History of Tennis
Tennis is believed to have originated in France around the 12th century. The game was played with a ball but struck with the players hand rather than any form of equipment. Tennis was then call “the game of the palm” which was favored by Louis X of France who was a keen lover of the game. He was the first person to construct an indoor tennis court in Paris as he did not like the idea of playing outdoors. His design became so popular it spread across royalty and the nobility. In the 16th century, rackets were invented and become part of the game.
Thereafter the name then changed officially to tennis. The sport was very popular in England and France. Around1830 green courts were introduced to the game due to the invention of the lawn mower. This is the reason why green and brown is associated with tennis courts today as the green depicts the grass and brown the sand. In 1872, the game of tennis was formed. This was done by combining some of the elements of ‘the game of the palm’, rackets and the game called Basque ball game. At the same time, the first tennis club was formed.
Major Clopton Wingfield invented a game called ‘sticky’ in 1873 which was similar in design to Tennis. Box sets that included a net, poles, rackets and balls for playing the game were produced with rules and sent all over the world by Wingfield who really defined the game into what tennis is today.
The first Wimbledon championships were played in 1877, where the rules of Tennis were not standardized and this caused great concern amongst everyone. During this time, many different clubs have been formed and due to the lack of rule standardization, all the clubs played the game differently. In 1881 the now known United States Tennis Association then known as the United States National Lawn Tennis Association was formed. The purpose of the association was to standardize rules and organize competitions.
Tennis became a popular sport in Britain, France, Australia and the States. Players could only play in competitions if they were part of the Tennis clubs. The Major events held were Wimbledon, the US Open, the French Open, and the Australian Open and have remained the most prestigious Tennis event to today.
In 1924 the rules for Tennis were finally promulgated by the International Lawn Tennis Federation, today known as the International Tennis Federation. The rules have remained the same for the last eighty years with one major exception of the tiebreak system being added. Tennis was withdrawn from the Olympics in 1924 but did make a return 60 years later. Due to the success of the reintroduction of the sport, the IDC decided that Tennis would be a full medal sport officially in Seoul, Capital of South Korea, in 1988.
In 1926 the first Tennis Tour took place where players would play exhibition matches against opponents for paying audiences. 1968 the open era was started and all players could compete against one another for money. The top players were able to make a good living becoming a professional in the sport. The establishment of the professional and international tennis circuit, as well as the revenues from the sale of TV rights, came with the beginning of the open era which allowed the sport’s popularity to spread around the world.