A Brief History of Tennis
A Brief History of Tennis from Jeu de Paume To Today
Dating as far back as the 12th century, tennis evolved from the game of jeu de paume which was played by many ancient civilisations including the Greeks and Romans. With bare hands, players would hit the ball to one another, and rackets were only introduced to the game in the 16th century.
From this the game of Royal tennis evolved and eventually tennis as we know it today.
Real or Royal Tennis
Royal tennis is still played today and is recognised as a sport with its own set of complex rules. In the 16th century, royal tennis became immensely popular, and as its popularity grew so the game and its associated rules started to stabilise.
The Start of Tennis as We Know It Today
It was in England that tennis really flourished, and in 1874 grass courts were introduced. Not long after the first Wimbledon in 1877 new surfaces like clay, wood flooring, and eventually concrete were introduced to the game.
Wimbledon and The Grand Slam
The first Wimbledon was held in 1877, and by 1884 women could join the competition, but were required to wear long skirts, hats, and corsets. It wasn’t until 1896 at the Athens Olympics that the first gold medal for the sport was awarded to John Boland. Women would have to wait until 1900 before they could participate in the games.
It was in this first year that Charlotte Cooper became the first woman to be written into Olympic history for a singles event.
By 1913 tennis had spread across the world and the individual tennis associations decided it was time to formalise the game, thus the first international tennis conference was held in Paris with 12 countries in attendance. The International Lawn Tennis Federation was born, and tennis became an Olympic staple until 1924, when a dispute between the Olympic committee and the International Lawn Tennis Federation arose which could not be resolved.
During the years that followed, tennis development continued, and the idea of the Grand Slam came to fruition in the 1930’s. To claim the title players would have to win the four majors, the Australian, French, and US open, and Wimbledon. You can visit betting sites in Australia for some big game betting options.
The Return to the Olympics and Notable Players
Although tennis returned to the Olympics in 1968 is was only as a demonstration sport, and it took two further Olympic game before tennis was recognised as a competitive sport. In 1988 Steffi Grad won the women’s singles and the Grand Slam in the same year, making her the only person to have achieved a Golden Slam.
The Olympics became a vital competition for professional tennis players and an Olympic medal the golden standard in tennis. Notable wins include Nicolas Massu from Chile, who took two medals in the 2004 Athens games, Andy Murray who not only claimed the title of worlds number one player after winning three Grand Slams and the Davis Cup, but he became the only player to defend that title at an Olympic game in history.
Roger Federer won gold medals in doubles in 2008, silver singles in 2012, but was unable to compete in 2016 due to injury. Other notable players who achieved Grand Slam Titles and Olympic medals include Andre Agassi, famous for his bright appearance to the world of tennis, held the Olympic title in 1996, Rafael Nadal in 2008, and Serena Williams in 2012. Serena in total has four gold medals and her sister Venus has five.