The French open 2018

Roland Garros is almost here!



On the 21st May, some of the best will take to the clay courts to compete for the French Grand Slam title. Now, when it comes to clay, we’re always going to think it will be Rafael Nadal, but this year, who knows! Could it be the comeback year for Novak, will Roger take the title to add to this years Aussie open, or will Andy be fit enough to try and win his first French open title?Serena Williams is back from having a baby, and will be looking to get her title back! She has shown that her time away from the sport hasn’t slowed her down as she’s been on fire since returning.

So, how many of the players would have been familiar with French tennis vocabulary?

All should by now be familiar with the scoring system as it is called out after every point. But what about other vocabulary, such as the type of shots they were playing, or even the type of court they were playing on?

I thought it would be good to include a list of some important vocabulary related to the sport as, who knows, maybe one of the games stars will read this and find it useful! Or, perhaps more likely, it could come in handy to those studying the language, or could maybe be interesting to those who enjoy a game of tennis, or maybe a mixture of the two.

So here goes:

  • le court de terre battue clay court
  • le court en dur hard court
  • le court en gazon grass court
  • le filet net
  • la ligne de fond baseline
  • la ligne de service service line
  • la balle de tennis tennis ball
  • le carré de service service box
  • le couloir alley, tramlines
  • la raquette tennis racket
  • un ace ace
  • un amorti drop shot
  • le coup droit forehand
  • la deuxième balle second serve
  • une double faute double fault
  • un effet spin
  • une faute fault, error, out
  • un let let
  • le lift topspin
  • un lob lob
  • le revers backhand
  • le revers à deux mains two-handed backhand
  • le service service, serve
  • le slice slice
  • un smash smash
  • la volée volley
  • la balle de break break point
  • la balle de jeu game point
  • la balle de match match point
  • la balle de set set point
  • un jeu décisif tie-breaker


and finally, a few verbs for you:

  • donner de l’effet (à une balle) to put spin (on a ball)
  • être au service to have the service, to be serving
  • frapper to hit
  • jouer to play
  • prendre le service de quelqu’un to break someone’s serve
  • servir to serve
  • tenir le score to keep the score


Roland Garros women’s final is on June 9th, with the men’s final on June 10th- more than enough time to learn some helpful phrases to understand the umpire!