Thursday, February 9, 2023
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Why is Zero called Love in Tennis?

A word on the history of love as a word for a strong feeling of affection: complicated. So please excuse our shying away from matters of the heart to engage in a different love affair—a courtly one. Tennis is one of the most popular sports in the world. It is majorly known for the many incredible moments it has created in the world of sports but also for its strange rules and terms. Some of the fans find the points system in tennis a bit confusing but not as much as the tradition of referring to zero as “love”. We are here to read about Why is Zero called “Love” in tennis.

The Origin

The origins of ‘love’ as a score lie in figure zero’s resemblance to an egg. In short, it’s common to refer to a nil or naught score as a duck or goose egg, and the French word for egg is l’oeuf – the pronunciation of which isn’t too far removed from the English ‘love’.

There is another theory. In Dutch and Flemish, the word ‘lof’ means honor, so in most sporting contexts, anyone struggling to score is still playing for the honor. The idea is that a person who fails to make any points doesn’t care because they are playing for the love of the game, rather than playing to win (which, really, every player is trying to do but when you can’t get it together at least show good sportsmanship and play for love) or playing for monetary stakes. In tennis, love is a word that represents a score of zero, and has been used as such since the late 1800s.

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