What is an opportunity point in tennis?

Tennis scoring works in the format of points, games and sets. A tennis match can either be a best-of-three-sets match or a best-of-five-sets match. In order to win a set, players need to win six games with a difference of two. At a score of six games apiece, a tiebreak decides the set. In order to win a game in tennis, players need to win four points that are scored 15, 30, 40 and game point. If the game score reaches 40-40 (deuce), then the player who wins two consecutive points wins the game.

Players alternate their serves after every game. A player who serves is favoured as the serve dictates play. When the returner wins a game, he or she is said to “break” his or her opponent’s serve. The player who breaks the opponent’s serve edges ahead in the set and can clinch the six games if they manage to hold on to their own serve without being broken back.

Why do tennis players bounce the ball before they serve

Just like most other racquet games, the score of the server is said first in tennis. When the game score is 15-30, the next point for the returner is called an opportunity point. This is because if the returner wins the next point, then he or she creates an opportunity to break the returner’s serve in the subsequent point. If the score is 0-30, then it is called a Major Opportunity Point. 

Even though opportunity points are not routinely emphasised by the commentators, most dictionaries and terminological collections pertaining to tennis mention the importance of opportunity point.

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