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Tennis

TENNIS

TENNIS, or more properly, lawn tennis, derives from the ancient game of court tennis. It was introduced in the United States shortly after Major Walter Clopton Wing-field demonstrated a game he called Sphairistike at a garden party in Nantclwyd, Wales, in December 1873. Formerly, some historians believed that Wingfield's game of Sphairistike, played on an hourglass-shaped court, was first brought to America by way of Bermuda. In 1875 Mary Ewing Outerbridge, an American, obtained a set of tennis equipment from British officers stationed there and her brother, A. Emilius Outerbridge, set up a court on the grounds of the Staten Island Cricket and Baseball Club in New York City, the home of the first national tournament in September 1880. However, Outerbridge was preceded by Dr. James Dwight (often called the father of American lawn tennis) and F. R. Sears Jr., who played the first tennis match in the United States at Nahant, Massachusetts, in August 1874. The present scoring system of 15, 30, 40, games, and sets became official at the first Wimbledon (England) Championship in 1877. In 1881, the newly formed U.S. National Lawn Tennis Association (USNLTA) (the "National" was dropped in 1920, the "Lawn" in 1975) hosted the first official tennis championship in the United States at the Newport Casino in Rhode Island. Richard D. Sears of Boston won the tournament, a feat he repeated annually through 1887.

From the Late Nineteenth to the Mid-Twentieth Century

Although tennis was initially confined mainly to the Northeast, by the 1880s and 1890s it was spreading throughout the United States, with tournaments and clubs organized in Cincinnati, Atlanta, New Orleans, Seattle, San Francisco, and Chicago, which was awarded the national doubles championships in 1893 as part of the World's Columbian Exposition there. The first Davis Cup matches, between the United States and Great Britain, were held at the Longwood Cricket Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, in 1900. The cup donor, Dwight F. Davis, was a native of St. Louis but was at Harvard when he put up the cup, as were Malcolm Whitman and Holcombe Ward, also members of the first Davis Cup team. At that time, there were 44 tennis clubs in the United States; by 1908, there were 115. Like golf, tennis was most popular among America's economic and cultural elite. African Americans, Jews, and recent immigrants were usually excluded from the private clubs where tennis thrived.

From its introduction in the United States, tennis greatly appealed to both sexes, yet women were initially forbidden from playing in public tournaments. American clubs, like those in Europe, often assigned female players different venues and imposed confining styles of dress that limited their range of motion. Nevertheless, the United States has consistently produced some of the strongest women players in tennis history. The English-born Californian May Sutton was national champion in 1904, and in 1905 became the first American to win at Wimbledon. Hazel Hotchkiss' volleying style of attack allowed her to win forty-three national titles. She was also the donor of the Wightman Cup, sought annually since 1923 by British and American women's teams. Fifty years later, Billie Jean King, winner of four U.S. titles, would defeat the aging Bobby Riggs in what was called the Battle of the Sexes, a landmark event in the histories of both tennis and feminism.

In 1916 the USNLTA funded a series of programs and clinics to develop the skills of budding tennis players and promote the sport on a wider scale. As a result, the following decades saw numerous American players receive worldwide acclaim. Over the course of his career, William T. Tilden II won seven U.S. titles and three Wimbledon championships. Beginning in 1923, Helen Wills won the first of seven U.S. women's championships and ultimately triumphed at Wimbledon for a record eight times. Her match at Cannes in 1926 with Suzanne Leglen, six-time Wimbledon champion, was the most celebrated women's contest in the history of the game. A decade later Don Budge, the first player to complete the coveted "grand slam" by winning at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, the French Open, and the Australian Open, regained the Davis Cup for the United States in 1937 after


a period of French and English domination. Following World War II, the development of young tennis players continued under the auspices of the Tennis Educational Association. School physical education instructors were trained to teach tennis, while inner-city programs attempted to spread tennis to underprivileged youths. At the same time, the American Tennis Association became an outlet for aspiring African American players, including Althea Gibson, who in 1950 became the first African American to participate in the U.S. Open.

