The game of ‘Tennis’ is played between single players or a set of two players, each side on both the sides of a court. It is a racquet sport. Racquet is made by a string of chords in a metallic or wooden frame, using which you swing a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over or above the net into opponent’s court. The game is to play in such a way that the opponent will not be able to give a good return of the served ball. In fact the opponent not returning the ball will loose a point, while the other opponent will gain. Tennis is played both indoors and outdoors. It is played across various surfaces like hard court, clay court and grass court. Let us look into some of the interesting facts about tennis:
Fact 1: Northern France is the historical place of origin of tennis during 12th century. In this ancient game, ball was stuck with the palm of hand. Jeu de paume(“game of the palm”) was a favorite game of Louis X of France, which evolved as the real tennis game later. He was the first person to construct indoor tennis courts in modern style in Paris, by the end of 13th century. In a matter of time these indoor court designs spread all over the palaces in Europe.
Fact 2: The modern game of tennis originated in Birmingham, England and came to be known as ‘Lawn Tennis’. Harry Gem and his friend Augurio Perera started a game combining features of ‘racquets’ and basque ball game called ‘pelota’, during 1859 to 1865. They played the first game on Perera’s croquet lawn in Birmingham. They founded the world’s first tennis club in Leamington Spa.
Fact 3: British army officer Major Walter Clopton Wingfield patronized a game, which came to be known as ‘sticky’. In 1873, he played the game in his friend’s estate of Nantclwyd Hall, in Llanelidan, Wales, in order to amuse the guests. Mr Walter is aptly called as the father of modern tennis as he developed a boxed set of poles, racquets, balls and net. He marketed these boxes to different parts of the World and popularized tennis.
Fact 4: Usually grass court, clay court, or a hard court of concrete, asphalt, or acrylic; rectangular in nature, is employed to play tennis. The court is 36 ft (10.97 m) for doubles matches and 78 feet (23.77 m) long, and 27 feet (8.23 m) wide for singles matches. For players to reach overrun balls, an additional clear space around the court is required.
Fact 5: Tennis is a popular World wide spectator sport and is played by millions of recreational players. Among the various tournaments played today, the four Grand Slam tournaments are highly popular. The US Open and Australian Open played on hard courts, French Open played on red clay courts and Wimbledon played on Grass courts.
Fact 6: In tennis, love refers to a score of zero. French word “l’oeuf”, meaning “egg” was mispronounced as love by the English men in earlier days. Egg here symbolizes zero. Whereas the British version says that the phrase “neither for love, nor money,” was simply reduced to love. This meant that the player just played the game for the love of the sport, even though his score was zero.
Fact 7: In Grand Slam tournaments in Women’s Singles, Margaret Court has won 24 Grand Slam titles followed by Steffi Graf, who has won 22 Grand Slam titles. In Grand Slam tournaments for male, Roger Federer has won 17 Grand Slam titles, whereas Pete Sampras and Rafael Nadal have won 14 Grand Slam titles each.
Fact 8: Venus Williams holds the record for the fastest serve of 205 km/h in the women’s tennis.
Fact 9: The two sisters, Venus and Serena Williams became the first set of sisters to ever win Olympic gold medals in tennis.
Fact 10: The first Afro-American to win U.S open is Arthur Ashe.