How to Keep Score in Tennis

In tennis there are no ties . . . you win, or you lose. For any of the newbies out there, here’s a crash course on just how scoring works on the court once a coin toss or racket spin has determined who will be serving first. The winner of the toss gets to choose which side of the court they want to begin play on; positions will be switched each odd-numbered game.  Then we get into the somewhat complex methods used to keep score in tennis.

Point * Game * Set * Match


The smallest unit of scoring in tennis is a ‘point’. To win, you have to earn four points and have a lead of at least two points. Unlike other sports where an earned point has a value of one, in tennis, the values of each point are as follows:

0 Points — Love

1 Point  — 15

2 Points — 30

3 Points — 40

4 Points — Game (2 point lead required)


Tied scores (except for 40-40). For example, a score of 0-0 would be love-all.


A tied score of 40-40. However, there are no ties allowed in tennis, so if a deuce is reached then the game must continue until one of the players wins two consecutive points for the game to be won.


When a deuce is reached, the next player to score a point is said to have advantage.

Advantage In  

If the serving player also has advantage, then the server may announce the score as advantage in.

Advantage Out

If the serving player does not have advantage, but the receiving player does, then the server may announce the score as advantage out.


The first player (or team) to win six games, wins a set. Players take turns serving each game, and majority of matches use one of these two set formats:

Advantage Set

Six games won with a two game advantage over the opponent.

Tie-Break Set

Used to speed up matches. If a score of 6-6 is reached, a tie-break game is played for the winner to be determined. A set amount of points (typically 7, 8, or 10 points) must be scored with at least a 2 point lead in order to win the tie-break game and set.


A match is composed of an odd-number of sets, and the player (or team) has to win the majority of sets played in order to win the match. A standard match is usually the best out of three or five sets.


The friendly Columbus tennis pros at Elysium Tennis are happy to help answer any questions you may have about the game or equipment needed. Give us a call!