This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.
Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index
Learning English
News English
Business English
Watch and Listen
Grammar and Vocabulary
The Flatmates
Contact Us
RSS feed - click to find out how to use the Learning English RSS feed
What is RSS?
Related sites
English language teaching in Chinese
BBC Weather
BBC Sport

You are in: Learning English > Wimbledon
Learning English - Wimbledon
A tennis ball   IN THIS SECTION
  How well do you know tennis? What's "deuce" and what's "ground stroke"? Why is Wimbledon so important? Find out here.
Is Wimbledon surprising this year?

Very! I can't believe it!
It's fairly surprising.
It's rather predictable.
Oh, it's so boring!

I watch regularly:

US Open
Australian Open
French Open
None of them

blue arrow View previous votes
blue arrow View previous votes 2
A serve in tennis   You've got to be in it to win it. The games require Flash Player 6 to work.   A tennis court   The language you need to understand tennis
  The sixty second challenge
Will you top the table?
    Tennis explained
The rules, the shots, the faults
  Play Tardis Tennis
Can you beat Elvis?
    Tennis vocabulary
Download the script (pdf, 10k)
  Flash Player 6
Download to play the games
    Tennis 'Words in the News'
Wimbledon begins
*NEW* Tennis quiz - 6 questions
Tim Henman - British tennis player   Audio programmes for you to listen to - all on tennis   People watching tennis at Wimbledon   Other tennis related activies for you to try
  View tennis images
Foot faults, let, umpires etc.
    BBC Sport
Live Wimbledon coverage
  History of Wimbledon
Download the worksheet (pdf 190k)
    Wimbledon 2005
Wimbledon online
  History of Wimbledon
Download the audio (mp3 1Mb)
  Talk About English
Listen to the programme

Note: we cannot guarantee that we will be able to answer all questions sent in
This topic has now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Xabier, Spain
I always thought that when the ball hits the top of the net, the umpire shouts, net¡, now I realise what he says is "let". Is that correct?. Thank you very much for your help.

BBC Learning English says: When a player serves the ball and it hits the top of the net, but still goes over in to the service court, the umpire calls "Let". The server can then serve again. It comes from the Anglo-Saxon word "lettan" which means "to hinder" or "delay".

Alice, China
what is the difference between a game and a match?what is the difference between a game and a set? Thank you.

BBC Learning English says: A MATCH is divided up in to SETS and sets are divided up in to GAMES. In men's tennis a player normally has to get 3 sets to win a match. In women's tennis you have to get 2. To win a set you have to win 6 games - but you also have to get 2 more games than the other player. If the score gets to 6-6, the players have to play a "tiebreak". The first player to get to seven points or more by two clear points wins the tiebreak and the set. To win a game you need to win four points, but if the players win 3 points each, the score is 40-40 and one of the players has to win 2 extra points to win the game!

Xabier, Spain & Nirmal, Nepal
i would like to know why in Tennis the start countin 15-30-40 (why not 45?). thank you very much for your help

BBC Learning English says: No-one is quite sure why tennis is scored this way. It is likely that originally the score was 0-15-30-45, but the 45 became 40, because it sounded better! Love (when the score is 0) probably comes from the French "l'oeuf", which means egg. Deuce (when the score is 40-40) also come from the French "a deux du jeu", which means two points away from game.

Nikhil, Nepal
Why Women champion is not presented a trophy? Instead of that a Champion plate is presnted?

BBC Learning English says: The Ladies' Singles Trophy was first presented in 1886. It is a copy of a plate in the Louvre, in Paris. The Gentlemen's Singles Trophy was first presented a year later in 1887. Written on the cup is "The All England Lawn Tennis Club Single Handed Champion of the World."

Mike, USA
One of your countrymen said that Tim Henman "showed some bottle" in coming back from two set down. Where did that phrase come from and what does it mean?

BBC Learning English says: The phrase "to have/show some bottle" means "to have/show a lot of boldness or initiative". The 19th century slang phrase "no bottle", meaning "no good", is the probable origin of "bottle's" current sense of "courage" or "nerve".

Kim, Korea
What is "match game"?

BBC Learning English says: In tennis, the phrase "Game, set and match" is said at the end of a match when someone has won.

Nawal Thorat, India
what makes wimbledon so special?

BBC Learning English says: It is special because it is the only Grand Slam (US Open, French Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon) that is played on grass. It also has many special traditions like strawberries and cream. But why do other people think it is special? Let us know.