Chapter 02

02

Practical Guide

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The ABC of tennis
Focus on a few tennis terms
A
Ace
When the ball is served it must bounce once in the service box. If the receiver is then not able to touch the ball it is called an ace. The record for the number of aces served in a single match is held by John Isner with 113. This was achieved in his historical match against Nicolas Mahut in 2010.
ATP
The ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) men’s tour and the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) women’s tour comprise different categories of tournaments for which specific points are allotted to the players’ totals. Several tournaments are taken into account when each player’s total points are calculated, giving his or her ATP or WTA ranking. As far as the men are concerned, for each Grand Slam tournament for example the winner is allotted 2000 points while the other competitors can also increase their total (1200 points for the losing finalist, 720 for each semifinalist, etc.). Without going into more detail or into the other particularities of the calculation method, it should be pointed out that the ranking is based on a “sliding” year, which takes into account the player’s results over the previous 52 weeks. Each Monday the points won during the previous week are added to the total while those won during the corresponding week a year earlier are deducted. The aim is therefore more to defend the points already won rather than to accumulate more points. In other words, the player who wins Roland Garros must do equally well the following year in order to retain his or her points since those won the previous year will automatically be lost.
B
Ball
Tennis balls are made of rubber and filled with air. Covered in a type of felt, they are normally yellow but may also be white – these two colours being the only ones allowed in official competitions. Originally white, yellow tennis balls were introduced at the end of the 1970s for better visibility on television screens. The diameter of a tennis ball varies between 6.350 and 6.668 cm, and they weigh between 56.7 and 58.5 grammes.
Break
A break occurs when the player receiving the service wins the game.
C
Changing sides
One and a half minutes is the time allowed for changing sides, which happens each time the total number of games played is uneven, as well as at the end of each set. In a tie-break the players change sides after every 6 games.
Court
A tennis court is a rectangle 78 feet (23.77 m) long and 27 feet (8.23 m) wide for singles and 36 feet (10.97 m) wide for doubles. It is divided across the centre by a net suspended on a wire, each end being fixed to a post. The top of the net should be 42 inches (1.07 m) off the ground. The ends of the court are indicated by the base-lines and the service line crosses each half, between the base line and the net.
D
Double fault
The server loses the point if neither ball served passes over the net or lands in the service box. This is called a double fault.
F
Foot fault
The umpire or linesman will call a foot fault if one of the server’s feet touches the base-line before the ball is hit.
G
Grip
The way the players hold their rackets varies depending on the shot (forehand, backhand, service, smash, etc.) and the spin. There are different basic grips defined by the position of the hand on the shaft and in particular the angle of the head of the racket; with an “open” racket the head is turned slightly upwards when the ball is hit, while with a “closed” racket the head is turned slightly downwards.
H
Hawk-Eye
The players may challenge the call made by the umpire or a linesman by using Hawk-Eye, an electronic system that reproduces the trajectory of the ball in a synthesised image and shows it on giant screens on the court. This system was invented in 1999 and was inaugurated for the ATP Masters in Miami in 2006. Today it is used on the WTA and ATP professional circuits and in particular for three of the Grand Slam tournaments (Wimbledon, the Australian Open and the US Open). Officialy, the French Open at Roland Garros does not need this system since in principle the ball leaves a mark each time it bounces on the sand surface, which enables the umpire to see for himself whether the ball was in or out in the case of a challenge. In fact, Hawk-Eye is used at Roland Garros and proposed by Longines but only for television viewers. There are no giant screens at the stadium itself. Each player has three challenges for each set, plus one extra challenge if a tie-break is played. If the system confirms the challenge it is not deducted from that player’s remaining challenges. If the challenger is wrong, however, he or she loses one challenge.
I
Interruptions
Only the umpire may decide to suspend or stop play in the case of an occurrence that disturbs the players (extremely noisy spectators, weather conditions, etc.). If a player is injured he or she may ask for medical treatment for a maximum of 3 minutes.
P
Pauses
The players have a pause of 1½ minutes when they change sides and a 2-minute pause at the end of each set. There are no pauses between the points, except if a player is injured. If a player deliberately oversteps the time allowed between each point (20 seconds) he or she will receive a warning.
Points
For those not in the know, the scoring system for tennis may often seem very confusing. A match is made up of games and sets. The points scored in each game are counted as follows: 15, 30, 40, game. The umpire always says the server’s score first. If both players reach 40 points (deuce), two consecutive points must be scored to win that game, the first point being announced as “Advantage Martin”, the second “Game Martin”, for example. After an advantage has been won, if the opposing player succeeds in winning the following point, the umpire will again announce “Deuce”. An example of Dupont playing against Martin (Dupont is serving).

