How to score tennis in Spanish, German and French

The clay court season is well under way, and tennis professionals are playing on courts accross Europe — all culminating in the French Open at Roland Garros, May 26 – June 9, 2013. The men just left Monte Carlo and are in Spain now, and the women are playing in Germany. So watching the Tennis Channel offers an opportunity to learn how to score tennis in Spanish, German and French.

¿Juega usted al tenis?

In Spanish, you start off the match with a saque (serve). Interestingly, the word for “lob” is globo, which also means “balloon.” You can find more Spanish tennis terms here if you’re interested. Here’s how to score a game en español:

  • 15 – Love: quince – cero
  • 15 -15: quince iguales
  • 30 – 15: treinta – quince
  • 40 – 15: cuarenta – quince
  • 40 – 30: cuarenta – treinta
  • deuce: cuarenta iguales (or just “iguales“)
  • advantage: ventaja
  • to win/to lose: ganar/perder


How to score tennis_spanish

Sign at Puerto Vallarta hotel


Spielen Sie Tennis?

In Germany, the tennis court is called a Spielplatz, or “play place.” German’s use of compound words makes their tennis vocabulary lots of fun — look here for more examples. If you can return your opponent’s Raketenaufschlag (“rocket serve”), here’s how to keep score:

  • 15 – Love: nfzehn – null
  • 15 -15: fünfzehn – beide
  • 30 – 15: dreißig – fünfzehn
  • 40 – 15: vierzig – fünfzehn
  • 40 – 30: vierzig – dreißig
  • deuce: Gleichstand (or Einstand)
  • advantage: Vorteil (or Advantage)
  • to win/to lose: gewinnen/verlieren


How to score tennis_spanish_racquet

Tennisschläger – literally, “tennis striker/smasher”

Jouez-vous au tennis?

A clay court, such you’ll find at Roland Garros, is called un court de terre battue.  Somehow the entire sport sounds more beautiful in French — see this link for more examples. Prepare for the French Open by learning how to score en français:

  • 15 – Love: quinze – zéro
  • 15 -15: quinze à (or quinze partout)
  • 30 – 15: trente – quinze
  • 40 – 15: quarante – quinze
  • 40 – 30: quarante – trente
  • deuce: égalité (the first deuce is often referred to as quarante à)
  • advantage: avantage
  • to win/to lose: gagner/perdre

So turn on the TV, watch some European matches, and listen to the umpires as they announce scores first in the native language, then in English. Think of it as a way to improve your foreign language skills while vegging out in front of a sport you enjoy.

Then, when you head out to play your next match, announce the score in a different language — you’ll have fun, and your opponents won’t understand what you’re saying.

Juego, set et partido.

Spiel, Satz und Sieg.

Jeu, set et match.


How to score tennis_spanish_french

Courts at the Jardins des Tuileries, Paris


Do you know more fun facts about tennis in Spanish, German or French, or do you have a correction for something I’ve said here? Let me know in the comments!


 Image credits: Anne Rosales, explainthatstuff via flickr,
 Aaron Rosales

Forcing myself to unplug in Yosemite

Despite magnificent weather, gorgeous scenery and the company of three of my four favorite people (our daughter wasn’t there), I still struggled over “unplugging” from the Internet in order to enjoy our family’s trip to Yosemite last weekend.

I knew from past trips that cellular coverage was spotty at best, and wifi would likely be available only in our motel’s common areas.  No problem – I had worked furiously on Internet-related projects before leaving town, so I figured things would be fine.

But I didn’t consider how pulling out my iPhone to check messages, get a weather report, or do a quick Google search has become a habit – something I do to fill a spare moment without even realizing it.  I knew from observing the 2011 National Day of Unplugging that I might have some “issues” – but this weekend brought me face to face with them, again.

When the front desk receptionist informed me that Yosemite Lodge now provides free wifi in the rooms, I thought, “How great — our national parks are joining the digital age.”  Then she added, “It’s been kind of touch and go lately.  What can I say?  I.T. is working on it.”

Sure enough, we got to our rooms and found that, while our sons were able to get random, weak wifi, my husband and I found ourselves sitting side by side, staring at blank browser screens and watching our “loading” wheels spin.  Also, our TV was tiny — you needed birding binoculars to check the Giants’ score unless you sat right next to it.  Which was kind of a problem, since there was only one chair in the room, and it was more of a desk chair, not a TV chair.  But what was I expecting, the Four Seasons?  That wasn’t the point, I reminded myself — we were here to enjoy Yosemite’s grandeur.


