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Basic Things You Should Know About Tennis

Tennis has a rich and fascinating history, with origins dating back centuries. Here are some intriguing facts about its development and evolution:

Medieval Beginnings in France Tennis can be traced back to 12th-century France, where it began as a handball game called “Pauma” or “palm.” Players would hit a ball back and forth using their hands. Over time, a leather glove was introduced, followed by the addition of a handle to the glove, creating the first rudimentary racket.

The Origin of the Name “Tennis” The term “tennis” is believed to have originated from an earlier version of the game played by monks in the 12th century. During their matches, they would shout “Tenez,” a French word meaning “take heed” or “receive,” while throwing and catching the ball.

Unique Scoring System Unlike most sports, tennis has a distinctive scoring system believed to have medieval French origins. Scores were displayed on a clock dial, advancing in quarters—15, 30, and 45. The first player to reach 60 was declared the winner, although “45” eventually became “40” for reasons still debated by historians.

Royal Courts and King Henry VIII King Henry VIII of England built a tennis court at Hampton Court Palace. Although the original court no longer exists, a similar one was constructed in 1625 and is still in use today. Historically, tennis was a game for the royal and affluent, with the All-England Croquet Club in London being a notable venue for elite matches.

The Invention of Lawn Tennis In 1873, Major Walter Wingfield developed a version of tennis designed for outdoor play on grass. He named the game “Sphairistikè,” derived from the Greek for “playing ball.” This new form of tennis quickly gained popularity among the English aristocracy and laid the foundation for modern lawn tennis.

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These facts highlight the evolution of tennis from a medieval pastime to the sophisticated sport we enjoy today.

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