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The Origins of Tennis

The Origins of Tennis

The origins of the game of tennis can be traced back to the 12th and 13th centuries. The French handball game called Jeu De Paume (“game of the palm”) was the inspiration for the complex racket-and-ball game: tennis.

The Early 20th Century

 The first international team competition was the Davis Cup, officially called the International Lawn Tennis Challenge. The Trophy for the Cup was donated by the U.S. doubles champion Dwight Davis in 1900. Only Great Britain was challenged the first year; but it was defeated by the United States, Davis himself playing on the victorious team. There was no challenge in 1901, but in 1902 a strong British team that included the Doherty brothers went to America. The United States kept their trophy, but the following year the Doherty brothers helped Britain win the cup, which it kept for the next three years!

Tennis originally was known as lawn tennis, and formally still is in Britain, because it was played on grass courts by Victorian gentlemen and ladies. It is now played on many different surfaces. The ancient French game, the game of the palm, is now played as real tennis in Britain, court tennis in the United States, and royal tennis in Australia. 

Outstanding Players

Tennis in the 1880s was dominated by the great twins William and Ernest Renshaw. William won the Wimbledon singles championship seven times, on three occasions defeating his brother in the final. Ernest was victorious once, and in partnership won the doubles championship, first played at Oxford in 1879, and then another seven times. 

The Open Era  

The first open tournament was the British Hard Courts at Bournemouth in April 1968, where the champions were Ken Rosewall and Virginia Wade. The total prize money was £26,150 ($62,760), of which £2,000 went to men’s singles champion Rod Laver and £750 went to women’s singles winner Billie Jean King. The singles titles at the first U.S. Open, with a total amount of $100,000, were won by Arthur Ashe, the sport’s first black male champion. Within two decades the major championships had multimillion-dollar prizes, and top players could expect to earn an excess of $1,000,000 a year on the court alone. Laver became the first player to sweep the major titles a second time and the first to do so as a professional, paving the way for many generations of tennis stars to come.

A mindset that made tennis grow so much, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” quoted from Arthur Ashe, famous black tennis player. 

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About the Writer
Shahed Al Ali was born in Syria, then moved to Lebanon at the age of five. She lived there for 10 years, after which she returned to the US this past June. The most important people in her life are her family and friends. She likes to draw from a very young age, but her drawing has only evolved a little. She also likes to play basketball and puzzles. Her achievements include success in her classes at school, helping her mother at home, and translating for the family because they do not know much English. Shahed likes to collect information around the world, including customs, traditions, culture, systems, and law. She likes to know everything; She believes that the perspective of journalism is accuracy, respect for the privacy of others, working in public, and being responsible. She joined The West Press because she wanted to offer advertisements and news to all people through the use of new ideas and technologies. She likes to enjoy her hobbies in her spare time. Her favorite quote is:        “A person cannot develop if he does not try something he is not used to.”

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    OliviaMar 13, 2024 at 10:13 am

    This is entertaining and well written

    Reply