Most of the free cable television sports channels highlighted football versus tennis today, the official start of the NFL football season.
A new-to-tennis friend recently asked me the question, “why is zero called ‘love’ in tennis?” Do you know the answer to that question?
According to Wikipedia’s “tennis score” definition, the origin of the use of “love” for zero in tennis is disputed. Wikipedia offers four possible explanations:
- “It is possible that the use derives from the French expression for ‘the egg’ (l’oeuf), because an egg looks like the number zero.”
- “‘Love’ is also said to derive from l’heure ,‘the hour,’ in French”
- “A third possibility comes from the Dutch expression, ‘iets voor lof doen’ which means to do something for praise, implying no monetary stakes;” or
- “The use of ‘Love’ comes from the acceptance that, at the start of any match, when scores are at zero, players still have ‘Love for each other.’ ”
What do you think of the four suggested explanations above? One Yahoo user has offered an alternative, fifth theory, suggesting that the use of “love” for zero in tennis is tied to the 17th-century expression, “play for love,” which meant, “to play without any wage, for nothing.”
This fifth theory certainly seems to be the most romantic of all of the suggested explanations with its love-means-more-than-money, “Money Can’t Buy Me Love” sort of air. Would you agree?
When was the last time that you put your heart and soul into an effort without expecting a monetary gain? And, was love the motivational source behind your effort? Also, what wages have you reaped from the love that you’ve shown while living your life so far?
If you’re a tennis fan, you can show your love for your favorite players in a no-cost way – follow them on Twitter. Which players? Check out Bleacher Report’s recent article, “Tennis on Twitter: 25 Players You Have to Follow.”