Coming a long way from 12th century France where players hit a ball with the palm of the hand, and Louis X of 14th century France, who was the first person by name to play tennis and who was the first to construct indoor tennis courts, tennis has evolved into an international giant in sports. It wasn’t until the 16th century that racquets were used and the game became known as “tennis” after the French word, “tenez”, an interjection from the server to his opponent during service for, “hold”, “receive”, or “take”. The game was known as “real tennis”.
Tennis started from a game that had the ball being bounced off of a wall to more of an outdoor sport with no walls and re-defined rules. The game developed into the modern form during 19th century England. The sport then became known as “lawn tennis”, as it was played on special lawn turf in fancy surroundings. It was an aristocratic game, as many sports originated as. Rules have not changed much since the 1890’s, including the court size.
It is an Olympic sport for both men and women. International competition in the form of the Davis Cup occurs yearly. During the 1920’s the first professional league of tennis was created between the French and Americans. Due to the stigma and controversy surrounding under-the-table earnings by amateurs, the “open” era was started in 1968 to eliminate the stigma and other issues—any player could compete in all sanctioned events. It is now a sport for all ages and classes.
Equipment has undergone significant changes, particularly with the racquet. The materials and engineering technologies have created incredible racquets for all types of players. Even though we have seen some dressing attire changes as with any period styles, these have not altered the game as the racquet and the caliber of athlete now playing tennis. Players are bigger, faster, and more powerful, although an occasional small person of incredible talent makes their mark.
Tennis comprises a principal part of sport revenues around the world, and continues to be a sport of choice for all abilities. It provides incredible exercise for the body and mind. Without a doubt, poise and patience, as well as offensive energy and skill are integral parts of this outstanding sport. The grace and control necessary for success in tennis is incredible, however, one’s satisfaction with the game is an individual choice. Truly some of the most remembered and talked about feats in sports comes from tennis competition. This sport also has the potential for artistic action and display.
The one-on-one action is a challenge for all to be had. It’s just you and one opponent competing in an intense athletic drama. Enjoy.