What is a Break Point in Tennis?

Break point

Break point in Tennis is a situation where the returning player is one point away from winning the current game.

To win a game in tennis a player/team must win at least four points. A break point is the potential final point in the current game and it can occur in four different ways.

  1. The returning player has won 3 points in a row and leads the game by 0 – 40
  2. The returning player has won 3 points and lost one and leads the game by 15- 40
  3. The returning player has won 3 points and lost two and leads the game by 30-40
  4. The returning player leads by a 1-point margin in the deuce situation 40 – Ad

Note! The serving player’s score is always presented first on the scoreboard

Serving player = the player who puts the ball into play

Returning player = the player who returns to serve

In tennis, the serving and returning roles are switched after every game so for example one player servers for the whole duration of one game while the other player returns.

Why are Break Points Important in Tennis?

The reason that break points are very important in tennis is that the serving player usually has the advantage in every game. It is easier for the serving player because he/she can put the ball into play and this way control the pace of the game. For the returning player, it is harder to take control of the game after returning a fast and difficult serve.

According to statistics average servers win more than 70% of their service games. This is why winning a break point gives the player an important advantage in the match.

Break points also have a great psychological impact. When a player wins a break point he shows to his opponent that he can still win even though the opponent had the serving advantage. This can be seen as a demonstration of superiority which can weaken the opponent’s confidence.

On the ATP Tour, the top players win about 70% of their service games while on the WTA Tour, the percentage is about 60%. Due to a higher service game-winning percentage in men’s tennis, winning a break point is slightly more important than in women’s tennis.

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