The origination of tennis’s scoring system seems to have been lost to the ages.
It sounds reasonable that the 15/30/40 format might have been based on a clock face – though even that seems a bizarre way to track point scoring. Did they just happen to have a broken clock hanging next to the court?
And, the idea that the term “love” is derived from the French l’oeuf, the word for egg (an egg having a similar appearance to the number zero) also seems like a fairly reasonable explanation, or at least the best proposed – until now.
According to this story about journalists who cover the sport in The Guardian, at least some etymologists think the term “love” is derived from the phrase “for love,” meaning ‘without stakes, for nothing.’
I guess that makes as much sense as the egg thing.