Deuce in Tennis: A Quick Overview

Tennis scoring can sometimes be complex and nonsensical. But it helps to understand the various methods for keeping score such as deuce. In this article we will discover the deuce in tennis meaning, and some strategies for how to win a game that reaches deuce.

What does deuce mean in tennis?

In tennis, “deuce” means the score of the game is tied at 40-40. At deuce, both players have each won three points.

What happens when there is a deuce in tennis?

When the score reaches deuce, the player who is serving will serve again. What happens after this point depends on if the game is played with or without “ad” (advantage).

  • If the game is played without advantage (ad) scoring, then whoever wins the first point after deuce wins the game.
  • If the game is played with advantage (ad) scoring, then the winner of the deuce point gets the advantage. Players must win by two points.

Playing Deuce With “Ad” Scoring

When a player wins a deuce point, they have what is called the “advantage”. If the advantage player wins the next point then they win the game. However, if the player with the advantage loses the next point, then the score goes back to deuce (40-40).

This pattern continues until one player has won two consecutive points and thus, the game. Deuce is an important part of tennis and knowing how to play it can give you a competitive edge on the court!

what does deuce mean in tennis

Is there a limit to the number of deuce points?

No, there is no limit to the number of deuce points that can exist in a tennis match. This is why some tennis matches can last for hours and hours. When two evenly matched players come together, there can be a lot of deuces in a single game. This is one of the major contributing factors to how long a tennis match lasts.

The world record for the most number of deuces in a single game resides with Anthony Fawcett and Keith Glass. On May 26, 1975, at the Surrey Grass Court Championships, they racked up an incredible 37 deuces in a single game!

Why the word “deuce”?

Deuce does not mean “tie”. This is because players can have a tied score at 15 and 30 without a deuce. The deuce only comes into play at a score of 40-40 (or 40-all). For this reason, many believe the origin of the word to be from the French phrase, “deux du jeu” which means “two points away”. This fits well with deuce since it is two points from winning the game.

Did you know?

You can know what the score is based on which side of the court you are on. Since all games start on the right side of the court (from the player’s first-person perspective) deuce points are always on the right side, and advantage points are on the left side.

How to Win Deuce in Tennis

Deuce can be a challenging part of tennis because it requires players to be extra strategic in their thinking and shots. When playing deuce, it is important to remember that your opponent is just as hungry to win as you are! Here are a few tips on how to win deuce in tennis: 

  • Keep your cool: Deuce can be a tense time for all the players. It is important to stay calm and not let your emotions get the best of you. If you get too worked up, you will make mistakes.
  • Change up your shots: If you keep hitting the same shot over and over again, your opponent will catch on and start anticipating your moves. Keep your opponent guessing by mixing up your shots. A changeup can be just what you need to win deuce!
  • Be patient: Deuce can happen multiple times in a single game. Even experienced tennis players can lose their patience and get overly aggressive to get it over with. It may take a few tries before you finally win deuce. Be patient and wait for your opportunity. Once you have it, pounce!
  • Focus only on the current point: It’s easy to get discouraged in a deuce point situation. This is because you know you have to win two points to win the game. Even more discouraging is when your opponent has the advantage. This means you must win three consecutive points to win the game. Keep your emotions in check and focus only on the point you are in. This way your only concern is one point at a time.
  • Think ahead in the point: Skilled players navigate deuce points well. This is because they can think two steps ahead. Try to anticipate where your opponent is going to hit the ball and be ready for it. If you can stay one step ahead of your opponent, you will be in a good position to win deuce!

The Traditional Deuce Strategy

The key to winning deuces is knowing when it’s time for a more aggressive strategy. If you have the advantage, most agree this is an acceptable time to play more aggressively. However, you can easily overdo it and cause an unforced error. The tides in deuce games shift very rapidly and you may find yourself at a disadvantage before you know it!

On the other hand, if your opponent has the advantage, then playing conservatively is a wise strategy. You don’t want to give up a game to your opponent because you were too aggressive when you didn’t need to be.

That said, sometimes your opponent may expect exactly this behavior. At times it may be wise to change it up and attempt slightly more aggressive or conservative strategies at unexpected times to throw them off.

Conclusion: Deuce in Tennis

Deuce in a tennis match can be a challenging but ultimately rewarding part of the game. By being strategic in your thinking and shots, you can come out victorious! Stay calm, mix up your shots, be patient, and think ahead during deuce and you’ll give yourself a great chance at winning the game.

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