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Glossary of Tennis Terms

Tennis - Glossary of Terms follows below:

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Baseline   The line which indicates the legal length (end) of the playing court, beyond where the serve must be made.  Also see The anatomy of the tennis court.

Backboard   A wall used for practicing tennis alone.  It's usually painted with a horizontal line representing the net, and drawn at the same height.

Back court   The area of the court from the baseline to the service line.  Also see The anatomy of the tennis court.

Backhand   A stoke made by drawing the racquet across and in front of player's body.  Can be hit with one or two hands.

Backhand Grip (two-handed)   The two-handed backhand grip has long been used for both stability and power of the backhand return shot.  There is a difference of opinion regarding the proper hand placement for this grip.  Undoubtedly the most popular placement is to hold the racquet in your dominant hand with a Continental grip, then taking your opposite hand and placing it above your playing hand in a Semi-Western forehand grip.


Backspin   Backward rotation on the ball, caused by rapidly bringing the racket strings down during the stroke as the ball is hit, that results in a low bounce; hitting the underside of the ball.  On some surfaces, the ball may even bounce back toward the net.  Also known as underspin.  Also called a chip; or chop.

Backstop   A fence or wall that contains balls within the court area, behind the end of the court. 

Ball boy/girl   Boys or girls who retrieve balls for the players.  In exceptional cases, the umpire or line judge may ask the ball boy or girl if a ball that has landed near them was inbounds or out-of-bounds.  Lately also called "ball kids."

Ball toss   The action of tossing the ball into the air to initiate a serve.

Band   The strip of material at the top of the net.  Also see The anatomy of the tennis court.

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Baseline   A line at the end of the court, parallel to the net, that marks the lengthwise boundary of the playing area.  Also see The anatomy of the tennis court.

Baseline game   A playing style in which the player hits almost all of his or her shots from near the baseline, rather than taking the net.

Baseline judge   An official, stationed on a line with the baseline, who is responsible for determining whether shots are in or out. The baseline judges are seated on the same side of the court as the umpire.

Baseline player   A player who plays a baseline game; also called a "grinder."

Block  To return the ball by holding the racket stationary rather than swinging it.

Block volley   The return shot created by holding the racket firmly in the path of the oncoming ball and ‘blocking' it back with almost no motion.

Break   To win a game as receiver (as a noun); also short for a service break.

Break back   To win a game as receiver immediately after having endured a service break.

Break point   A point which will result in a service break if it's won by the receiver.

Bye   The right to advance to the next round of a tournament without playing a match.  Top-seeded professional players are often given byes in the first round.

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