The back and forth of that green tennis ball is mezmerizing, let’s get into a brief history of tennnis and find out this old game started. The first thing that comes to mind for many people when they think of tennis are Serena and Venus Williams. The sisters have dominated the sport for close to a decade, but tennis existed long before them.
Tennis is believed to be an adaptation of the ancient sport of Jeu de paume from the 12th century. In its original version it was played using the hands, until the racket was invented in the 16th century. Its popularity quickly spread in England and overtook the croquet game that was extremely popular at the time. The surfaces on which the game is played also quickly evolved from the grass to clay, then hardwood floors and then much later to the courts of concrete in use today
It is a major sport that millions of people follow and has fans all over the world. Modern day tennis has been around since 1896, but it was stopped in 1924. It came back officially in 1988 with a bang on the Olympic stage. Women’s participation in tennis competitions started in Wimbledon in 1884. At this time, they used to wear long-sleeved dresses, with hats and corsets. That is how Charlotte Cooper was dressed when she became the first-ever woman to win her first Wimbledon title in 1895. She was 23 years old.
The Evolution Of Tennis
During its absence in the Olympic after 1924, the sport underwent some very major developments, which included the introduction of the Grand Slam contest in 1930. To win the Grand Slam meant you had to win at the four major tournaments which consisted of the Australian Open, Wimbledon, the French Open, and the US Open.
Achieving the golden Grand Slam, even if it is done over the course of a couple of years rather than one year, has become one of the most prized achievements for players. America’s Andre Agassi, achieved this in Atlanta in 1996. Spain’s Rafael Nadal achieved it in Beijing, 2008. America’s Serena Williams was the winner in the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The year 1973 introduced the WTA and ATP weekly and global rankings, and the rackets also changed considerably. In the 70s, the tie break was introduced which prevented sets from going on indefinitely. If the score was 6, the first player to win 7 points would win the set. It is only Wimbledon that retained the “decisive set1’ which was the fifth set.
The 80s And On
In the beginning tennis rackets were made of wood and used until the 1980s. New raw materials then took over, which offered less weight and more power, such as titanium, graphite, steel, and carbon. In 1984 tennis finally return to the Olympic stage as a full-fledged professional sport. At the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, 15-year old German player Steffi Graf won the tennis competitions. She had also won the other four major tournaments, and this made her the first and only person, male or female to ever win the “Golden Slam.”
The Importance Of The Olympics For Tennis
Taking a part in the Olympic Games would then become vital to the career of the world’s best players such as Nicolas Massu, who had already reached the peak of his career. After winning two gold medals in Athens in 2004, he then declared that it was the best moment in his entire sporting career.
Other athletes such as Andy Murray from Britain, saw his career really take off after winning the gold medal in the London 2012, Olympics. He was the world number one five years later after winning three Grand Slams and the Davis Cup Victory. Above all, however, he remains the only person in more than 120 years to ever successfully defend his title, which he did in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Roger Federer is another great player who made his tennis game a priority. In his delight, he managed to win doubles gold medal when paired with Stan Wawrinka while in Beijing during the 2008 Olympic Games.
A Brief History of Tennis Conclusion
Tennis is an extremely fun sport to watch, and recently we watched the incredible Naomi Osaka defeat the previously undefeated Serena Williams. This goes to show that anything can happen, and that is why most Americans love this incredible sport. With bigger names involved in the sport, tennis promises to be around for a lot longer than its rather brief history.