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Tennis is a great way of keeping fit and having fun with friends. It helps develop your hand-eye coordination, is non-contact and can be played by anyone, of any age! With many people playing into their older years, it’s a sport for life and provides you with a great opportunity to meet new people and make friends.
Tennis originally was known as lawn tennis, and formally still is in Britain, because it was played on grass courts by Victorian gentlemen and ladies. It is now played on a variety of surfaces. The origins of the game can be traced to a 12th–13th-century French handball game called jeu de paume (“game of the palm”), from which was derived a complex indoor racket-and-ball game: real tennis. This ancient game is still played to a limited degree and is usually called real tennis in Britain, court tennis in the United States, and royal tennis in Australia.
There has been much dispute over the invention of modern tennis, but the officially recognized centennial of the game in 1973 commemorated its introduction by Major Walter Clopton Wingfield in 1873. He published the first book of rules that year and took out a patent on his game in 1874, although historians have concluded that similar games were played earlier and that the first tennis club was established by the Englishman Harry Gem and several associates in Leamington in 1872. Wingfield’s court was of the hourglass shape and may have developed from badminton. The hourglass shape, stipulated by Wingfield in his booklet “Sphairistiké, or Lawn Tennis,” may have been adopted for patent reasons since it distinguished the court from ordinary rectangular courts. At the time, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) was the governing body of real tennis, whose rules it had recently revised. After J.M. Heathcote, a distinguished real tennis player, developed a better tennis ball of rubber covered with white flannel, the MCC in 1875 established a new, standardized set of rules for tennis.
The object of the Game
The game of tennis played on a rectangular court with a net running across the centre. The aim is to hit the ball over the net landing the ball within the margins of the court and in a way that results in your opponent being unable to return the ball. You win a point every time your opponent is unable to return the ball within the court.
Players & Equipment
A tennis match can be played by either one player on each side – a singles match – or two players on each side – a doubles match. The rectangular-shaped court has a baseline (at the back), service areas (two spaces just over the net in which a successful serve must land in) and two tram lines down either side. A singles match will mean you use the inner side tram line and a doubles match will mean you use the outer tram line.
A court can be played on four main surfaces including grass, clay, hard surface and carpet. Each tournament will choose one surface type and stick without throughout. All that is required in terms of equipment is a stringed racket each and a tennis ball.
You need to score four points to win a game of tennis. The points are known as 15 (1 point), 30 (two points), 40 (three points) and the fourth would result in the winning point and the end of that game. If the scores went to 40-40 this would be known as deuce. When a game reaches deuce the player must then win by two clear points.
Winning the Game
To win the game you must win a certain amount of sets (best of three for women’s matches and best of 5 sets for men’s matches). Winning a set is simply the first player to reach 6 games but have to be clear by at least 2 games. If your opponent wins 5 games you must win the set 7-5. If the set goes to 6-6 then a tie break is played and it’s simply the first player to 7 points.
In tennis, there are several categories of tournaments, being separated by a number of points for the ATP ranking of tennis players worldwide.
The main tennis tournaments are called “Grand Slam” and consists of 4 tournaments (Rolland Garros, Wimbledon, US Open, Australian Open), and the goal of all tennis players to win these tournaments, being the peak as a tennis player, If every year.
Curiosity: The tennis player Roger Federer is currently the tennis player with more Grand Slam tournaments conquered, relying on 17 titles.
There are other categories, such as the 1000 Masters, or the 500 and 250 Masters, these names being due to the number of points awarded to the tournament winner in the ranking.