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The Origins of Tennis - History of Tennis

Amazingly, the historical development of tennis dates back several thousands of years. So, people who are involve in historical researches of this great sport claim to have found evidence of playing tennis in ancient Greece culture.

The History of tennis game was developed from a  12th century French handball game called "Paume" (palm). In this game the ball was struck with the hand. After some time "Paume" game produced handball "Jeu de Paume" (game of the palm) and there were used racquets. The game was first created by European monks for entertainment roles during ceremonial occasions. At first, the ball was hit with hands. Later, the leather glove came into existence. This leather glove was replaced with an adaptive handle for effective hitting and serving of the ball. That was a birth of tennis racquet.

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Development of tennis racquet , tennis balls also underwent  frequent modifications. First tennis ball was from wood. Later in the history of tennis ball was filled with cellulose material to gave way to a bouncier. Monks from all areas of Europe favored "Jeu de Paume" game during 14th century much to the chagrin of the mother Church. The game spread and evolved in Europe.

The game became very popular, especially in France, where was adopted by the royal family. In the year of 1316 French king Louis X dies after hard  "Jeu de Paume" game (other terms of  this stage of game are Royal Tennis in Great Britain, Royal Tennis in Australia, Court Tennis in the United States), but this death does null to damp the popularity of the recreation.

16th Century - History of Tennis

Between the 16th and 18th centuries the game of the palm was highly regarded by kings and nobleman. The French players would begin the palm game by shouting the word "Tenez" (Play!). The palm game soon came to be called "real tennis" or "royal".

1530s ▪ HISTORY OF TENNIS ▪ English king Henry VIII builds a tennis court at Hampton Court Palace (This court no longer exist but a similar court built there in 1625 and is in use until today).

1583 ▪ FIRST RACKET IN THE HISTORY OF TENNIS ▪ The first racquet was invented in Italy (history of tennis - web source).

19th Century History of Tennis

1870 ▪ WIMBLEDON HISTORY OF TENNIS ▪ In the Wimbledon district of London established All England Croquet Club. Tennis is still an indoor game played by royal and rich benefactors.

1873 ▪ LAWN TENNIS ▪ Major Walter Wingfield invented a version of Real Tennis that can be played outdoors on a lawn. The game called ‘Sphairistike’ (Greek for "playing ball" ) and first introduced it to Wales(UK). Played on hour-glass courts on Manor House lawns by rich English people. This is really where today's tennis developed. Wingfield deals Sphairistike in boxes that feature two net posts, a net, rackets, and India rubber balls, plus instructions about laying out the court and actually playing the game. Wingfield’s boxes kick start the modern form of tennis, though the one thing that doesn’t work is the name, and Wingfield soon realizes that his subtitle "lawn tennis" is much better than greek word "Sphairistike".

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1874 ▪ FIRST LAWN TENNIS TOURNAMENT IN THE USA ▪ Joseph and Clarence Clark (brothers), take one of Walter Wingfield’s boxes to America, leading to the first lawn tennis tournament in the USA later that year.

1875 ▪ ALL ENGLAND CROQUET CLUB & History of tennis ▪ Henry Cavendish Jones convinced the All England Croquet Club to replace a croquet court with a lawn tennis court. Marylebone Cricket Club followed suit. Marylebone Cricket Club made significant changes to the game. They added Deuce, Advantage, and 2 chances per serve. The hourglass-shaped court also changed to a rectangular court, identical to the measurements we use today.

1877 ▪ FIRST WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP & History of tennis ▪ The very first World Tennis Championship was held at Worple Road in Wimbledon,London (UK).The sponsors were the All England Croquet Club. Only 22 players entered the Mens Singles, which was the only event. Spectators paid a mere one shilling to watch the finals. The first winner of this mens event in the tennis history of Wimbledon was Spencer Gore.

1880 ▪ BIRTH OF OVERHEAD SMASH ▪The overhead smash was introduced into the game for the first time in the history of tennis by the Renshaw brothers in Wimbledon. They would dominate Wimbledon for a decade, winning all but 1880 and 1887 championships between them in the history of tennis.Overhead smash is a shot played above the head, hitting the ball downwards, hard and fast into your opponents side of the court.

1881 ▪ FIRST US OPEN - history of tennis ▪ America founded The United States National Lawn Tennis Association (USNLTA) , and in the same year it holds its first National Championship, the forerunner of the US Open but then restricted to American residents. It is held at Newport, Rhode Island. First winner in the history of tennis US National Championships was Dick Sears.

1884 ▪ FIRST M/W DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIPS ▪  The Wimbledon Championships are open to women for the first time. There are only 13 participants. Mens doubles was also introduced for the first time in the history of tennis.

1887 ▪ WOMEN U.S. CHAMPIONSHIPS & history of tennis ▪ U.S. Championships are open to women for the first time. Lottie Dod wins her first Wimbledon Ladies Singles (Lottie win her first singles match with only 15 years).

1888 ▪ LTA & history of tennis ▪ Lawn Tennis Association founded (LTA) in order to maintain the new rules and standards of tennis.

1891 ▪ FRENCH CHAMPIONSHIPS & history of tennis ▪ The very first French Championships are played, these Championships were open for French residents only.

1896 ▪ OLYMPIC GAMES ▪ Tennis became one of the core sports in the first modern Olympic Games.

1897 ▪ WOMEN ON FRENCH CHAMPIONSHIPS ▪ The French Championships are open to women for the first time in the french tennis history.

1899 ▪ ALL ENGLAND TENNIS & CROQUET CLUB ▪ The England Croquet Club changed it's name to the All England Tennis & Croquet Club.

Tennis History - Part II                    Tennis History - Part III

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