Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Word Of The Week


This is another tennis term. Many of the French words for different shots are recognizable to an anglophone. Le lob, for example, or le service, or la volée and la demi-volée are pretty easy to understand. The French use some English terms, too, like le passing shot, un ace, or un smash (prounounced "smatch"). By the way, that's Nathalie Dechy serving at the French Open in the photo on the left.

Un coup lifté is the term for a ball with topspin, and slicé means that the ball is spun in a way that makes it curve to the right or left as it moves through the air. We talked about l'amorti, the drop shot, last week.

The forehand is un coup droit, and the backhand is today's word : le revers.

You also have to watch out a little for the scoring in French. There is no love, just zéro. And deuce doesn't exist in France, just égalité, but not until after the first quarante à (40-all). Jeu, set, et match are pretty obvious, but a set is also frequently called une manche.

So there you have it. You're now prepared to watch tennis in France !


  1. Of course, revers is the backhand. Perfect!

    The lack of love, however, baffles me. Didn't tennis come out of France? Where would the "love" score have derived from, if not France? It's always been so quaint, but I figured it was a rock-hard tradition. I guess I'll have to do some snooping.

  2. Love in French means zéro. And zéro looks very much like an egg, l'oeuf. Somebody told me that from l'oeuf to love there was only the channel to cross! CHM


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