There is a thin line between love and hate—oh, we forgot to tell you, we’re changing the scoring terms in tennis, so that what was previously called “15” is now called “hate.” It was too confusing to go from a word meaning the most powerful human emotion that exists to a series of numbers that don’t advance in a regular pattern. That first point of the game is all-important in setting the tone, since if you’re up hate-love or down love-hate, you should play the next point either more aggressively or more defensively. Brad Gilbert, in Winning Ugly, argues that the point at what used to be 30-15—now like-hate—is the most critical one, but I think it’s love-hate. You could also make the case that 40-30—or indifference-like—is. They’re basically all important, I guess, is another way of looking at it, so that there’s a thin line between love, hate, like, and indifference.
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