The ad court in tennis is the left side of the court as you’re facing the net. The word “ad” is short for “advantage,” which denotes who is leading a game that has gone beyond deuce. Several misperceptions exist about the ad court. Understanding the basics of a tennis match help you play on or against this side more effectively.
Ad Court Meaning
The ad court gets its name from the scoring term designating who is leading after players have played seven points. With traditional scoring, tennis players must win a game with a two-point margin of victory. When a game reaches three points all, or deuce, the player who wins the next point is at an advantage over the opponent because he can win the game with the next point; the opponent must win at least three more points to win the game.
If the score reaches deuce and the server wins that point, the server calls the score as “advantage in” or “ad in,” because the advantage is in his favor. If the server is trailing, he calls “ad out,” since the advantage is out of his favor. The right-hand side of the court is called the deuce court because that is where deuce points are played.
The ad court is often called the backhand court because right-handers receive more balls to their backhands on that side. Before starting a doubles match, teammates often ask each other whether they want to play backhand or forehand, referring to the ad and deuce courts in that manner.
Which Side You Should Play
The stronger player typically plays the ad side because a right-hander receives more backhands there, which is the more difficult shot for most recreational players. The ad court player also must return more points under game-point pressure, so mental toughness comes into play.
If one teammate is left-handed and one is right-handed, teams typically put the left-hander in the ad court to decrease the amount of backhands the player on that side receives. That also puts two forehands facing the middle of the court, where most balls come.
Exceptions to Ad Court Side
In games played using no-ad scoring, one game-deciding point occurs after the score reaches the first deuce. The receiver chooses the side he wishes to receive this sudden-death point. That point may be played on the ad court or the deuce court.