Radical Innovations

The late 1960s saw revolutionary changes in tennis, both in the United States and worldwide. Until that time, the sport's most prestigious competitions were open exclusively to amateurs. However, in 1968 the International Lawn Tennis Federation sanctioned open tournaments, permitting amateurs to compete against professionals. This shift had a profound impact on both professional and amateur tennis. New promoters and commercial sponsors came into the game and the schedule of tournaments was radically revised and enlarged. The prize money available for professional players increased dramatically, with tennis superstars such as Rod Laver, Jimmy Connors, Arthur Ashe, Billie Jean King, and Chris Evert earning hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by the mid-1970s. Top players no longer struggled to earn a living under the rules governing amateur status; as a result, the mean age of competitive players rose sharply, as many found they could earn more playing tennis than in other careers. Matches were also increasingly televised, especially after 1970, when the introduction of the "sudden death" tiebreaker made it possible to control the length of matches.

Improvements in racket technology further revolutionized the sport of tennis during the 1960s and 1970s. Steel, aluminum, and graphite rackets soon replaced the traditional wooden designs. Over the next two decades, wood and metal rackets gave way to stronger and lighter synthetic materials, while conventional head sizes disappeared in favor of intermediate and oversized racket heads, first introduced by Prince Manufacturing in 1976. Competitive techniques and styles of play were greatly affected by the new racket technology. The two-handed backhand, popularized during the 1970s, proved ideally suited to the new, larger racket heads and became a staple of the competitive game. The new racket technology was clearly responsible for a greater reliance on power in both men's and women's competitive tennis throughout the 1990s.

U.S. Dominance

During the last three decades of the twentieth century, the United States remained the single most important source of world-class players. Between 1974 and 1999, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Jim Courier, Pete Sampras, and Andre Agassi held the world's top men's ranking for a combined sixteen years. In the same period, Americans Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Monica Seles, and Lindsay Davenport held the top women's ranking in a total of ten years, with Martina Navratilova, a naturalized American, adding another seven. Since the late 1970s, when an estimated thirty-two to thirty-four million Americans played tennis, the popularity of the sport has been in decline. Although interest in tennis experienced a resurgence during the early 1990s, by the decade's end only 17.5 million Americans were actually playing the sport. Particularly underrepresented have been Americans of color, despite the success and influence of such players as Michael Chang and Venus and Serena Williams. Nevertheless, tennis remains a multibillion-dollar industry worldwide, with top tournaments frequently hosting record crowds.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Collins, Bud, and Zander Hollander, eds. Bud Collins' Modern Encyclopedia of Tennis. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 1994.

Gillmeister, Heiner. Tennis: A Cultural History. New York: New York University Press, 1998.

Parsons, John. The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Tennis: The Definitive Illustrated Guide to World Tennis. London: Carlton Books, 1998.

Phillips, Caryl. The Right Set: A Tennis Anthology. New York: Vintage, 1999.

Sports Illustrated 2002 Sports Almanac. New York: Bishop Books, 2001.

AllisonDanzig

David W.Galenson

John M.Kinder

See alsoSports .

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tennis

tennis Racket and ball game played either by two (singles) or four (doubles) players. It is sometimes known as lawn tennis, despite being played on concrete, clay, shale, and wood as well as grass. The game is played on a court, 23.8m (78ft) by 8.2m (27ft) for singles. For doubles play, the court widens to 11m (36ft). A net, 0.9m (3ft) high at the centre, bisects the court. On each side of the net there are two service areas marked by rectangular lines. The ball is put into play by the server, who is allowed two attempts to hit it into the opposite service court. One player serves for a complete game. If the opponent returns the ball in court, play continues until one player fails to hit the ball, hits it into the net, or hits it outside the confines of the court; his opponent then wins the point. A minimum of four points are required to win a game, which must be won by two clear points. A minimum of six games must be won to win a set, which must be won by either two clear games or by winning the tie-break game, which is played at six games all. Modern tennis evolved from real tennis in England in the 1860s.