Mirror Lake 2012, by Micah Rosales


The next day was sunny and warm, not too hot.  Blue cloudless sky.  In other words, perfect.  We chose to hike up past Mirror Lake, a ideal route because, since a rock slide had closed off the trail higher up, few people bothered to go past the Mirror Lake destination. But at the same time as I was enjoying our journey, I knew the Prince of Smooth was playing Lord Valdemort in the French Open semi’s, and my iPhone wouldn’t even give me a score update, due to the lack of cellular data coverage.

[Read more…]

Women’s fashion at the French

As a group, the women look better than the men at the French Open. While there haven’t been any outfits that had me rushing for my laptop to order a copy for myself, I’ve seen a few things I think are quite flattering on the players, and also appropriate for the Paris clay.


I was sorry the Williams sisters got knocked out in the early rounds, as both their dresses were terrific. Serena’s, by Nike, mixed pistachio, crème de menthe and coconut ice cream colors for a delicious dress that hugged her curves, looked cool against the burnt clay, and also fit in nicely with the green walls of the court.


Venus, who designs her own tennis wear under the label “EleVen,” was wearing a dress that was actually tasteful — so different from a number of her designs in recent years. Maybe she’s finished making a statement with her tennis clothing and going back to speaking with her racquet?


Caroline Wozniacki is another fashion favorite who unfortunately lost in the third round. I loved the sheer yellow top with the red underneath. Her dresses are by Stella McCartney for Adidas, and she has the good looks to make the designs show their best.


Li Na looks great too. She favors a more “conservative” or at least “covered-up” style, meaning she wears outfits that might look good on some of us tennis-playing moms. I think the purple works well for her, as it connotes positive energy and doesn’t clash with the red/orange clay. Too bad she crumpled at the hands of Yaroslava Shvedova, as we won’t get to see more of Li Na during the French Open this year.

[Read more…]

French Open men’s fashion: wait for Wimbledon?

While a few guys sport sharp-looking outfits at the French Open, more of them are looking ho-hum, or at least leaving me wondering: what were the sponsors thinking?


Take Rafa, for instance. He’s a fabulous player, lots of fun to watch. Looks great in the bright colors Nike reserves for him. But why in the world didn’t they give him red for the Australian Open, and save bright blue, turquoise or even neon green for the French? His red clashes with the burnt orange clay — it’s visually disturbing to watch. As if Nadal’s relentless style  of play weren’t enough to make you feel tired — you think you should get up and tone down the colors on your TV.


Actually, I think Andy Murray’s new Adidas attire strikes the right tone — a cool grey shirt with orange trim that matches the clay.  The orange shorts might be a bit much, but compared to some of the other guys’ boring kits with their plain shorts and polo shirts, Murray is doing ok, fashion-wise.  And not too poorly tennis-wise, I might add.  Although the scruffy face doesn’t do much for him.


I guess I can’t leave out the World #1, a.k.a. Djokovic, but he’s not one of my favorites. While fashion bloggers seem relieved he moved on from his relationship with Sergio Tacchini, it remains to be seen what the new five-year sponsorship contract with Japan’s Uniqlo will produce in terms of a possibly more interesting look. Uniqlo, a leading retailer of sportswear basics in Japan, has started Nole out with a mundane ensemble: white or navy blue shorts, white or navy blue polo, a little contrast stripe, that’s about it.  No mention so far of whether they’ll be influencing him to get a better haircut; stay tuned.


There is, of course, one player who exhibits perfection in his French Open fashion as well as his groundstrokes and volleys.  That gentleman is Roger Federer.  Dressed all in black with a bit of yellow trim, he looks as graceful standing still as he does moving on the court.  While critics say the black color is a poor choice for hot weather, or claim it recalls something like this silly photo-shopped image, the fact remains that the black, on Roger, looks fantastic.  It also announces a new start, a break from the past when he wore white and gold, won his fifteenth grand slam trophy at Wimbledon, capping off seasons at #1 without serious challengers.  Today’s a new game, with a new color, and he’s not done yet.

Later this week I’ll look at the women’s fashions.  In the meantime, I’ve been collecting favorite pictures on my Pinterest “Tennis” board if you want to check them out.  And I’m always glad to receive your comments and links to more photos.