In non-officiated matches, losing track of the score can be frustrating; the players must backtrack and reconstruct the game in question until they find an agreed-upon starting point.
Unethical players have been known to deliberately stifle an opponent’s match-winning momentum by purposely delaying play to question and argue the score at "opportune" times. It’s an old trick.
New players often lose track of the score because they have a lot on their minds. Experienced competitors lose track when they’ve lost their concentration. There’s no cheating here.
If anybody should know the correct score, it’s the server, who should call it out before each point is started. This of course wards off potential disagreements.
You have every right to ask the server what the score is. Keep in mind that every time you do, it’s proof that your mind is not on the game. However, don’t be embarrassed to ask.
Gary Sherby is tennis director at Racquets and Togs Tennis Center, 115 Bradford St., just off the downtown square. His tennis tips appear Sundays.