- It traces its roots to a handball game played in France in the 12th and 13th centuries called jeu de paume
- The objective of the game was to hand-hit a ball back and forth
- The first tennis balls were wooden and couldn’t bounce
On-court legends, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova among others perpetuate facts about tennis history.
For many years now, this generation of players has shaped the history of the game. In the 21st century, there is a new generation of tennis players rewriting the history of the game.
Carlos Alcaraz, Iga Swiatek, Angela Okutoyi, and Ons Jabeur among others fit this description. We wouldn’t leave Emma Raducanu, Naomi Osaka, Coco Gauff out of this major sport development.
While they carry the torch now, their predecessors – John McEnroe, Chris Evert, Jean Billie King and co – did as well in their era. They inspired the Nadals and Swiateks of today.
WHAT IS THE HISTORY BEHIND TENNIS?
Stunning facts about tennis history have it that real tennis is a sophisticated indoor racket-and-ball game. It traces its roots to a handball game played in France in the 12th and 13th centuries called jeu de paume (“game of the palm”).
The objective of the game was to hand-hit a ball back and forth. A handle was eventually attached to the first racquet, made out of a black leather glove.
Monks played the game as a sort of entertainment at formal events. During the 14th century, monks all around Europe enjoyed playing “jeu de Paume so much that people noticed it as a sport. The game spread and changed throughout time throughout Europe and beyond.
WHAT ARE 5 HISTORICAL FACTS ABOUT TENNIS?
THERE WERE NO RACQUETS AT FIRST
Prior to the invention of tennis rackets, players would knock the ball back and forth over the net with the palms of their hands. This led to the coining of the name Jeu de paume, which loosely translates to “game of the palm.”
This game caused swollen and red hands in the 12th century among players because there were no racquets. In fact, they came in the 16th century. The first tennis balls were wooden and couldn’t bounce.
It was only later that cellulose balls were made and could bounce off. Isn’t this one of the stunning facts about tennis history?
TENNIS BALLS WERE WHITE
The first tennis balls in play were white in colour. Yellow tennis balls weren’t used until Wimbledon in 1986. A yellow ball, according to officials, would be simpler for viewers to follow on television.
Further, it’s thought that the word “tennis” came from a previous variation of the game that monks played in the 12th century. They played a game where you threw and caught a ball while chanting “tenez,” which is Spanish for “observe”.
HYPOTHESIS ON TENNIS LOVE PHRASE
It is unknown where the tennis phrase “love” came from. However, there is a longstanding hypothesis about it and it has to do with the French word “l’oeuf” (which means egg).
Its oval shape, the narrative goes, stands in for zero. The zero somewhat inspired the ‘love’ for the tennis ball. These are a few complicated facts about tennis history.
THE FIRST LAWN TENNIS COURT CAME IN 1873
Major Walter Wingfield created a variation of tennis that could be played on a lawn outside in 1873. On the grounds of the Manor House, wealthy English folks played it.
The inaugural lawn tennis competition was held in the United States in 1874. Already, the game had taken projection of what we watch today in tennis matches.
SERENA WILLIAMS AND VENUS WILLIAMS FIRST SISTERS TO PLAY DOUBLES
The first sisters to win tennis gold medals at the Olympics were Venus and Serena Williams. They took home their first Olympic gold medal at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
They now have two more gold medals from London 2012 and Beijing 2008 combined.
WHERE WAS TENNIS FIRST PLAYED?
The history of tennis is interesting because it traces back to 1874 when Wingfield introduces lawn tennis. However, it fully developed years later into a game bound in beautiful courts.
In the late 19th century, grass tennis—the precursor to the contemporary game of tennis—was invented in Birmingham, England. Both the older racket sport known as real tennis and other field (lawn) games like croquet and bowls had strong ties to it.