What Is the Origin of Love in Tennis?

Elmira | 20 - 07 - 2020
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In tennis, when both sides have no score, the game is love-love. Love means having zero scores. If you love tennis, you must know the term ‘love’. In tennis, understanding of tennis scores is required to appreciate the game.

If you are wondering, from where tennis gets its affectionate score of zero, The Oxford English Dictionary suggests an answer. It explains that the term might be rooted in the colloquial phrase “for love,” which means “without stakes being wagered.” It defines the sport’s long history of etiquette and sportsmanship.

Love Tennis Score

Love is a term for a score of zero that has been utilized in tennis since the late 1800s.  The scoring progress begins from love to 15, 30, and 40 which are comparatively equivalent to 0, 1, 2, and 3 in points in each game. For example, if a player scores a first point of the game, the score is “15-love” or “fifteen (to) love” in that team’s favor.

1. What Does Love Mean in Tennis?
  • A. Zero score
  • B. The highest score
  • C. Foul
  • D. Equal Score

Look at False Theories

Look at these fascinating theories which will blow your mind.

There are many theories about the origin of love in tennis which seem absurd. In the first theory, the term ‘love’ compares to the French word l’oeuf, which means ‘an egg’. The egg has an oval shape somewhat relatable to the number zero (on a scoreboard) or nil. However, the definition seems dubious. This theory seems cooked.

Carillo who played women’s professional tennis admits: “It’s the goose egg, exactly. Most tennis historians believe the French translation of ‘egg’ is probably the most likely theory.”

Less Popularity Theories

The use of the Dutch or Flemish word “lof,” means honor. The idea says the scoreless player or a player with zero scores is simply playing for honor not playing for reward or to win.

Another possibility theory comes from Dutch expression iets voor lof doen, meaning do something for reward or fame, suggesting financial stakes.

This theory reflects, the origin of love is acceptance at the beginning of any game when the scores are at zero, players should have a love for each other.

True Origin of Love in Tennis

The theory states that love comes from the expression “to play for love”. It says a player who fails to make points doesn’t bother because he is playing for the love of the game.  The word has been derived from the phrase, ‘to play for love (of the game)’. The concept says that if a person plays purely for the ‘love of the game, then they don’t worry about scoring points. It means you earn nothing/zero/nil. Good sportsmanship defines a game for love. In other words, you must play tennis truly to challenge yourself, instead of having a score. It defines “labor of love” which means performing out of love without having a bad feeling for not scoring.

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