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Tennis

Tennis is a sport played between two players or between two teams of two players each (doubles). Each player uses a strung racquet to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court.

The modern game of tennis originated in the United Kingdom in the late 19th century as lawn tennis which has heavy connections to various field/lawn games as well as to the ancient game of real tennis. After its creation, tennis spread throughout the upper-class English-speaking population before spreading around the world[citation needed]. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all ages. The sport can be played by anyone who can hold a racket, including people in wheelchairs. In the United States, there is a collegiate circuit organized by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

 

 

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The rules of tennis have changed very little since the 1890s. Two exceptions are that from 1908 to 1960 the server had to keep one foot on the ground at all times, and then the adoption of the tie-break in the 1970s. A recent addition to professional tennis has been the adoption of electronic review technology coupled with a point challenge system, which allows a player to challenge the line umpire's call of a point.

Tennis enjoys millions of recreational players and is also a hugely popular worldwide spectator sport, especially the four Grand Slam tournaments the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open.

The Medieval form of tennis is termed as real tennis. Real tennis had evolved over three centuries from an earlier ball game played around the 12th century in France. This had some similarities to palla, fives, pelota, or handball, involving hitting a ball with a bare hand and later with a glove. One theory is that this game was played by monks in monastery cloisters, based on the construction and appearance of early courts. By the 16th century, the glove had become a racquet, the game had moved to an enclosed playing area, and the rules had stabilized. Real tennis spread in popularity throughout royalty in Europe and reached its peak in the 16th century.

Fran├žois I of France 515 - 47 was an enthusiastic player and promoter of real tennis, building courts and encouraging play among the courtiers and commoners. His successor Henri II (1547 - 59) was also an excellent player and continued the royal French tradition. During his reign, the first known book about tennis, Trattato del Giuoco della Palla was written in 1555 by an Italian priest, Antonio Scaino da Salo. Two French kings died from tennis related episodes - Louis X of a severe chill after playing and Charles VIII after being struck with a ball. King Charles IX granted a constitution to the Corporation of Tennis Professionals in 1571, creating the first pro tennis 'tour', establishing the three levels of professionals: apprentice, associate, and master. The first codification of the rules of real tennis was written by a professional named Forbet and published in 1599.

Royal interest in England began with Henry V 1413 - 22 but it was Henry VIII 1509 - 47 who made the biggest impact as a young monarch, playing the game with gusto at Hampton Court on a court he had built in 1530, and on several other courts in his palaces. It is believed that his second wife Anne Boleyn was watching a game of real tennis when she was arrested and that Henry was playing tennis when news was brought to him of her execution. During the reign of James I 603 - 25 there were 14 courts in London.
Real tennis racquets and balls. Photo taken by Peter Cahusac at the Falkland Palace Royal Tennis Club.

Real tennis is recorded in literature by William Shakespeare who mentions "tennis balles" in his play Henry V, when a basket of them is given to King Henry as a mockery of his youth and playfulness.[5] One of the most striking early references to the game of tennis appears in a painting by Giambattista Tiepolo entitled The Death of Hyacinth 1752 - 1753 in which a strung raquet and three tennis balls are depicted. The theme of the painting is the mythological story of Apollo and Hyacinth, written by Ovid and translated into Italian in 1561 by Giovanni Andrea dell'Anguillara who replaced the ancient game of discus, throwing of the original text by that of pallacorda or tennis, which had achieved a high status as a form of physical exercise at the courts in the middle of the sixteenth century. Tiepolo's painting, displayed at the Museo Thyssen Bornemisza in Madrid, was ordered in 1752 by a German counts Wilhelm Friedrich Schaumburg Lippe, who was known to be an avid tennis player.

The game thrived among the 17th century nobility in France, Spain, Italy, and in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but suffered under English Puritanism. By the Age of Napoleon, the royal families of Europe were besieged and real tennis was largely abandoned.[6] Real tennis played a minor role in the history of the French Revolution, through the Tennis Court Oath, a pledge signed by French deputies in a real tennis court, which formed a decisive early step in starting the revolution. In England, during the 18th century and early 19th century as real tennis died out, three other racquet sports emerged: racquets, squash racquets, and lawn tennis