Sports 101

By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Baseball, football, and basketball all have them. So do hockey and soccer. But when men's tennis experimented with on-court coaches earlier this week, some players disliked the idea. Pete Sampras says he doesn't need an on-court coach and finds it "a little weird," and Jim Courier says he hopes this experiment doesn't stick. He might get his wish. It's only being experimented with five tournaments - Hong Kong; Los Angeles; Gstaad, Switzerland; Munich, Germany; and Atlanta. The Australians and French have boycotted the idea, and you won't see this at the Grand Slam events.

Q: What is a Grand Slam event, and how many are there?

A: It's one of the four major championships on the international circuit: the British (Wimbledon) and the French, Australian, and United States Opens.

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Q: Which tennis event is coming up next?

A: The French Open, May 25-June 7. After that, it's Wimbledon, June 22-July 5; then the US Open, Aug. 31-Sept. 6. The Australian Open was played Jan. 12-25.

Q: There always seems to be a "cup" or a tournament going on at some point during the year. Are there any breaks in tennis?

A: While other sports have seasons, tennis is played just about year round, except for December, when there is little activity.

Q: What kind of surface are tennis courts made out of?

A: There are many different kinds of surfaces including concrete, grass, clay, wood, and synthetic fibers. The major titles - Wimbledon, the US, and Australia - were traditionally played on grass, but the US switched to clay in 1975 and then to asphalt in 1978. The oldest and most famous competition, Wimbledon, is still played on a grass court. And the French Open is played on a clay court, which is less common these days.

Q: How is tennis scored?

A: A player must score at least four points to win a game. The first point made is 15; the second 30; the third 40; and the fourth is "game." If both sides score 3 points - that is, if the score is 40-40 or 40 all - it is a deuce, or tie, game. To win a deuce game, one side must score two consecutive points from deuce. For a victory, a player must win a set (at least six games with a 2-point margin or a tie-breaker.)

Q: What is a tiebreaker?

A: A system of deciding a set after scores are tied at 6-all.

Q: What does the term "love" mean?

A: Zero. Thus a score of 30-love is 30-0.

* Please e-mail your questions to parneyl@csps.com

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