, initially, the scores were made in this way, with 45 and, later, for reasons of language economy, it was shortened to 40.

Palm game

However, there is a theory that explains scores 15, 30, 40 and 60 and has its origin in jeu de paume, a sport that was practiced in the Middle Ages and played on a 60-meter field, divided into 45 for each side of the network. At the beginning of the game, he was taken 5 meters from the net and, when scoring a goal, the player who served, had to move up to 15 meters from the net, then 30 and then 40. Over time, these positions evolved into punctuation, giving rise to current tennis performance

So we have completed the article called “What is the origin of the score in tennis?”  Hopefully you got answer.

We have also another informative article about how to measure tennis grip size you guys can read.

also we have article about tennis equipment we reviewed about best tennis racquet for beginners  you can read and get your answer.

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