I-formation: doubles formation where the net player on the serving team straddles the centre service line at a crouch with the aim of cutting off a cross-court return.

In: call made when a ball falls within the playing area.

ITF: International Tennis Federation, the world governing body of tennis.


Kick serve: a serve where the ball is imparted with topspin making it “kick” up upon connecting with the court surface.


Let: a stroke or point that doesn’t count and has to be replayed. Occurs when a serve clips the net before bouncing into the service box, when a point is interrupted by outside interference or if an umpire overrules a call made by a linesperson.

Linesperson (line judge): court official responsible for making calls on a particular line.

Lob: high-arcing shot intended to pass over an opponent’s head and land within the playing area.

Long: alternative call to “out” when a ball lands beyond the baseline.

Love: tennis word for zero, meaning no points in a game or a set.

Love game: a game won by a player without their opponent scoring any points.

Lucky loser: player who loses in qualifying but gets into the main draw of a tournament due to another player withdrawing. A lucky loser berth is generally awarded to the highest ranked non-qualifying player.


Match: competitive format for tennis usually decided by the best of three or the best of five sets.

Match point: point in a match that, if won, brings the match to an end.

Mini-break: a tiebreak point won on an opponent’s serve.

Mis-hit: shot struck with the ball not connecting fully with the strings.

Mixed doubles: doubles match played with one male and one female opponent on team.

Moonball: stroke played with heavy topspin to slow down a point or help a player to recover their position on court.


Net: netting stretched horizontally across the mid-point of the court, supported by net posts, that measures 91.5 cm at the centre strap and 106.5 cm at the net posts.

Net chord: white band from which the length of the net is suspended.

Net point: point decided at the net, usually by a volley (as opposed to a point won or lost at the baseline).

New balls: in a match, a new set of balls replaces those in play initially after the first seven games, and then every nine games thereafter.

No-man’s land: the area between the baseline and service line where it is difficult for players to make effective shots.


Official: member of the on-court officiating team. Includes the umpire, linespeople, court supervisor and referee.

Out: call made when a ball lands outside the playing area.

Overhead: see smash.

Overrule: decision made by an umpire to reverse a call made by a linesperson.


Passing shot: shot that passes to the left or right of a net player (not over them) and lands within the playing area.

Plexicushion: hardcourt surface used at Australian Open Series events.

Poach: doubles maneuver whereby a net player intercepts a shot directed at their partner.

Protected ranking: special ranking given to a player returning from an injury break of more than six months, based on their average ranking during the first three months of injury, used to help them gain direct entry into tournament main draws or qualifying to assist their comeback.

Pusher: term used to refer to a player whose game is based on keeping the ball in play rather than aggressively trying to hit winners.