The Long History of Tennis

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Tennis has been a popular sport for many years. It was created many centuries ago, but has since developed greatly, and gained popularity worldwide. The origin of the sport dates back to the twelfth century. It is thought that the game was developed from a French handball game known as “Paume”. In this game, the ball was struck with your hand, later, as the game evolved, it was called “Jeu de Paume” and racquets began to be used. Along with the racquet, tennis balls also evolved from being made of wood, to being filled with cellulose creating a much bouncier ball.

“Jeu de Paume” was first created by European monks for entertainment during ceremonial occasions. The game took root and gained popularity in France, where it was adopted by the royal family. This medieval sport led directly to modern tennis, including its name, which came from the French word “tenez!”, which was spoken to your opponent before you served.

Some early accounts of the game claim that by the thirteenth century there were as many as 1,800 indoor courts, deeming the game so popular that the Pope and King Louis IV attempted to ban the game, but were unsuccessful. Sometime during the sixteenth century, tennis had become quite popular in England and was played exclusively on indoor courts. However, this arose a problem where teams were purposely hitting the wall in order to have the ball return to their side. Because of this, tennis was brought outside and played on outside courts. This new way of tennis became extremely popular with royalty, especially King Henry VIII of England. In 1877, the first Wimbledon tournament was held in England. This was also the year the standardization for rules was initiated, however, the rules were not set for the sport until the formation of the United States National Lawn Tennis Association on May 21, 1881. This set of rules was used in the first US Open, then called “The U.S. National Men’s Championship”, in Newport, Rhode Island 1881. However, the first U.S. National Women’s Championship was not held until 1887. The French and Australians also enjoyed modern tennis, which led to the creation of the French Open in 1891, and the Australian Open in 1905. Since then, the four most prominent tennis tournaments have been the US Open, Wimbledon, French Open, and Australian Open.

The title “Greatest of All Time” is greatly fought for, and most agree that it should go to Roger Federer. Although, some other legendary players include Rod Laver, Rafael Nadal, Pete Sampras, and Björn Borg. Federer holds the Open Era record for grand slam singles won, with nineteen to his name and has spent a record 302 weeks at the top of the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) rankings. Federer first stepped into the tennis world as a teenager, winning his first grand slam at Wimbledon in 2003 at age twenty-two.

Tennis has been around for many centuries but has only gained popularity and developed into the sport we know it as today. It has many benefits to it and will continue to improve the lives of people all over the world for many years to come. This is one of the greatest sports created and is loved by all people of all ages.

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