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tennis

ten·nis / ˈtenis/ • n. a game in which two or four players strike a ball with rackets over a net stretched across a court. The usual form (originally called lawn tennis) is played with a felt-covered hollow rubber ball on a grass, clay, or artificial surface.See also court tennis.

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"tennis." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Tennis

Tennis or Tinnis (both: tĬn´Ĭs), medieval city of Egypt, on an island in Lake Manzala, southwest of modern Port Said. Tennis, founded when Tanis was abandoned, was a port and center of commerce of some importance. It was particularly notable for its fine textiles (much prized throughout the Muslim world).

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tennis

tennis, game played indoors or outdoors by two players (singles) or four players (doubles) on a level court.

Rules and Equipment

Lawn tennis was originally played on grass courts, but most major events are now played on courts of hard, composite materials; exceptions include Wimbledon, played on grass, and the French Open, played on clay. In singles play the court measures 78 ft by 27 ft (23.8 m by 8.2 m). The court is divided in half by a net 3 ft (91 cm) high in the middle and 3.5 ft (1.1 m) high at the end posts. On either side of the net lie the forecourts, each of which contains two adjacent service courts measuring 21 ft by 13.5 ft (6.4 m by 4.1 m) each. A backcourt 18 ft (5.5 m) long adjoins each forecourt. A base line that runs parallel to the net terminates the playing court. In doubles play, 41/2-foot-wide (1.4-m) alleys flanking either side of the court perpendicular to the net are also in play.

Play is directed toward hitting the inflated rubber, felt-covered, unstitched ball (slightly smaller than a baseball) with a racket—oval headed, originally 27 in. (68.58 cm) long but now usually longer, the hitting surface strung with resilient fiber—into the opponent's court so that it may not be returned. One player serves an entire game and is given two service tries each time the ball is put in play. The ball is served diagonally from behind the base line so that it bounces beyond the net, in the opposite service court. A let ball (one that caroms off the top of the net into the proper service court) does not count as a fault (bad serve). Service alternates after points, between the right- and left-hand courts. After the first game and all odd-numbered games, the players change ends of the court.

Once the serve puts the ball in play, players may hit it into any part of the opponent's court until a point is scored. Rallies won by either player score points. Scoring progresses from love (zero) to 15 (first point), to 30, then 40. The point scored after 40 wins the game, but when the game goes to deuce (tied at 40–40) a player must go two points ahead to win it. The first player to win six games takes the set, provided the opposing player has won no more than four games. Traditionally, after the players were tied at five games all, the first to go two games ahead won the set. In 1970, however, the United States Lawn Tennis Association (founded 1881 and now simply the United States Tennis Association), the sport's national governing body, initiated an abbreviated method, called the tie-breaker, for deciding deadlocked sets. In a tie-breaker, the first player to win seven points wins the set, provided the opponent trails by at least two points. Only in the deciding set of major championship matches outside the United States is the original two-game margin of victory retained. The best two out of three sets wins most professional matches; the best three out of five sets wins a late-round match in men's play in major championships. An umpire calls play, and in important matches a net judge, foot-fault judges, and linesmen often assist.

History

Origins

Unlike most other sports, lawn tennis has precise origins. An Englishman, Major Walter C. Wingfield, invented lawn tennis (1873) and first played it at a garden party in Wales. Called "Sphairistiké" [Gr.,=ball playing] by its inventor, the early game was played on an hourglass-shaped court, widest at the baselines and narrowest at the net. In creating the new sport, Wingfield borrowed heavily from the older games of court tennis and squash racquets and probably even from the Indian game of badminton.

Court tennis is also known as royal tennis. It originated in France during the Middle Ages and became a favorite of British royalty, including Henry VIII. The progression from court tennis, which used an unresilient sheepskin ball filled with sawdust, sand, or wool, to lawn tennis depended upon invention of a ball that would bounce.

