There has been a lot of dispute over the invention of modern tennis. Most historians believe that tennis originated in France in the 12th Century. At that time the ball was struck with the palm of the hand.The game was popular in England and France, but was played only indoors and the ball could be hit off the wall. However, officially, the game is said to have been introduced by Welshman Major Walter Clopton Wingfield in 1873. He published the first book of rules that year and patented the game in 1874. Historians have concluded that similar games may have been played earlier. The first tennis club was established by Englishman Harry Gem and his associates in 1872 in Leamington,Canada. The first world lawn-tennis championship was held in 1877 at Wimbledon.
BASICS OF THE GAME
- Opponents stand on opposite sides of the court. The player who delivers the ball to start the point is called the server. The player who stands opposite and cross court from the server is the receiver.
- The right to serve, receive,choose your side or give the opponent these choices is decided by a toss of a coin or racket. If the choice of service or receiver is chosen, the opponent chooses which side to start.
- The server shall stand behind the baseline during a doubles game and within the boundaries during a singles game.
- All even number points are played from the deuce court and all odd number points are played from the advantage court. The deuce court is the right side of the receiving team or the left side of the opponent's court as viewed from the server's side. The advantage court is the left side of the receiving team or the right side of the opponent's court as viewed from the server's side.
- If the server misses his target twice, he loses the point. If the ball hits the net and goes in the correct service box, another serve is granted. If the server steps on the baseline before contact with the ball is made, the serve is deemed as a fault. If the ball does not land in the service box, it is considered as a fault and a second serve is given. If the ball is hit by either opponent before the ball bounces, the server wins the point.
- If the ball goes into the net or outside the boundaries of the court, the player who hit that ball loses the point. If the ball hits the net during the point and goes into the opponent's court, the ball is in play.
- A let is called during the point if a ball rolls on the court or there is a distraction from someone besides the players on the court.
- A ball that lands on the line is good.
- The server’s score is always called first. If the server wins the first point, he gets a score of 15. Scoring is done like a clock. 'Love' means 'zero' in tennis. The second point is called 30. The third point is called 40 and the game is won when the score goes back to love. If the score is 40-40, also known as deuce, one side must win by two points. 'Advantage-In' means that if the server wins the next point, he wins the game.‘Advantage-Out’ means that the receiver has a chance to win the game on the next point.
- After the game, the opponent serves. The first to win six games by a lead of two games wins the set. The first to win two or three sets, depending on the tournament, wins the match. If the score is 6-6, a tie-breaker is played. This is scored by ones. The first player to score seven points with a lead of two wins the set. The tie-breaker continues until one player wins by two.
KINDS OF COURTS
Clay Court: Clay courts are made of crushed shale, stone or brick. The French Open usesclay courts, unlike the other three Grand Slam tournaments. Clay courts slow down the ball and produce a high bounce when compared to grass courts or hard courts.
Grass Court: Grass courts are the fastest type of courts in common use. While AstroTurf is faster, it is primarily used only for personal courts. Grass courts consist of grass grown on very hard-packed soil, which adds an additional variable. Bounce depends on how healthy the grass is, how recently it has been mown and the wear and tear of recent play. Points are usually very quick and the serve plays a more important role than on other surfaces. Wimbledon has the most famous grass court.
Hard Court: Hard courts are very fast tennis courts where hard-hitting players have a light advantage. Hard courts can vary in speed. They are faster than clay but not as fast as grass courts. The quantity of sand added tothe paint can greatly affect the rate at which the ball slows down. The US Open is played on an crylic hard court, while the Australian Open is played on a synthetic hard court.
TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
The modern forehand is one of the most spectacular and devastating shots in the game. Starting from the ready position, drive off from the legs and look to get to the ball as soon as possible. As you push off, prepare by turning both your hands towards the ball. This will rotate the shoulders and upper body away from the ball, storing up energy that will soon be used to create power. Look to bring the racquet head back in a loop. Think of a circular type of movement as you lift it up, bring it back and then drop it lower as you start to accelerate forward. The key to producing real power is to fire all your muscles into the shot in sequence. Start from the legs, then the hips, then your shoulder, your arm and finally your wrist. If timed right, all these different muscle groups will combine to produce huge racquet head speed that will send the ball flying. The forward swing of the racquet should be from low to high. You should be looking to make contact with the ball at around waist height. As you get more confident, try meeting it slightly higher. This willenable you to get more power into the shot and get further into the court, which will put your opponent under even more pressure.
The tennis backhand is executed from the side opposite of the forehand side.In order to execute a tennis backhand, you must bring your natural hittinghand around your body before hitting the tennis ball. The tennis backhand may seem awkward at first, but as you practice and familiarize yourself with this stroke it will become a welcomed alternative to the foundation of your tennis techniques and skills.
The tennis serve initiates every point. Competitive tennis players achieve and maintain the most effective results by tossing the ball straight up high above the head while rotating the tennis racquet with a full motion swing, aiming to strike the ball to the diagonal service area on the opposite end of the tennis court.
Uniquely termed in tennis, the lob is mainly used as a defensive technique to turn the momentum of a point into an offensive play. A lob is a high arching shot with additional hang time that is initiated by a forehand, backhand or attimes, a volley. With the lob technique, the player has the ability to change the course of a point and keep an opponent off balance. The use of the lob is meant to keep an opponent guessing instead of allowing him to anticipate thepredictable forehand or backhand ground strokes.
Similar to a serve, the overhead tennis technique is designed to earn points by striking the tennis ball as it floats in the air over the head to the forehandor backhand side of the opponent. Generally, this is the response to an unsuccessful lob attempt where the player who initiated the lob pays dearly. This shot is also called an overhead smash.
THE TENNIS BALL
A tennis ball is approximately 6.7cms in diameter and is usually bright yellow in colour. Tennis balls are covered in a fibrous, fluffy felt which modifies their aerodynamic properties. Balls must weigh between 56gms and 59.4gms. Often, the balls will have a number on them in addition to the brand name.This helps distinguish one set of balls from another of the same brand on an adjacent court.
THE TENNIS RACQUET
The parts of a tennis racquet are the head, rim, face, neck, butt/ butt cap,handle and strings. Modern tennis racquets vary in length, weight and head size. A normal junior's racquet is 21 to 26inches long whereas an adult racquet would measure 27 or 27.5 inches. The weight of the racquet varies between 230gms unstrung to 350gms strung. Racquets were originally flared outward at the bottom of the handle to prevent slipping. The rounded bottom was called a bark bottom after its inventor, Matthew Barker. But by 1947 this style became unnecessary. In the late 1960s, Wilson produced the T2000 steel racquet with wire wound around the frame to make string loops. It was popularised by the top American player, Jimmy Connors. In the early 1980s, graphite (carbonfibre) composites were introduced and other materials were added to the composite, including ceramics, glass fibre, boron and titanium. This made the racquets lighter in weight.
The material, pattern and tension used during stringing play an important role in the performance of a tennis racquet. A few players use natural gut, but the vast majority of strings are a nylon or polyester synthetic. American champion Pete Sampras considers natural string to be more responsive, providing a better feel, but synthetic string is preferred for its much superior durability, consistency as well as much lower cost. The string pattern–vertical or horizontal grid–is a function of the racquet head size and design. A tighter pattern is considered to deliver more precise control. A more open pattern offers greater potential for power and spin. The basic rule is that a racquet with lower string tension creates more power and a higher string tension creates more control.