Glossary of Tennis
- Glossary of Terms follows below:
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The official who is in overall charge of a
match. The umpire sits in a raised chair at one end of
the net, calls the score after each point, and has
final responsibility for all questions of judgment and
fact. He or she may reverse the decision of a judge or
linesman if it is clearly in error and may impose
point penalties or even default a player for
Underspin See backspin.
Unforced error Loss of a point caused by a poorly
hit shot that goes into the net or out of the court.
Compare forced error.
Up and back A doubles formation in which one
partner plays in the forecourt, the other in the
backcourt. Compare tandem.
V.A.S.S.S. Acronym for the Van Alen Streamlined
Scoring System, developed by James Van Alen. The main
intent is to avoid the very long matches that can
arise under the traditional scoring system. The Van
Alen numbers the points from zero through four and
awards a game to the first player to score four
points, even if the other player has three points,
thus eliminating deuce. Most important, Van Alen
introduced the tiebreaker, which is now commonly used.
Volley A shot on which the ball is hit before it
bounces. As a verb, to hit such a shot.
Walkover A victory that results from the
Western Grip The Western grip
places your palm on the bottom plane of your handle,
at 90 degrees clockwise from the plane of the strings.
This makes the racquet face tilt downward severely,
and you must meet the ball farther forward (at a given
height) than you would with a Semi-Western grip to get
the plane of the strings into a vertical position.
The most natural swing pattern with a Western grip is
sharply upward and very fast, which explains why most
Western hitters generate heavy topspin. The
Western grip handles high balls much better than low
ones, in large part because a higher point of contact
does not need to be as far forward. It is
possible for some players to hit flat with a Western
grip, but doing so forces your wrist into a very
awkward position. The Western grip got its
name from its origin with California players.
Wide Descriptive of a shot that lands beyond
the sideline, or beyond the service sideline in the
case of a serve. See also long.
Wildcard Regardless of their positions in
the rankings, an organizer can invite one or more
players to take part in a tournament, offering them
wildcards. This gives event organizers the opportunity
of offering places to promising young players, or
alternatively to stars who have failed to register in
time for the tournament.
Winner A shot that wins a point.
Wood shot A shot on which the frame of the racket
strikes the ball.
To hit a shot to the side of an
opponent who is moving or turned in the other
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