What Is Deuce In Tennis? (Rules, Meaning & Origin Explained)

Tennis has many different terms, some more familiar than others. The term deuce is common in tennis, but not everyone knows exactly what it means. So, what is deuce in tennis?

The term deuce in tennis refers to a 40-40 score. In deuce, a player must win two consecutive points to win the game in question. The point won after deuce takes a player to the advantage (AD) score. If the same player also wins the 2nd consecutive point, he wins the game.

This tennis rule can seem quite complicated, especially for beginners or people who don't play tennis. Through this article, you will understand the rule perfectly, and you will also find out the origin of the word deuce.

What is The Meaning of Deuce in Tennis?

Tennis is one of the most popular sports in the world, but on the other hand, some people don't really like this sport.

Tennis matches can last a long time, and several people are not very familiar with the rules of tennis. One of the terms that everyone has heard of is the term deuce.

But what does deuce mean in tennis?

Deuce in tennis is an expression used for situations when both players won three points each. This happens when the scoreboard score is 40-40.

Some people probably find it strange to count points in tennis.

When a player wins one point, they get 15 points. When they win two points, they have 30 points. For the third point won, your score will be 40 points.

Those who do not follow tennis make mistakes when using the term deuce for results 15-15 or 30-30.

The meaning of the term deuce has to do with equalization, but deuce is used only for situations when the result is 40-40.

We use the term deuce only when both players have won at least three points.

The word deuce comes from the French language, although the French do not use the word but use the term egalité.

Deuce is used for situations where both players have an equal chance of winning the game. After 40-40, one of the players has to win two consecutive points to win the game.

That situation is present in most tournaments.

How Does Deuce Work in Tennis?

Deuce is a term in tennis that refers to a situation where two players have three points each (40-40).

The term deuce is related to a draw. People who do not follow tennis and are not familiar with the rules of this sport can use this term for any draw.

In soccer, for example, the result 1:1 is a draw. When both players win one point in tennis, it is a draw, but that is not deuce.

The term deuce is used only when the result is 40-40. Every tennis game starts with 0. In tennis, the word zero is not used for 0, but the term love is being used.

The term deuce will not be used for a score of 0-0, 15-15, and 30-30. In these cases, the umpire does not say deuce but says 15 or 30-all.

When the result is 40-40, the umpire could say 40-all, but the term deuce is used in that case.

What Comes After Deuce in Tennis?

When both players win three points in a tennis game, the score is 40-40. The term deuce is used for this score in tennis.

The term deuce cannot be used for any other draw in tennis.

In tennis, as in some other sports, someone has to win at the end of the match. In tennis, the player who reaches the two or three won sets first wins.

The number of sets needed to win varies from tournament to tournament.

A player wins a set if he wins six games before his opponent does. If the score is 5-5, the player must win seven games.

This is because, in tennis, a game, set, or tie-break must always be won with a minimum of two points difference.

If the score in a game is 40-40, one player must then win two consecutive points to win that game.

When a player wins a point after a 40-40 (deuce), the player will gain from deuce to advantage. Advantage is indicated by AD on the scoreboard.

If this player loses the next point, the score will be 40-40 again. Deuce is used again in this case. The same situation will happen if another player first wins and then loses one point.

Whether a player serves or receives a serve, they must score two consecutive points after a score of 40-40 to win the game.

Until the mentioned situation happens, the result will return to 40-40, which is deuce again. 

Where Does The Word Deuce Come From in Tennis?

Deuce is the expression for a score of 40-40 but not for other scores like 15-15 or 30-30. The reason for this can be found in the origin of this word.

As for the etymology of this word, the term deuce comes from Latin or French. In Latin, the number two is called duos, and in French, deux. The word deuce originated from those two words.

In French, there is the phrase "deux le jeu," which means two the game. This phrase can be interpreted in different ways.

It would be unusual to use the word that means number two in the result when both players have three points won. This is explained as follows.

After a score of 40-40, a player must win two consecutive points to win a game. Deuce is entirely adequate to call the mentioned result with that term.

The mentioned phrase can be interpreted in a way that both players have equal chances to win the game.

People who do not follow tennis and do not know why the term deuce is used in the score of 40-40 can find the answer in the etymology of this word.

Can a Deuce Last Forever?

When in a tennis match the score is 40-40, it is called deuce. After that, the player must win two consecutive points to win the game.

After winning the first point, they gain to advantage (AD). If they don't win the next point in a row, the score will be 40-40 again.

This fact tells that the term deuce can be used infinite times. Deuce can literally last forever. As long as the scoreboard is 40-40, the score is deuce.

A player must win two consecutive points, and after that, they win the game. After that, deuce is over, and the next game will start with 0-0.

Certain exceptions should be mentioned, and they concern the fact that players do not have to win two tied points to win a game in some tournaments.

In most tennis tournaments, after 40-40, the player must win two consecutive points to win the game.

However, there are also tournaments where only one point needs to be won after deuce.

However, these are usually exhibition tournaments.

In most tennis tournaments, deuce can occur endlessly. That is undoubtedly one of the reasons why a certain number of people do not like to watch tennis.

One game can sometimes last over 10 minutes precisely because one player has to score two points in a row after a score of 40-40.

The Longest Deuce in Tennis

Until a player wins two consecutive points with a score of 40-40, the game can last indefinitely.

Such a situation is present in most tournaments. Therefore, deuce can last forever in tennis.

People who do not like to watch tennis probably think that after 40-40, it would be enough for a player to win one point and thus win a game.

This situation happens in a very small number of tournaments.

On the other hand, people who like to play and watch tennis think this would lose the charm of this sport.

It is not possible to see that matches last for six hours in other sports, as is the case in tennis.

Matches would undoubtedly last much shorter if, after 40-40, it would be enough for a player to win one point to win a game. 

One match went down in history regarding the number of deuces we could see. That match was played by Anthony Fawcett and Keith Glass.

Fawcett and Glass played a match on May 26, 1975, in Surbiton, United Kingdom, in which as many as 37 deuces were played. After that, Glass tied two points and managed to win that game.

Conclusion

When the score in a game is 40-40, it is called deuce. The mentioned expression comes from the French language from the word deux, which means two.

After a score of 40-40, one player must win two consecutive points to win the game. This is the case in almost all tennis tournaments.

Brian Henderson

I am what you might call a true tennis fanatic. When I am not on the tennis court teaching or playing myself, I am probably writing an informative article about tennis. My goal is to get as many people as possible excited and informed about tennis.
Published: 
January 26, 2022

Share

Published: January 26, 2022