Table of Contents
Tennis History- Tennis and Its Development Over the Years
In ancient Greece, tennis can be traced back to several thousand years before the present. Researchers of sport have stated that evidence of playing tennis in that era can be found.
There was a game in the Middle Ages called “Paume” (palm) that involved two players sharing a ball and striking it with their hands. The game is identical to a modern version of tennis. Initially, the ball was hit with bare hands and then leather gloves were started in this game. Gradually it was replaced with an adaptive handle for better hitting and serving of the ball and making the play more interesting. It was the start of Tennis Racquet.
The game of tennis had to face various changes and some quick modifications which include ball, racquets, players, playing places. In ancient days, the ball was of wood then it was replaced with a cellulose material to have a bouncing for both the players. The tennis game started to take popularity in the 14th century in entire Europe. It was first adopted by the French Royal family, In Britain, it has taken roots among the Elite and Victorians.
16th Century – History of Tennis
Since the 16th century, tennis (formerly known as Palm) has gained wide acceptance among King, Royalty, and People of Means. It was the French players who began the palm game by shouting “Tenez!” The game soon became known as “real tennis” or “royal”.
The first tennis court (playing place of tennis) was established by English King Henry VIII at Hampton Court Palace in 1530. Subsequently, the first racquet was invented in Italy in 1583.
19th Century- History of Tennis
The 19th century is full of different tournaments for Tennis; these tournaments were started and played all around Europe, Australia, and the USA. Some of these tournaments are:
- LAWN TENNIS
- FIRST US OPEN
- WOMEN/MEN SINGLES & DOUBLES
- FRENCH OPEN
Various grounds/courts were developed entire Europe and the USA. Players also got popularity and became famous of their time. Spectators also started to join the courts and places where tennis was played and enjoyed a lot.
Tennis History of 20th Century
1900 ▪ The first international team competition was DAVIS CUP which was in the name of Dwight F.Davis, -a Harvard university student. This cup was originally called the International Lawn Tennis Challenge Trophy, later known as the Davis Cup.
1905 ▪ The Australasian National Championships, later known as the Australian Open, are founded in Australia and New Zealand, with the venue alternating between the two countries each year.
1912 ▪ The International Lawn Tennis Federation (ILTF) was founded in order to operate and manage the four major tennis championships (Wimbledon Championships, U.S. Championships, Australasian Championships and French Championships).
1922 ▪ The Australasian Championships are open to women for the first time.
1928 ▪ The Stade Roland Garros hosts the French Championships for the first time in the history of tennis.
1930 ▪ One-piece Ashwood tennis racquets were replaced with laminated wood.
1938 ▪ The term of Grand Slam was introduced in the history of tennis.
1953 ▪ MAUREEN CONNELLY was the first woman who won all 4 Championships in the history of tennis and complete the “Grand Slam”.
1967 ▪ The first metal tennis racquet was introduced by Wilson Company. (A sports goods manufacturing company in the USA).
20th Century – Tennis History
The game of tennis considered as advanced and got momentum in the late 1960s. Millions of people started playing tennis in clubs and courts. With the start of television broadcasts expanded the popularity of the game.
1970 ▪ The concept of the tie-break was first initiated in Grand Slam tennis with the adoption of tournament tie-breaks in both the US Open and Wimbledon. The first person to reach five consecutive points wins the tiebreak.
The point system in tennis was introduced by Jack Kramer.
1972 ▪ The Association of Tennis Professionals was formed and Jack Kramer was elected as its first Executive Director in tennis history.
1976 ▪ GRAPHITE AND FIBERGLASS RACQUETS were introduced on the tennis scene in the tennis history first time.
1984 ▪ Some famous tennis players of the time were:
- John McEnroe
- Jimmy Connors
- Peter Fleming
- Boris Becker
- Stefan Edberg
- Steffi Graf
- Martina Navratilova
1994 ▪ Martina Navratilova (an American tennis star) took retirement from tennis after winning the record 167 singles titles, a record 1438 matches and 9 Wimbledon titles.
21st Century – Tennis History
21st Century brought fortune for various new tennis players among which Venus & Serena Wiliams – two sisters, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, Andre Agassi, and Novak Djokovic are top of the list.
In 2005 Association of Tennis Professionals introduced a different scoring system for doubles with sudden-death points at deuce (‘no advantage’) and the first-to-ten-points tiebreak in place of a final set.