A: Point won by
B: Score annouced by the umpire
A B
Martin 0-15
Martin 0-30
Dupont 15-30
Martin 15-40
Dupont 30-40
Dupont Deuce
Martin Advantage Martin
Dupont Deuce
Dupont Advantage Dupont
Martin Deuce
Martin Advantage Martin
Martin Game Martin


The first player who wins 6 games wins that set on condition that he or she has won at least 2 games more than the other player, e.g. 6 / 4. This principle applies only up to 7 / 5. If both players win 6 games a tie-break is played. For the tie-break, the points won are counted normally, i.e. 1, 2, 3, etc. The first player to win at least 7 points, with a difference of at least 2 over his or her opponent, wins the set.
Depending on the tournament, the successful player must win two sets (best of three) or three sets (best of 5) to win the match. In finals, women normally play best of three and men best of five sets. At some major tournaments (in particular the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon), however, the fifth set in men’s matches and the third set in women’s matches are played out, i.e. there is no tie-break.
R
Rackets
It was at the beginning of the 16th century that the first tennis racket was made. It had a long wooden shaft and was strung with sheep’s gut. It weighed around 400 g and was 66 cm long. The more or less circular head was 16 cm in diameter. In comparison, today’s rackets weigh between 250 and 350 g and are 70 cm long. Over the centuries, the shape, length and weight of the tennis racket were altered several times without any real evolution, however. In 1930 new types of wood glue enabled manufacturers to produce laminated rackets made of layers of different woods (ash, walnut, beech, maple), which could withstand greater pressure and ensured a better balance between power and ball control. Metal rackets subsequently appeared in the 1970s but were not a great success. From 1980 on synthetic fibres (carbon, a glass fibre mix, etc.) were used to make rackets that were both light-weight and effective. These new materials replaced wooden rackets, which disappeared altogether in 1984. In 1875, the British tennis racket manufacturer Bussey asked Babolat, a Frenchman who was making strings for musical instruments, whether it would be possible to string a tennis racket using the strings he made for cellos. The tests proved satisfactory and the first synthetic strings for tennis rackets were born! Nowadays most rackets are strung with nylon, although some players prefer gut.
S
Spin
The rotation that the player gives the ball can considerably affect its trajectory before and after the bounce. Different ways of hitting the ball include top-spin, slice, kick, drop-shot (see “Strokes and spin”).
T
Tennis elbow
Tennis elbow, or epicondylitis to give it its medical name, is an inflammation in the elbow from which many tennis players suffer. It is normally caused by the vibration of the racket when the ball is hit.
Timekeeping
Timing is important in all sporting events. Official Timekeeper of the French Open, Longines has clocks keeping the time of day and the duration of each match that are not only visible in the corners of the main stadiums but also throughout the premises.
Tram-lines
The tram-lines are the areas between the side-lines for singles and the side-lines for doubles. They are 4.5 feet wide (1.37 m).
U
Umpires and linesmen
The umpire is the principal referee and sits on a high chair at one end of the net. He or she announces the score and when the players are to change sides, but the umpire may also issue warnings to the players or indeed the spectators. The umpire is assisted by a number of linesmen who check to see that the ball bounces within the limits of the court. One of the linesmen is also responsible for checking that the server does not commit a foot fault. Depending on the tournaments and the era, the number of linesmen has varied from seven to nine: two for the base-line, four for the tram-lines, one for the service-line and, in some cases, two for the centre line during service (this task may be fulfilled by the tram-line linesman, who moves across to the centre line for the service and then back to the edge of the court once the rally is underway). The linesmen assist the umpire, the latter having the final word in the case of doubt. In the case of a particularly difficult controversy, the umpire may call on the referee in charge of the tournament.
W
WTA
While the men’s tennis circuit is organised and supervised by the ATP it is the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) which is responsible for the tournaments on the main professional ladies’ circuit.
Strokes and spin
Chop, smash, kick, lift & Co.
Backhand
A way of hitting the ball with an open arm on the opposite side of the body to that on which the racket is held, often using two hands in order to obtain maximum power.
Chop
A way of hitting the ball so that it spins in the opposite direction to its trajectory. The ball then travels quite straight but brakes when it bounces.
Counter drop-shot
A drop-shot played on to a previous drop-shot.
Cross-court shot
When the ball is hit diagonally across the court, i.e. over the greatest distance possible.
Drop-shot
A ball with strong back-spin which consequently bounces very little.
Flat shot
A stroke involving no spin, very popular among American players in the 1970s and 1980s.
Forehand
Way of hitting the ball with an open arm on the side of the body on which the racket is held. Some amateur and professional players prefer a two-handed forehand.
Half-volley
When the ball is hit immediately after it bounces.
High shot
A low-risk stroke whereby the ball goes over the net at some height, generally used to break the rhythm of the rally and give the hitter time to reposition himself or herself.
Kick
An effect that is similar to a slice, term used normally for a service that is sliced and has top-spin.
Lob
An attacking (or defensive) shot whereby the ball is hit in a high arc over the opponent’s head when he or she has come to the net.
Passing-shot
A winning shot hit from the back of the court whereby the ball is hit past the opponent when he or she has come to the net.
Service-volley
A technique used by the server consisting of coming to the net as soon as he or she has served the ball.
Slice
A stroke whereby a lateral spin is put on the ball, often used for a service and sometimes during a rally. The slice causes the trajectory of the ball to bend inwards and the ball itself to bounce outwards.
Smash
An overhead stroke whereby the player hits the ball extremely hard into the other half of the court before or after it has bounced.
Top-spin
A forward spin, i.e. in the same direction as the ball is travelling. This makes its trajectory more rounded and the ball will accelerate upon bouncing.
Volley
A stroke whereby the ball is hit with the arm closer to the body before it bounces. This stroke is often used when the player has come to the net.
Wooden shot
When the player inadvertently hits the ball with the frame of the racket.
The 2017 Longines Future Tennis Aces tournament pitted 20 future champions against each other on an outdoor court set up on the Parvis de La Défense, the heart of Paris’ business district.
Practical Guide
The Roland Garros Stadium
A FEW REFERENCE PLACES
It is forbidden to move about the stands during play ; spectators may only change seats or enter or leave the stands when the players change sides or between matches.
A list of the day’s matches is provided in the Roland Garros 2018 daily News Sheet, copies of which can be found in the Longines box.
Please make sure you have your admission ticket to the Village with you at all times.

