It has been suggested that the "tennis" sense of love is derived from French l'œuf (the vowel in this French word has no English equivalent, but approximations would be something like "LERFF" or "LUFF"); œuf means "egg."
Origin of the Term Love in Tennis. While the origin of the term “love” in tennis remains a bit of a mystery, there are two commonly shared ideas. The first, and less likely, would be that the term love is an adaptation of the French word l’oeuf, which translates to egg or the shape of a 0.
There are a number of theories relating to the origin of the word ‘love’ in tennis, but there are two which seem most commonplace. The first theory is that it the word ‘love’ compares to the French word l’oeuf, meaning ‘an egg’. This is due to the fact that the oval shape of the egg is somewhat comparable to the number zero, or a nought (0). However , this seems unlikely.
You obviously know the real meaning of Love which means a strong affection about the person or a thing. But in tennis, its meaning is different. The word “Tennis” itself has originated from the French word “Tenetz” meaning “Hold”. Even another tennis term “Deuce” has come from the French word “a Deux Le Jeu”.
4. Love Sometimes there is anything but love on a tennis court especially in the heat of a battle, so why did this word come into the game of tennis? According to etymologists, the word love is possibly derived from the French word l’oeuf which literally means egg.
This theory reflects the sport’s long history of etiquette and sportsmanship. Others theorize that love arose from the French word for “egg,” l’oeuf, because a zero on a scoreboard resembles an egg. This is a clever claim, but it remains unsubstantiated. Tennis might have ended up with a different name altogether.
The first, proposed by the Oxford English Dictionary, states that the term is rooted in the phrase “to play for love” (of the game), which speaks to the etiquette and sportsmanship of tennis. Another theory suggests that “love” is based on the French word for egg; “l’oeuf”, because a zero looks like an egg.
One often repeated option traces the etymology to the French l’oeuf, meaning egg, an object the same shape as the number 0. ... which controls amateur tennis, will fall out of love with love.” ...