Tennis Scoring: Deuce? Ad In? Ad Out?

Deuce in Tennis Scoring?

Deuce is a term you may hear quite frequently on a tennis court. If you are unsure what the word, deuce, means in the world of tennis, you have come to the right place.


The Definition of Deuce in Tennis

In it’s simplest definition, the term deuce in tennis refers to a tied score of 40 points each in a game. At deuce, either player/doubles team will need to score two unanswered points to win the game.

The Points System in Tennis

To understand what a deuce is, it is helpful to take a quick look at the points system in tennis. For more foundational information on tennis scoring, check out this post.

At its most basic level, scoring points is the aim of tennis. Players can score points in many ways. But no matter how they win a point, each carries the same weight.

Tennis points are numbered as follows:

  • Love – Tennis-specific term for zero
  • 15 – The first point
  • 30 – The second point
  • 40 – The third and potentially last point the player needs

Tennis Score Table

When both players reach a score of 40, the score would be 40 – 40, or 40 – All. At this point, the score would then be described as deuce.

What Happens at Deuce?

When the two players have reached a score of deuce, one player must then win two consecutive points for the game to conclude. At this point, advantage scoring is introduced.

If the player who is serving wins the next point after the two players reach deuce, then that player holds the advantage. The score would then be an advantage in or Ad In.

If the returner wins the point following deuce, the returner would then hold the advantage. The score would then be advantage out or Ad Out.

The game finally concludes when one of the two players scores a point while holding the advantage.

If the score returns to a tie after one player had the advantage, then the score returns to deuce. This carries on for as long as it takes for one player to win the game.

Final Words

While tennis scoring terminology is unique, it is not overly complicated especially after you get the hang of it.

The points system described above determines the winner of an individual game. A player must then win six games to win what is known as a set. A player must also win by two games to win the set. (Again, see scoring if unclear.)

One of the best ways to get the hang of the scoring system in tennis is to watch professional tennis on television.

After watching a professional tennis match, everything will click, and you will understand the scoring system very well!

For more tips and nuances of tennis, check out our Tennis Tips page where you can find any number of topics to read about!