What Does Retired Mean In Tennis? (Check Out The Following Tennis Terms And Slang If You’re A Die-Hard Fan!)

Last Updated on October 29, 2023 by Alex PT

In tennis, retired means that a player withdraws from a match during play due to injury or other reasons. When a player retires from a match, their opponent is automatically awarded the match. For example, if a player retires down 2-1 in sets, their opponent would win the match 3-1.

What Does Retired Mean In Tennis?

In tennis, when a player “retires,” it means they end a match before it’s completed. This can happen for various reasons, most commonly due to injury or health issues. When a player retires, their opponent is declared the winner of the match. The score at the time of retirement is recorded as “Ret.”

It’s essential to understand the rules and implications of retiring in tennis:

  1. Injury: The most frequent reason for retiring in tennis is injury. If a player sustains an injury during a match and cannot continue, they may retire. Common injuries include muscle strains, cramps, or more severe issues.
  2. Illness: Sometimes, a player may feel unwell or suffer from illness during a match, leading to their retirement. In such cases, the opponent is awarded the win.
  3. Walkover: Occasionally, a player may withdraw from a match before it even begins, known as a “walkover.” This could be due to injury, illness, or personal reasons. The opponent advances to the next round without playing.
  4. Retirement Consequences: Retiring in a match has several consequences. The retiring player loses the match, and the opponent progresses. In tournaments, the retiring player may forfeit their prize money, and ranking points, and could face fines.
  5. Match Statistics: Any sets and games won before retirement are counted and recorded in the match statistics. For example, if a player retires while trailing 2-1 in sets, the score is recorded as 2-1 “Ret.”

Reasons for Retirement in a Tennis Match

1. Injury:

This is one of the most common reasons that lead tennis players to retire from a match. Injuries can occur suddenly during the game causing immediate withdrawal, or they can also be pre-existing which get aggravated during the match.

2. Illness:

Illness often forces players to retire from matches. This could range from a common cold, the flu, and gastric issues to more serious health concerns. A sudden onset of illness during a match sidelines the player, making it impossible for them to continue the game.

3. Physical Exertion:

Tennis matches can be extremely grueling, with some matches extending into several hours. The physical exertion can lead to exhaustion, dehydration, and heatstroke – especially during matches played in extremely high temperatures.

4. Mental Stress:

The mental aspect of tennis should not be underestimated. Pressure and anxiety can take a toll on a player’s mindset, leading them to retire from a match. This could be due to personal reasons or the high level of competition.

5. Unfavorable Weather Conditions:

Rain, extreme sunlight, or high humidity are weather conditions that can affect a player’s performance and health, thus leading to retirement.

6. Code Violations:

If a player continually violates certain rules set by the organizing committee, it could lead to their disqualification or retirement. This could encompass violations on many fronts, including behaviour and sportsmanship.

Tennis Terms And Slang

Do you understand tennis terms? If you do, do you speak to them? Tennis has its slang and terms that might sound strange to the beginner like every other sport. If you are a beginner, or you want to speak tennis better, you should go through our list of popular tennis terms and slang to help you get familiar with the classic sports. 

Popular Terms Of TennisPopular Slang Of Tennis
Ad CourtBagel 
ActionBuggy Whip
Grand SlamHail Mary
Golden SlamDaisy Cutter
Net JudgeCarve 

Ad Court: it is usually each player’s left to the side of the court.

Ace: a serve that goes untouched and successfully lands in bounds on the opponent’s side of the court.
Action: this is the synonym of spin.
Advantage In Or Ad In: a point more than deuce in a tie game, setting him/her one point from winning and giving the player that scores it the advantage.
Advantage Out Or Ad Out: denotes receiver advantage.
All: a slang normally used for a tied score, for example, 15-all.
All-Court Player: one who can serve or return serves from practically anywhere on the court.
Alley: the singles and doubles sidelines has space in between on the court, called Alley.
Approach Shot: any shot played from the baseline in other to transition to the net, usually hit around mid-court, is called Approach Shot.
At Net: Some players have a position close to the net, it is called At Net. 

ATP:  the governing body of men’s tennis is known as the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). 

Backcourt: the service line to the baseline of the area of the court
Backhand: a stroke played facing in the direction of the stroke with the back of the hand, with the arm crossing the body.
Backhand Smash: when smash played over the backhand side, it is called Backhand Smash.
Backspin: a shot in which the ball is hit to deep slicing motion causing a reverse spin with a more open-faced racket.
Backstop: anything that prevents a ball from going too far beyond or outside the court like wall, fence, and the likes.
Backswing: the motion of a swing forward and strike the ball, swing that moves the racket into position.
Bagel: tennis slang for a 0-6 loss or a 6-0 win.
Ball Girl or Ball Boy: a female or male who is assigned to chase the ball anywhere on the court and give back to the server during a match.  

Ball Toss: just before you make a serve, a ball toss occurs.
Big Serve: it is a strong serve that gives an advantage to the point for the server in a tennis game.
Block: rather than taking a backswing to return, block involves the act of using the racket to block a hard-hit ball. It is a typical service return.
Bounce: it happens when the ball moves up after hitting the grounds. Moreover, it is a slang, which means letting their partner know to not hit the ball used by recreational doubles players.
Breadstick: it is a tennis term for the shape of the one in a 6-1 loss or wins.
The BreakPoint or Break:  when a player is not the server, but still wins the game, hence the breaking of the serve.
Break Back: after a service break, a successful receiver play is termed Break Back.
Breaker: popular slang for a tiebreak.
BreakPoint: it is usually the only point away from the verge of the tennis match.
Buggy Whip: the act of hitting the ball with a short whip-like motion without following through.
Bumper guard: A plastic piece that safeguards the outside of the racket head upper-half. 

