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London 2012 Summer Olympics Tennis Terms

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The 2012 Games of the XXX Olympiad will be held from July 27-August 12 in London, England. Tennis is among the Olympic sports in which professional athletes are allowed to compete; consequently, the best players in the world will enjoy the spotlight in London.

The full list of entries will be announced on June 28th, but expect Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and many other well-known stars to battle for gold at Wimbledon in five events (men's and women's singles and doubles, as well as mixed doubles for the first time since tennis returned to the Olympics in 1988).

As the competition unfolds this summer, here are 10 terms to know, geared to help the casual fan understand Olympic tennis:

1. Point - The basic method of scoring in tennis. The format of scoring in each game: the first point equals 15, the second 30, third 40, and the point after that wins the game. If the score is tied at 40, see below for an explanation of deuce.

2. Deuce - This situation occurs when the score is tied at 40 all. In order to win the game, a player or team must win a point to reach advantage and then win another point immediately after gaining the advantage in order to win by two total points.

3. Advantage - This happens when a player or team wins one point after the match is tied at deuce. To win the game, the side with the advantage must win one more point. If the player or team that does not have the advantage wins the next point, then the score returns to deuce and the game continues until two consecutive points are won.

4. Match - A match is won by a player or team winning either the best of three or the best of five sets (the vast majority of matches at the Olympics will be two out of three sets, but the men's final will be three out of five).

5. Love - Simply means that the side with love has zero points in that game. For example, if a player leads 40-0, then the score may be said as "40-love."

6. Service Break - A game that is won by the player or team that is not serving at that time.

7. Ace - A serve that is delivered legally, and is not touched in any way by the receiving player. An ace results in a point for the server.

8. Lob/Smash - A lob is a high-arcing shot that is designed to go over the head of a player, usually one at the net. If a lob is not hit precisely enough, a smash (violent, overhand shot) may be the type of return that comes back at the player using the lob.

9. Approach Shot - A shot that is intended to be placed deep in the opponent's side of the court, generally with the purpose of allowing the player hitting this shot an opportunity to come to the net.

10. Passing Shot - This term describes a shot that goes past a player that has moved in close to the net or is on his or her way to the net.

The author always looks forward to the Olympics, and is especially interested to watch Olympic tennis as it makes a return to Wimbledon for the first time in over a hundred years just a few weeks after the Grand Slam tournament concludes.

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