Lawn tennis caught on quickly in Great Britain, and soon the All England Croquet Club at Wimbledon held the first world tennis championship (1877). Restricted to male players, that event became the famous Wimbledon Tournament for the British National Championship, still the most prestigious event in tennis. In 1884 Wimbledon inaugurated a women's championship. Soon the game became popular in many parts of the British Empire, especially in Australia.

Tennis spread to the United States by way of Bermuda. While vacationing there, Mary Ewing Outerbridge of New York was introduced (1874) to the game by a friend of Wingfield. She returned to the United States with a net, balls, and rackets, and with the help of her brother, set up a tennis court in Staten Island, N.Y. The first National Championship, for men only, was held (1881) at Newport, R.I. A women's championship was begun six years later, and in 1915 the National Championship moved to Forest Hills, N.Y. Since 1978 what is now the United States Tennis Association Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y., has hosted the event (known as the U.S. Open). The Tennis Hall of Fame is in Newport, R.I.

The Professionalization of Tournament Tennis

In 1900 the international team competition known as the Davis Cup tournament began. Along with the Wightman Cup (begun 1923), an annual tournament between British and American women's teams, the Davis Cup helped to focus international attention on tennis. In 1963, a women's Davis Cup equivalent, the Federation Cup, usurped the prestige of the Wightman Cup. In the first decades of the 1900s tennis was primarily a sport of the country club set. The widespread construction of courts on school and community playgrounds in the 1930s (many built by the federal government's New Deal agencies) helped to make tennis more accessible to the public.

When the professional game showed itself to be profitable in the late 1920s, a number of amateur players joined the tour. One of the first to do so was William Tilden, perhaps the greatest player in the history of tennis. Before Tilden turned pro (1931), he won a total of seven United States singles championships and three Wimbledon championships.

The continued defection of amateur players into the professional ranks was one of the factors that led amateur tennis's world governing body, the International Lawn Tennis Federation (ILTF, founded 1913), to open its tournaments to both professionals and amateurs in 1968. For many years the major ILTF-sponsored tournaments, including Wimbledon and the U.S. National Championship, had been restricted to amateurs. With the advent of open tennis, however, the great professionals were allowed to compete for the major titles. Eventually, the Davis Cup also allowed professionals.

The four major annual tournaments in international tennis are Wimbledon, the Australian Open, the French Open, and the U.S. Open. Winning all four in the same year is called a grand slam. Only Don Budge (1938), Rod Laver (1962, 1969), Maureen Connolly (1953), Margaret Court (1970), and Steffi Graf (1988) have won grand slams. In 1971, the establishment of a women-only professional tour gave female pros financial parity with their male counterparts. In the same year Billie Jean King became the first woman athlete in any sport to earn more than $100,000 in one year. In the 1970s a team league, World Team Tennis, operated for several years, but was unsuccessful. The professional tour remains the most visible focus for the sport, its major tournaments surpassing in prestige even competition in the Olympics, which added tennis in 1988.

Bibliography

See W. T. Gallwey, The Inner Game of Tennis (1974); R. Schikel, The World of Tennis (1975); V. Braden and B. Bruns, Vic Braden's Tennis for the Future (1977).

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tennis

tennis ball game played with rackets in a walled court XIV; short for lawn t., XIX. ME. tenetz, tene(y)s, tenyse, usu. taken to be — (O)F. tenez, imper. of tenir hold, take, presumably the server's call to his opponent.

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tennis

tennis. See lawn tennis.

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tennis

tennisanise, Janice •Daphnis • Agnes •harness, Kiwanis •Dennis, Ennis, Glenys, menace, tennis, Venicefeyness, gayness, greyness (US grayness) •finis, penis •Glynis, Innes, pinnace •Widnes • bigness • lychnis • illness •dimness • hipness •fitness, witness •Erinys • iciness •dryness, flyness, shyness, slyness, wryness •cornice •Adonis, Clones, Issigonis •coyness •Eunice, TunisBernice, furnace •Thespis • precipice • coppice • hospice •auspice • Serapis

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