The Interesting Heritage of Tennis


Tennis as we know it now, is outlined as the fourth most well known sport in the world with an estimated 1 BILLION fans pursuing the video game. With this kind of a significant fanbase, it is no shock that tennis may actually have historic origins. The actually attention-grabbing part of the background of tennis is the fact that it is shrouded in thriller and conjecture. 


The Ancient Historical past of Tennis

There’s evidence that cultures this sort of as the historical Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks could have even played video games that could be thought of forerunners to tennis. Having said that, the proof is weak, so most men and women trace the origins of tennis back to the middle ages. 

According to one theory, the roots of tennis day again as early as the 12th century. It is thought that French monks invented a precursor to tennis when they performed a courtyard video game, hitting a ball back again and forth with their hands or off the courtyard partitions. This video game was recognised as Jeu de Paume, or “Game of the Palm”. People who believe that this theory also believe that the name ‘tennis’ originated from these monks: when serving the ball, they would shout “tenez”, which suggests “to take” in French.


The Record of ‘Real’ Tennis

Even so, most of the evidence for the origin of the activity arrives from the 16th century. It was then that a wood body racket laced with sheep intestines (similar to modern-day purely natural-intestine tennis strings) was invented and applied with a ball built of cork or fabric. Other than advancements in rackets, there have been other differences among the medieval version and fashionable tennis.




The recreation was played otherwise than it is now, with the balls remaining hit into netted home windows in indoor courts. ‘Real tennis’, as it was recognized, was incredibly popular among the European nobility. King Henry VIII was an avid player of serious tennis. In truth, his 2nd spouse (of 6!), Anne Boleyn, was truly betting on a sport when she was arrested and taken to the Tower of London preceding her execution in 1536. In 1625, a royal courtroom was created for King Charles I at Hampton Courtroom Palace, and it still exists these days!


Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace


The Heritage of Lawn Tennis

All through the 1700s, the level of popularity of tennis waned, but was introduced back to daily life in 1850 when Charles Goodyear invented the course of action of vulcanization, which built rubber bouncier. This vulcanized rubber was made use of to boost tennis balls, and authorized the match to be played on grass, which paved the way for present day garden tennis.

Though the historic origins of tennis have very little evidence, the origins of modern day tennis are obviously documented. On February 23, 1874, Big Walter Wingfield was granted a patent for “A Transportable Court docket of Playing Tennis”. Info about the patented game was printed in publications, so individuals were capable to read through about recommendations for location up a courtroom and the six guidelines of perform.




The match spread like wildfire! Products to engage in was offered as a kit with a moveable internet for setting up a court, balls, “tennis bats”, and an instruction booklet. These kits were sold all more than the planet with tennis staying promoted as a way to work out. Individuals were equipped to use present croquet courts as tennis courts, so the portable package was the best way to promote the activity. 

Before long, individuals began to perform tennis in public parks and lawns, and it was even introduced at preferred croquet courts. A couple of other folks tried to publish their possess regulations of tennis, which, of class, led to confusion. Numerous interested functions agreed to meet up with to examine this issue. They came to an agreement on the official principles of tennis, and introduced the new record in May possibly of 1875. In 1877, a short three many years following the formal creation of tennis, a event was held at the All England Club. There were being 22 participants in the tournament, with Spencer Gore currently being the winner of – you guessed it – the 1st at any time Wimbledon.


Tennis in North The usa

Tennis arrived in North The us shortly after its European introduction in 1874. It to start with appeared throughout the east coastline in the summer of 1874 prior to spreading across the nation and up into Canada. The 1st U.S. tennis club, the New Orleans Lawn Tennis Club was launched in 1876. The U.S. National Garden Tennis Affiliation was formed in 1881. That same yr, the 1st regarded nationwide tournament was held in Newport, Rhode Island – the basis of the U.S. Open.


The Background of Women’s Tennis

Though women of all ages had been taking part in tennis because its creation, the to start with match to make it possible for ladies was the Irish Championships in Dublin in 1879 with a women’s singles and blended doubles event. Wimbledon very first allowed women’s singles matches in 1884 (the exact same yr that they included men’s doubles). The to start with U.S. Women’s Championship was held in Philadelphia in 1887.


The Origins of Experienced Tennis

The reputation of tennis unfold so quickly that it was additional to the Olympic online games in 1896 – just 20-two many years right after the invention of the modern day sport. Tennis only remained aspect of the online games right up until 1924 owing to disagreements involving the International Olympic Committee and the Worldwide Lawn Tennis Federation. Having said that, shortly immediately after, in 1926, the 1st expert tour took location when Suzanne Lenglen was compensated $50,000 to contend in opposition to reigning champion Mary K. Brown on a tour of The united states. Four male players were also portion of this tour which became incredibly preferred among the spectators and was a massive fiscal results. 


Suzanne Lenglen


The Open up Period of Tennis

In 1967, nationwide and intercontinental tennis organizations started discussing building “open” competitions among amateurs and expert gamers. This came to fruition the next yr when 12 open tournaments ended up established so, the open up period of tennis was born! The to start with open Wimbledon had a overall prize of £26,150 ($62,760) – a considerably cry from the £28.49 million (about $37 million) of the 2019 Wimbledon. 

With the open up period of tennis, the sport expanded, primary to the establishment of the men’s Affiliation of Tennis Specialists (ATP) and the Women’s Tennis Affiliation (WTA). The airing of tennis on tv, globally, more expanded the acceptance of the game, and led to a extra intense, athletic design of participant. Tennis officially returned to the Olympics at the 1988 Seoul games, marking the previous true improve to the activity in the modern day period.


Steffi Graff | 1988 Olympics


Despite the fact that it has undergone a lot of adjustments more than the yrs, the challenging heritage of tennis is what led to the sport that we know and appreciate nowadays. From Jeu de Paume in the 12th century, to ‘real’ tennis in the age of the Tudors, and the garden tennis of fashionable times, there is no question that tennis has turn into just one of the most well known sporting activities in the entire world!


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