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Updated on January 20, 2017


Tennis is a popular sport around the world. Tennis is played using a racket and a ball between two persons or between two teams of two persons each. Tennis is played using a net near the center. The objective of the game is to return the ball into opponent's court and the player is unable to make a valid return. Depending on the agreed format, a player wins a game, set and match. Tennis has four major tournaments held every year better known as grand slam. They are US Open, Australian Open, Wimbledon and French Open.

Development of the game

In 12th century a game started in France in which the palm of the hand was used to strike the ball. The game became slightly popular and was played regularly. By the start of 16th century players started using rackets to strike the ball. The game started getting called real tennis. In the 18th century a changed version of the game started gaining popularity and has developed into modern day tennis.Henry Gem and Augurio Perera along with few residents in Birmingham, England, founded Leamington Spa in 1872 which was the first tennis club. A British army Major Mr. Watter Clopton Wingfield, is credited for popularizing and developing the modern day tennis. BY 1877, Wimbledon was held which is the olden tennis tournament. Tennis had become popular in US as well and the first US open grand slam was played in 1881. Similarly in France and Australia, tennis gained popularity and they had their own grand slam events. International Tennis Federation was formed during the third decade of twentieth century and they formulated the rules and regulations for the game. During the seventies, professional tennis started taking shape with players making a living from tennis. International tennis hall of fame was found in 1954 to honor tennis players and collecting tennis memorabilia.

Tennis court
Tennis court

Rackets and balls

Initially tennis rackets were made of wood. A racket has a grip or handle at one end. The grip extends in an elliptical shape of the hitting frame of the racket. The internal hitting area is composed of strings pulled together and is used to hit the ball. With advancement in technology carbon, titanium and better materials started getting used to make modern tennis frames and synthetic strings. The manufacturing companies have to take care of the rules of hitting area size, weight and other regulations as specified to them. Tennis balls in nineteenth century were made by stitching cloth strips. Stuffed feathers and other threading materials were used as well to coat the ball. Rubber is used to make modern tennis balls. Special textile materials and fibers are coated to make the coating of the ball. White tennis balls were used at the start of nineteenth century. To improve visibility the ball’s color changed with time. At present optic yellow balls are used to play the game. The diameter of the ball is around 2.6 inches and the weight is around sixty grams. The kits, grips, sports wear, foot wear are manufactured today by well known companies and are designed according to a player’s requirements. The companies sponsors the best best players which provides good advertisement and public exposure to the brands.

Courts and Gameplay

A tennis court is rectangular even surface made of grass, clay, concrete, hard courts and artificial turfs. The dimension of the court for singles is 23.77 meter * 8.2 meter for singles match and 23.77 meter * 11 meter for doubles match. A net is hung near the center of the court which divides the court in two equal half. The net is roughly one meter high and is strung on poles clamped to the ground according to agreed rules. There is vacant space around the court. A tennis court has lines marked which are used to mark from where the payers will serve, the sidelines for valid play among other things.

A tennis match is played with one player servicing the ball and the other player making a return. The service starts behind the baseline. The served ball should not touch the net or land outside the service box, meaning the player has to make a valid serve for the other player. Typically the objective of the game play is that the player makes valid strokes keeping the ball in court of play and earn a point by forcing the other player to make an invalid return.

In tennis, the players have to win points. The player has to win four points or 2 points more than his opponent to win a game. Mostly a player has to win six or two games more than is opponent to win a set. However to beak a tie, special rules are used. A scoreline of 7-6 is awarded to player win seven game wins in which the final game is played under special rules. A chair umpire is appointed to preside over the play and takes final decisions wherever needed. A player has to win three out of five sets or two out of three sets in order to win the match. There are various kinds of strokes in tennis. Overhand service , forehand, backhand, smash, volleys are few strokes that professional players use in the game. Playing tennis requires a good level of fitness in payers. Muscle stretch, muscle contraction , swelling, damaged tendons are common injuries for a tennis player. Bill Tiden, Donald Badge, Pancho Goanzales, Lew Hoad, Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are few top male tennis players in the history of the game. Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, Serena Williams, Mayeret Gout are few famous women players.


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