Tennis is a beloved sport around the world, with many countries having their own unique traditions. One of the most interesting customs is that French players don’t often say “love” when scoring points. This custom has been around for decades, and it’s become a part of the game’s culture. In this article, we’ll explore why French players don’t say “love” in tennis and what it means for the sport.
The Origins of “Love” in Tennis
The word “love” in tennis is believed to have originated in France in the late 19th century. At the time, the sport was called “jeu de paume,” and the French players used the word “l’oeuf” to describe a zero score. Over time, this evolved into the word “love” and became a part of the game’s culture.
The Meaning of “Love”
The word “love” has many different meanings in tennis. On the surface, it simply means a score of zero. However, it can also symbolize the passion and skill that goes into the sport. Many players view “love” as a sign of respect for their opponents and the game itself.
Why Don’t French Say “Love”?
Despite its origins in the French language, French players rarely say “love” when scoring points. This is because the French view the word as a sign of disrespect. In France, the word “love” is often associated with romance, and saying it on the court can be seen as inappropriate. As a result, French players generally avoid saying “love” and instead opt to use the traditional French scoring system.
The French Scoring System
The traditional French scoring system is simple and easy to understand. Instead of saying “love,” French players use the following words to describe their scores:
- 15 – Quinze
- 30 – Trente
- 40 – Quarante
- Game – Jeu
This system is still used in France and is a part of the game’s culture.
International Scoring System
Outside of France, the international scoring system is used. This system is similar to the French one, with the addition of the word “love” to describe a score of zero. This system is used in most countries around the world and is the official scoring system of the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
The Evolution of “Love” in Tennis
Since its introduction in the late 19th century, the word “love” has evolved significantly. It is now used to describe a score of zero, but it also has many other meanings. In some countries, “love” is used to show respect for an opponent. In others, it can be used to show admiration for a player’s skill and passion.
The word “love” in tennis has a long and interesting history. It originated in France in the late 19th century and has since become a part of the game’s culture. French players don’t often say “love,” as it is seen as a sign of disrespect. Instead, they use the traditional French scoring system. Outside of France, the international scoring system is used, which includes the word “love” to describe a score of zero. Ultimately, “love” is a sign of respect for the sport, and it has come to represent the passion and skill that goes into the game.
Carvajal, A. (2020, April 13). What Does Love Mean in Tennis?. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/what-does-love-mean-in-tennis-3265698
ITF Rules of Tennis. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.itftennis.com/media/2482/itf-rules-of-tennis-2018-en.pdf
Tennis Canada. (2020, June 16). Scoring in Tennis. Retrieved from https://www.tenniscanada.com/en-ca/learn/rules/scoring-in-tennis/