Glossary of Tennis
- Glossary of Terms follows below:
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An illegal shot, on which the ball is held and/or
carried on the racket, rather than being struck. Also
used as a verb.
Center court The main court at a
tennis arena, where the championship and other major
matches are played.
Center line A line extending from
the net to the midpoint of the service line, which
marks the boundary for both service courts; refers to
both the line dividing the service boxes, a ‘server'
will often hit ‘down the centerline'.
Center line judge An official who is
responsible for watching the center service line to
determine whether a serve has entered the service
Center mark A line measuring 2
inches wide and 14 inches long, that marks the
midpoint of the baseline.
Chair The umpire's seat. Also
the term used to reference the umpire, as in "The
chair ruled that the shot was good."
Changeover A 90-second period after
every odd-numbered game in a set when players change
A soft dipping shot hit
with a backspin that just drops over the net. Often
employed to return a serve, it's similar to a drop
shot, but is most often used when the opponent is
positioned at the net, thereby forcing a difficult
A shot hit with a heavy
backspin, hit with a sharp, downward chopping motion;
when hit correctly, it results in a shot with
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A shot that cannot be
reached by the opponent.
A grip in which the
racket face is tilted downward, toward the court.
A racket held with a
Continental Grip The Continental
grip is the one solution used for every shot, but it
is considered old school; it places your palm on the
upper right slant bevel, 45 degrees counterclockwise
from the Eastern. This makes the racquet face
tend to tilt upward, which is especially appropriate
for hitting a slice. You can hit flat with the
Continental, but you must meet the ball in a weaker
position, slightly farther back, than with the
Eastern. The Continental grip can be used for both
forehands and backhands, but it's rarely used anymore
for forehands, because it's poorly suited to hitting a
topspin. It was named for its initial
development in the continent of Europe.
Court The tennis court is 78
feet long and 27 feet wide for singles, 36 feet wide
for doubles. It is divided across the middle by the
net. Service lines are marked 21 feet from each side
of the net and parallel to it. The area bounded by the
singles sidelines and the service line is divided into
two equal parts, the service courts, by the center
service line, which is halfway between the sidelines
and parallel to them.
A shot that
diagonally is hit from one side of the court to the
other, as well as over the net, as opposed to one hit
straight down the centerline. For example, the player
hits from the right-hand side of the back court to the
right-hand side of the opponent's back court.
To hit the ball with a short,
downward slicing motion, often drawing the racket
strings across it to give some sideways spin in
addition to backspin.
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