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History of Tennis

The history of tennis is long and lovely, as is the sport itself. The game of tennis, or "real tennis" originated in France around the 17th century, and it is said that it evolved from an even earlier version of the game played in France dating back to the 12th century.

The game of tennis as we know it today is called modern tennis or just tennis, and it was invented in 1873 by an Englishman named Major Walter Clopton Wingfield. Historians say that Major Wingfield created the game, using the rules and terminology of "real tennis" so that guests would have something fun to do while attending a garden party on his estate.

Another similar game was developed a bit earlier - in the 1860s - by two friends, Major Harry Gem and Augurio Perera. This game based its rules and play on two other games known as rackets and pelota. This tennis game was played on the croquet lawn at Perera's home in England and became known more commonly as lawn tennis.

Tennis quickly became a popular sport throughout England, and the first championship tournament was held in London in 1877, at Wimbledon, and it still exists today. Moving its popularity across the ocean, the United States National Lawn Tennis Association came into being in 1881. This organization is now known as the United States Tennis Association.

The first U.S. National Men's Singles Championship was held in Newport, Rhode Island, in that same year. Today this tournament is called the U.S. Open, and it is held every August and September in New York. The U.S. National Women's Singles Championships began in 1887.

Back in France, their famed French Open tournament began in 1891. Rounding out the most prestigious and important annual tennis tournaments is the Australian Open, which began in 1905. These four tournaments - Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, the French Open and the Australian Open - are called the Grand Slam in tennis lingo, and they are the most important yearly events in tennis.

The rules of tennis, as established by the International Lawn Tennis Federation in 1924, have remained largely unchanged since their inception. The only exception came when James Henry Van Alen introduced the tie-breaker system.

Van Alen is also credited with founding the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1954. The International Tennis Hall of Fame is located at the Newport Casino in Newport, Rhode Island, and it also houses a museum which holds the world's largest collection of tennis memorabilia.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame honors the best tennis players from all over the world, inducting new members every year. They also host a number of annual tennis tournaments, including the International Tennis Hall of Fame Champions Cup.


 

 


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