Tennis – History and Great Players

The History of Tennis dates all the way back in Ancient Egypt and Persia. But the official founding of the game was introduced in the world in the 19th century by a man called Major Walter Wingfield. The game then was called sphairistike which was the Greek for ball game. Officially the game was created by him but he got his “invention” idea from the French who were playing something similar which was called Jeu de Palme.

Jeu de Palme was a game played with a ball being hit over the net using the player’s bare hand and it dated back in the 13th century. It was mostly played amongst monks in their monasteries. The Jeu de Palme developed into a game later on called royal tennis. The French were crazy about that game, in the 1500s a monarch, called Francis even had a royal tennis court built on his personal battleship.

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When Major Wingfield officially introduced the game to his friends at a Christmas party, there were a couple of other people who were playing it around the same time as well. However, they didn’t present a document or write it down, so it’s Wingfield who is considered to be the father of the game.

The name tennis dates back to Jeu De Palme. The French would shout ‘Tenetz!’ before hitting the ball which means ‘Take heed!’

The game soon became popular all around the world. Everyone was playing tennis. At first it was invented just for fun but soon it became highly competitive and all kinds of competitions were founded.

People travelled the word to complete with different nations. Different court were introduced apart from lawn, there was clay, composite rubber and cement. There were popular tennis players who were known around the world and were competing against each other for different cups.

Wimbledon – “If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same”

Wimbledon is considered to be the oldest tennis tournament in the world dating back to the first game of Lawn Tennis Championships in July 1877. The court was situated so that it was in the middle and the people who were watching it were situated around the court.

Enter the male singles

The only event held in 1877 was the male singles won by Spencer Gore. That year around 200 spectators paid to come and watch the finals.

He played against William Marshal and sometime on the 19th of July 1877 he became the first ever Wimbledon Champion. He died in 1906 at the age of 56.

Enter the ladies

In 1884 the ladies tournaments were started and from 13 female candidates that year, Maud Watson became the first female champion.

She was playing against her sister Lillian and defeated her in the Wimbledon finals in 1884.

Wimbledon Second World War

Wimbledon still had its doors open or signing even in the Second World War. The court was a victim of civil defense and military functions. In October 1940 five 500lb bombs struck the Centre Court and caused the loss of 1200 seats.

Wimbledon after the war needed some time to recover but soon returned again into action around 1950s when the champions were welcomed to play again. Outstanding champions were Louise Brough, Maureen Connolly and the late Althea Gibson, the first African American winner.

Wimbledon Today

Behind the scenes employers

1. More than 6,000 work for the Wimbledon Championships.

2. There 250 ball girls and boys

Interesting Facts

1. Keep your eyes on the ball! The records for fastest serve are Taylor Dent, clocked at 148 mph

2. The top-selling item in the Wimbledon gift shop in 2010: 18,000 yellow mini tennis ball key rings.

3. All players in the games have to wear white clothing

4. The highest ever attendance was in 2001 ,410, 081

5. The youngest male champion was Boris Becker and won the male championship in 1885.

6. In 1976 the temperature reached 34 degrees.

7. The first-ever player to be disqualified from the men’s doubles was Tim Henman in 1995, for hitting a ball in anger which struck a ball girl.

8. In 1930, Brame Hillyard became the first man to play wearing shorts. That was on court 10 – and Bunny Austin was the first to do so on Centre Court three years later.

Wimbledon has played host to some of the greatest Champions in the game of tennis.

Boris Becker

Singles Champion 1985, 1986, 1989. Sunday 7 July 1985 will be etched into one man’s memory as the day that changed his life forever. Became Wimbledon’s youngest ever men’s singles champion at 17 years and 227 days. Boris had watched Wimbledon since he was very young. He had always wanted to be part of it, and he worked for it. He is still No. 1 professional tennis player from Germany .