[Ads-l] "unforced error"

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jul 2 07:41:02 EDT 2016


I doubt it was just "made up". I recall newspaper reports of tennis matches
listing first only aces and double faults, then, in the late 1980s, adding
service winners, winners and unforced errors. IIRC, service winner was a
serve returned long or into the net. Winners were counted as overhead slams
and lob shots -- basically, a set shot. And unforced error was a simple
volley (not a "winner") that was returned long or into the net or a set
shot that was mishit.

While the term had been in use much longer, the specific change in
quantitative reporting style might have been what prompted the recollection.

VS-)

On Sat, Jul 2, 2016, 1:58 AM Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: "unforced error"
>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> On Sat, Jul 2, 2016 at 12:14 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole <
> adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > The 2013 article in "The New York Times" suggested a provenance via
> > "introduction in tennis three decades ago", i.e., circa 1983.
> >
>
> The writer probably just made that up, based on when he personally first
> heard it, a la contributors to the UD.
>
>
> --
> -Wilson
> -----
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -Mark Twain
>
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