1
Espace Longines (New Village)
The Espace Longines can be found in the New Roland Garros Village, inaugurated on the occasion of the 2018 French Open.
2
Philippe-Chatrier court
The Philippe-Chatrier court is the centre court of the Roland Garros Stadium in Paris, France. Built in 1928 it has seating for 14,840 spectators at present. It acquired the name Philippe Chatrier in 2001 as a tribute to the head of the French Tennis Federation and the International Tennis Federation, who died on 22 June 2000. In 2008 the four stands were named after the "four musketeers" : Jean Borotra, Jacques Brugnon, Henri Cochet and René Lacoste.
3
Place des Mousquetaires
The famous Place des Mousquetaires was built in 1989 and is overlooked by bronze statues of René Lacoste, Jean Borotra, Henri Cochet and Jacques Brugnon, the "four musketeers" of French tennis who won the Davis Cup 6 times in a row from 1927 to 1932.
4
Suzanne-Lenglen court
In 1997 another court at Roland Garros was named after the famous French player Suzanne Lenglen, the first star of women’s tennis. Built in 1994, it was formerly known as court A, and has seating for 10,000 spectators.
5
Longines Smash Corner
The Longines Smash Corner is located near the Place des Mousquetaires. During the two weeks of the tournament any challenger from the general public can measure the speed of his or her service. Each participant pays 2 Euros to serve three times. Longines will donate the money collected to the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education and Stefanie Graf’s Children for Tomorrow.
Summary
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