Entries by naplestennis

How to Watch a Tennis Tournament

Tennis, like any other sport, uses lots of jargon. Hard core tennis fans think nothing of the terms and use them regularly. But the casual fan might be a bit confused at times trying to figure out some of the terminology used during the telecast of a tournament. Here are explanations of some of the […]


Think NCAA brackets. A draw is the set of brackets that shows who plays whom in a tournament. This might be used as in, “She got a tough draw at the French Open,” meaning the player is set to play some difficult matches. Conversely, if a player gets agood draw or favorable draw, it means […]

Back Draw

You won’t see this in a professional tournament, but they are used often in high school, college, and USTA events. The back draw is another bracket, and it’s where players are placed when they suffer their first loss in a tournament. It’s a method to guarantee players get to play at least two matches in […]

Open Era

The Open Era in tennis began in 1968. Prior to this, only amateur players were allowed to play in many of the top tournaments, including the Grand Slam events. The exclusion of professionals meant that tournaments often did not feature the best players of the era. Rod Laver in 1969 , Margaret Court in 1970 […]


If you see a Q next to a player’s name in a professional tournament draw, it means he is a qualifier. The player did not have a high enough ranking to gain automatic entry to a tournament and had to play in a qualifying tournament to earn a spot in the tournament proper. Fans saw […]

Lucky Loser

This term is applied to a player who loses in the final round of a qualifying tournament but still gains access to the main draw. This happens when a player already in the main draw has to withdraw for some reason.

Wild Card

This is an exemption into a tournament for which the player did not otherwise qualify. Tournament sponsors and organizers are allowed a certain number of wild cards per tournament. These are usually given to up-and-coming local players and stars who will likely draw fans to the tournament. Venus Williams accepted a wild card spot to […]


This is the polite term tennis uses when a player quits in the middle of a match. If you see a tennis result that reads, for example, Petkovic d. Stosur, 6-3, 1-0, ret., it means that Stosur retired, or quit, during the match when Petkovic was leading 1-0 in the second set. The most common […]


If a player wins a match in a tournament but then cannot play the next match (again, normally due to injury), his would-be opponent wins the match in a walkover. We saw this recently when Rafael Nadal won his quarterfinal match at the Sony Ericsson Open but then could not play the next match. He […]


To break serve is to win when your opponent is serving. This is a big deal in professional tennis, when players often dominate when they are serving and matches can turn on a single break. The term up a break means that the player has broken one more time than her opponent during the set. […]