Bunt: hitting the ball back with a short swing using the power of the opponents shot
Bye: occurs when top players, without playing a match, qualify to advance. 

Call: during a match, an umpire’s decision to rule on a play is termed “call”.
Cannonball: usually on a flat trajectory, lingo for a hard serve.
Career Golden Slam:  a player is said to have achieved a career Golden Slam when he/she has won an Olympic gold medal, in addition to having won all four major titles in his/her career. In singles, just only four players have ever achieved: Steffi Graf (1988), Rafael Nadal (2010), Andre Agassi (1996), and Serena Williams (2012). Although the feat has been more common in doubles, the term is rarely used in that discipline. It has been achieved individually by three able-bodied players and nine wheelchair tennis players. These three able-bodied players include; (Pam Shriver, Gigi Fernández, Daniel Nestor), and by three teams (The Williams sisters, the Woodies, and the Bryan brothers). During 1928–1984, tennis was not played at the Olympics.

Career Grand Slam or Career Slam): this happens when a player has won all four Major championships throughout his/her career, but not within the exact calendar year.

Carpet: the surface of a tennis court made out of either polymer or textile materials procured in rolls. In 2009, the surface was dropped from major pro competitions, previously common for indoor professional events. 

Carry: as opposed to hitting the ball, it is an illegal activity where the ball is carried or probably held.
Carve: with a spin on it, groundstroke hit.
Center Court: the tennis court venue with a premium seating location.
Centerline Judge: a game official whose job is to call and monitor the center service line.  Center Mark: it is a common term in tennis for baseline midpoint that is 2 X 14 inches.
Center Service Line: sets marks on the border for both service courts.

Dampener: a portable rubber appliance whose main function is to absorb some of the vibration caused by hitting the ball, and it’s usually affixed to the strings of the racket.
Daisy Cutter: a popular term for a low shot resulting in a low bounce with backspin
Davis Cup: this is an annual men’s tennis competition with matches holding up at various categories during the year, in which teams from partaking nations compete in a one-time elimination format. 

Drag Volley: any volley hits by a player with backspin.
Draw: term for the schedule of a tournament and also for the system of player nomination.
Drop Shot: this is mostly used when the opponent is around the baseline, a ball with backspin hits softly, and lands close to the opponent’s side around the net. 

Drop Volley: a ball hit before it bounces on one’s side, and that lands close to the net on the opponent’s side.

Elbow: Corner of the doubles alley and baseline.
Error: a failed shot that makes the player loses a point.
Exhibitions: They are general tournaments (although not ranking points on the WTA or ATP tours) played to raise funds or money, or even for entertaining the crowd.

Fault: a service is done and it lands out of bounds.
Federation Cup): International, this is an annual women’s tennis competition with matches holding up at various categories during the year, in which teams from partaking nations compete in a one-time elimination format. 

Fifteen or Five: going to a side or player, count for the first point of a game.
First Flight: just before it bounces, it is the movement of the tennis ball when hit by the racket.

Gallery: the spectators in the stands are termed “Gallery” in tennis.
Game: tennis match where the winning side or player must lead their opponent by 2 points and accumulate 4 points.
Game Point: serve with the scoring of one point that can determine the result of the match.
Game-Set-Match: when a match has ended and a statement is given that a winner has been decided.
GOAT: this is a short abbreviation for “Greatest Of All Time” in the game of tennis.
Golden Set: without losing a single point, the win of a set. 

Golden Slam: winning the tennis Olympic gold medal and the Grand Slam in a calendar year. Only Steffi Graf in 1988 has achieved the golden slam in the history of tennis.
Grand Slam: the Grand Slam in tennis is made up of premium championships of one of the four tournaments: French Open, Australian Open, Wimbledon, and U.S. Open.

Grass Court: a type of tennis court, most notably at Wimbledon, with a natural grass turf surface.

Hacker: when a player makes a series of swings or shots that appear to be luck more than his skills or experience.
Hail Mary: it is mainly for defensive purposes, an extremely high lob. 

In: when a game of valid tennis shot lands right in the opponent’s court, it’s called “In” in tennis.
Inside-in: when a player, to hit a forehand down the line runs around the backhand side. For inside in backhand, go vice versa! 

Inside-out: hitting a crosscourt forehand after running around the backhand side. For inside out backhand, go vice versa! 

Jam: to force a weak return of a shot, most players hit the ball near the opponent’s body, it is called “Jam” in tennis. 

Jump Smash: a term used when a player jumps into the air to make a vigorous it.  

Lawn Tennis: Tennis games are generally played on grass, it is a name for the original tennis game location.
Let: it is a popular term used in tennis when the ball touches the net when a service is made. Note that the ball must still land in its bound after hitting the net before it can be reserved by the server.  

Net Cord: the net has cable support termed “Net Cord”
Net Judge: a game official in tennis who helps to call and monitor lets on service.

On Serve: when both teams or players have the same amount of breaks in a set. While on serve, without a break of serve, neither player nor team can win the set.

Open Tournament: a kind of tennis competition where both professional and amateurs tennis players are welcome.

Closing Thoughts 

We’ve reached the closing chapter of this article we hope you enjoyed every bit of the content of this article. Most importantly, we hope you are now familiar with the term “retired” in the game of tennis, and hopefully some other terms and slang.



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