Tennis is a popular and demanding kind of sport. Over its long history, it has undergone many changes and modifications before acquiring its modern look. Still, it may be unclear why tennis live streams get so many views for those unfamiliar with the game’s rules or its origin.
It is worth going through the historical facts to get acquainted with the game’s most exciting moments.
Not So Boring History
The first mentions of a game similar to tennis are found in documents from ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt. Of course, there were no rackets then, so the ball was hit with a hand or a stick.
The first tennis balls were wooden with various fillings: wool, internal organs of animals, sawdust, grass, rags, etc. Due to this, the ball was weighty and caused many injuries to players during the game. Rackets and nets appeared on the playing field only in the 16th century.
Tennis players in it’s earlier incarnation had a challenging time. In addition to the fact that the surface was uneven, the men fought off the attacks of rivals running in heels and heavy aristocratic clothes and wigs. The first female tennis players had it even worse, playing the dresses with circlets that had bustles attached to their back below the waist to give ladies more appealing looks at that time. Only in the 1930s tennis players began to wear shorts that developed into a uniform used over the years.
There is always room for romance, and tennis is not an exception. The English word “love” is used to indicate a score of 0 points. The source is hidden behind the French word “l’oeuf” and is translated as “an egg,” symbolizing the sign “0”. The term “tennis” is also translated from French as “Here you are! Play!” and was first used in print in a book
published in 1400.
The first tournament was held in 1877 in Wimbledon, organized by the All England Club. Both participants and the audience had to pay quite a lot of money to attend the event. The most prestigious awards are wins in four competitions: The Australian Open, The French Open (also called Roland Garros), The US Open, and the Wimbledon tournament. In the 1930s, all of the above events were united under the general name Grand Slam tournaments.
Famous Tennis Players of History
It is unknown for sure who became the founder of lawn tennis (played on grass), but researches are inclined to Major Walter Clopton Wingfield. He was the first, in 1873, to publish the rules of the game of lawn tennis, and a year later, patented them. The tennis court was originally in the shape of an hourglass, narrowing to the middle. The court’s shape was changed to a rectangular one in 1877, and the net’s height and the distance from the feed line to the net were finally set in 1882.
The well-known clothing brand Lacoste was founded by a French tennis player, namely Jean René Lacoste. By the year 1926, he was already a ten-times Grand Slam champion. After finishing his sports career, he and André Gillier, the president of the largest French knitwear company, created Lacoste and started producing comfortable knitwear with the iconic crocodile logo on the chest.
Arthur Ashe was the first black tennis player to be selected for the US Davis Cup team and won three singles Grand Slam titles. Althea Gibson was the first African American to win Wimbledon in 1957.
There is a unique personality in the history of tennis – American Renée Richards (born Richard Raskind). She is the only one in the history of sports who was able to take part in official competitions first in the men’s category, and after sex-change surgery – in the women’s category.
The youngest female Olympic tennis champion is American Jennifer Capriati, who was just 16 years old when she won the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona in singles.
Rafael Nadal plays with his left hand, although in real life, he was born right-handed. His uncle taught him to hold the racket in the left hand when Nadal was 12 years old, arguing that left-handers have an additional advantage. He can pitch and hit right-handers (the majority of players) under a non-dominant hand and give the ball the usual spin.
According to the rules of Grand Slam tournaments (except The US open) at the time, if the match reaches the fifth game, it continues until one of the tennis players wins by a margin of at least two games without a tie-break. The longest match in tennis history was set at Wimbledon 2010 by John Isner and Nicolas Mahut, who finished it with a score of 70:68. The match lasted 11 hours and 5 minutes.
During its history, the game of tennis has experienced many transformations, confrontations of genders and ages. In the end, tennis is now open to all genders and age groups: children, youth, veterans, and people with disabilities. It is a game with a long history, and these are just a few interesting facts of many.
This quick dive-in into the game’s facts has shown how the game has evolved and transformed, offering spectacular moments and unforgettable memories. Tennis is a great game to watch live or even play on the court.