What Does Love Mean In Tennis?

What Does Love Mean In Tennis

Love, is sweat term to hear. You are familiar with ‘I LOVE YOU’. Now, see tennis meaning of ‘LOVE’.

What does “love” mean in tennis? Love in tennis means a score of zero points, nil. It sounds interesting to have your score as love rather than zero. Perhaps it is because you simply play the game for love not to gain any score since in reality you have zero score. So, what is love in tennis is simply a score of zero or perhaps the first point of score in tennis. When you see love, it means you have scored nothing and your total points for the game is zero.

Tennis scoring is an interesting game. Unlike games such as soccer where a score is 0, 1, 2, 3, etc, tennis scoring is special. Love in tennis scoring exists. Actually, when looking at the scoring board you will see letters and numbers such as; love, all, deuce, 15, 30, 40, ad-in, ad-out.

What does the score love mean in tennis? The score love means zero. Actually, if you are wondering what is the first point in a tennis score it is love. Love meaning a score of zero is the first point in tennis score. When a new game starts each tennis player score is love (love-love).  There is no score in tennis as love-all, or all-love. A game starts at love-love as the first point of a tennis score.

Love In Tennis Scoring System

First, let us understand the tennis scoring system and its meaning so we can further analyze the love in tennis scoring.

Score PointsWritten/Referred to as
Tied scoreAll
Tied score at 1 point15-all
Tied score at 2 point30-all
Tied score at 3 pointDeuce
Server wins deuce pointAd-In
Receiver wins deuce pointAd-Out
Scoring in tennis

Actual Love Score in A Tennis Game

Now you have a clear idea of scoring in tennis. Let’s look at possible scenarios in which love scores can be applicable. Assume we have tennis player X and tennis player Y playing together. A possible score scenario involving love could be as shown in the table below.

Tennis Player X vs Tennis Player YMeaning of the scoresWho wins
love-loveBoth player X and player Y have a score of zero (0)None. It is Draw; shared points, no winner
15-loveTennis player X has 1 point, tennis player Y has 0X
30-loveTennis player X has 2 points, tennis player Y has 0X
40-loveTennis player X has 3 points, tennis player Y has 0X
Deuce-deuceTennis player X has 3 points, tennis player Y has 3 pointsDraw
Love-15Tennis player X has 0 point, tennis player Y has 1 pointY
Love-30Tennis player X has 0 points, tennis player Y has 2Y
Love-40Tennis player X has 0 points, tennis player 3 has 0Y
Tennis love score examples

For better explanation of the scoring, we can analyze as follows:

  • What does deuce mean in tennis? Deuce in tennis means a tied score at point 3. Both players have scored 3 points each. So, the score is a draw at 3 points.
  • What does 15 love mean in tennis? 15 love means that the player who first served has scored 1 point while the opponent has zero or love point. The player with score of 15 wins the game.
  • 40-love meaning the tennis player who first served has scored 3 points referred to as 40 while the opponent has a zero score referred to as love.

Often in a tennis game, points accumulate. Scoring is not a one-time event. So, below is a possible tennis game scenario that can happen in the field until the winner wins a game.

Tennis player X and tennis player Y can be assumed to be rallying together. The table below shows an example of a possible score that can be realized.

Tennis Player X Starts A Tennis Serve

Who winsScore of X vs Y
X win first 1 point15-love
X win second point30-love
X win third point40-love
X win fourth pointX wins the game
Tennis scoring with tennis love

Tennis Player Y Starts A Tennis Serve

Who winsScore of Y vs X
X wins first one pointLove-15
X wins second pointLove-30
Y wins third point15-30
Y wins fourth point30-all
X wins fifth point30-40
Y wins sixth pointDeuce
X wins seventh pointAd out
Y wins ninth pointAd out
X wins net pointGame ends. X wins
Scoring with tennis love

Love In Tennis Set

What does a set in tennis mean? A tennis set is a collective name that refers to six tennis games. Common tennis set is best of 3 set and best of 5 set. Best of 3 sets means that a winner must wins the first 2 sets to be declared the winner. When playing best of 5 sets, the winner is declared after winning the first 3 sets.

Men can play either best of 3 sets or best of 5 sets. However, females play best of 3 sets. The table below shows a best of 3 set score example. Since each set has 6 games, whenever you see 7 it means there was a tie break and an extra tiebreak game was played. Note, Love or 0 can be used interchangeably. The game comprises of player X against Y.

Set 1 ScoreSet 2 ScoreSet 3 ScoreWinner
6-46-76-0X is the winner since he/she won set 1 and set 3
Set score with love tennis scoring

If you have not yet seen how live scores are recorded in tennis, here is an example of a U.S Open live scores. You can have a better understanding of a real scenario tennis scoring system.

Love In Tennis Origin

There are several non-proven theories of the origins of love in tennis that can perhaps give an explanation as to why does tennis use love? Tennis use love as the first point in a tennis score for the following 3 most popular theories to explain the origin of love in tennis game.

Theory 1

A number of theories surrounds the term love in tennis. One theoretical claim is that tennis ‘love’ term first originated from the French word l’oeuf which means ‘an egg’. The 0 resembling an egg was comparable and hence the French term.

Theory 2

Another theoretical claim is that since the scoreless player has a zero, the only thing that is keeping the player to continue the game despite having a zero score is his or her ‘love’ for the game.

Otherwise, having a score of 0 till the end of the game is not easy for the player who perhaps could have quit the game but for the love of tennis game, the player decided to carry on till the end.

Theory 3

Also, the terms ‘love’ can be viewed as being a euphemism term to describe a zero score. If someone tells you “you have zero points” and another says ‘’you have love’, honestly ‘love’ sounds great.


What does love mean in tennis is simply a zero score. If you like it, what is love in tennis? Love in tennis is a score of zero. Love is the first point in a tennis score. When the score of both player is 0-0, the score is referred to as love-love. Despite origins of love in tennis being more of theories than facts, perhaps saying a player plays for the love of the game sounds good somehow.

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Brett Haber

My goal is simple: to immerse you in the world of tennis like never before. Whether it's analyzing the strategies of top players, delving into the history of the sport, or offering insightful commentary on current events, my words aim to entertain, inform, and ignite your own passion for tennis. Join me on this thrilling journey through the courts, and let's ace this adventure together!

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