Tennis is a sport, in which two players or two teams (each team consists of two players) compete with each other. The goal of each player/team is to serve a ball using a racket to the opponent’s side in such a way that the opponent can’t return it. Moreover, the ball should touch the opponent’s half of the court at least once.
History of Tennis
The French game "jeu de paume" (literally – a game of the palm) is considered to be the predecessor of tennis. Unlike modern tennis, they played jeu de paume indoors, using the palm of the hand to strike the ball. Later, the gloves replaced the palm; then, special bats replaced the gloves; and only after that, rackets occurred.
One of the most well-known references to tennis in the medieval literature is an episode in the historical chronicle by Shakespeare, "Henry V", in which the French dauphin derisively sends a barrel of tennis balls to the young English king.
Almost all French kings played tennis, Charles IX of France called tennis "one of the noblest, worthy and healthy exercises that princes, peers and other noble people can do".
In 1900, students of Harvard University decided to arrange a tournament for national teams. One of the students, Dwight Davis, bought a silver cup for the winner for his own money. And most importantly, he made the rules of the tournament. Davis and his two friends played for the US team, which won this tournament, as well as the next one in 1902. The Cup was held every year and was subsequently named "Davis Cup", which is still a popular event in the tennis world.
Since the 1920s, professional tennis players began to make money, playing at exhibition matches. The first professional tennis match was held on October 9, 1926, in New York, at the Madison Square Garden arena. 13 thousand people attended the match.
Players or teams should be on different sides of the net. One of the players serves, the other one receives the serve, correspondingly. The server should serve the ball in such a way that it hits the court zone at the opponent’s half. The receiver should redirect (return) the ball to the opponent’s side in due time before it falls onto the court or before it touches the court for a second time. If one of the tennis players misses the ball, his/her opponent gets a point.
A tennis match consists of "sets", which, in turn, consist of “games”. Winning games requires scoring points (at least 4 points: 15-30-40-game, while being up by at least two points). When serving, the player has two attempts, during which s/he alternately serves the ball to the left and right service court. After the game is played, the serve goes to the opponent. After an odd number of games are played, players have a minute break and the sides are switched. The player, who is the first to win 6 games (provided that his/her opponent wins no more than 4 games), is considered to win the set. To win a match, the player must win 2 of 3 or 3 of 5 sets. The player, who wins the required number of sets, wins the match.
There is a referee at the official matches, who sits on the chair tower. In addition to the referee on the chair tower, there may be line referees, who record the ball entering the court area. In 2006, the age of electronic refereeing systems (Hawk-Eye) began in tennis. These systems determine the place of the ball fall to high precision.
The tennis court is rectangular, 23.77 meters long and 8.23 meters wide (10.97 meters for doubles matches). The court has a flat surface with marks on it:
- Lines along short sides of the court are called baselines, and lines along long sides of the court are called sidelines.
- Service areas are marked on the court with the help of service lines, which are parallel to the baselines and the net, at the distance of 6.40 m from the net, and drawn only between the sidelines for a singles game, as well as the center service line, which is drawn in the middle of the court parallel to the sidelines and between the service lines. The center service line is also marked on the net with a vertical white line stretched from the surface of the court to the upper edge of the net.
- A short mark is placed on the baselines, indicating their midpoint.
The net is stretched in the middle of the court. The net is stretched full width and divides the court into two equal parts. The standard net for tennis is 1.07 meters wide and 12.8 meters long, and has square cells with a side of 4 centimeters.
Types of tennis court surface:
- synthetic carpet (artificial turf, acrylic).
There are other types of tennis court surfaces, such as asphalt, wood or rubber, but they are not used at official matches.
Tennis player equipment is as follows: a tennis racket and ball. The racket consists of a handle and a rounded frame with tightly pulled strings. The frame of the racket is made of complex composite materials (ceramics, carbon fiber, metal). Strings for tennis rackets can be both natural and synthetic. They used to think that natural strings have better properties, but nowadays artificial strings have caught up with natural ones in terms of properties. Interestingly, as a rule, the tension force of horizontal and vertical strings is different. Usually, a tennis racket is chosen individually for each player.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has special requirements for rackets:
- The length of the racket should not exceed 73.66 cm.
- The width of the racket should not exceed 31.75 cm.
- The stringed surface of the racket, that is, the internal size (up to the frame) is 29.21 cm wide and 39.37 cm long.
A yellow and white hollow rubber ball is used for the game. The ball is covered with fluffy felt from the outside to add certain aerodynamic properties.
In modern tennis, 4 Grand Slam Tournaments are considered to be the largest competitions:
- Australian Open
- Rolland Garros is the French Open
- Wimbledon Championships is the most prestigious championship of the Grand Slam series, held on the outskirts of London – Wimbledon
- US Open.
- Davis Cup is an unofficial world tennis championship.
- Kremlin Cup is the largest championship in Russia.
- International Tennis Federation (ITF)
- Russian Tennis Federation
- Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP)
- Children’s International Organization
- Junior International Tennis Organization