This question asks why tennis is scored 15-30-40, and I'm very satisfied with the answer.

Points are given in tennis 15-30-40. Why 40?

Some players use 5-30-40 for scoring casual games. Where does the "5" come from? It seems silly to just save one syllable. Might as well call the points 1-2-3.

  • 9
    I've always used 15-30-40 when playing, never seen 5-30-40 (I've always found tennis' point inflation to be dubious in general)...
    – wax eagle
    Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 15:32
  • 6
    I have never seen or heard of using 5 rather than 15. Where is this used?
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 16:06
  • 1
    Northeastern United States, 5+ years ago. I'm not a competitive tennis player by any means, but I've heard people at the next court refer to their scores as "five-love", "thirty-love", "thirty-five", etc. Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 18:01
  • 1
    Also in the Midwest; I hear it a lot here in the Chicago area.
    – EmmyS
    Commented Feb 17, 2012 at 15:34

1 Answer 1


5 is just shorthand for 15. When they say 5 they mean 15 - they're not actually referring to the number 5.

If you watch any professional tennis though, you'll never hear "5" - they always use the official scores - 15, 30, 40, game.

In basketball terms, it would be like saying "J" for jumpshot, basically. It's just a slang term. Some players also like to just use the numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 in place of 15, 30, 40 and deuce. They'll say "4 all" instead of deuce or 3-2 instead of 40-30.

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