Facts about tennis

We found 29 facts about tennis

The most elegant of sports

Tennis is one of the most popular sports worldwide. It is considered a very elegant discipline that requires exceptional determination to master. It is also one of very few sports that equally treat both sexes, when it comes to both popularity and paygrade.
Tennis originated in France in the 12th century.
It is believed tennis was a popular game in monastic cloisters.
At the beginning, the game was known as “jeu de paume.”
It translates to “game of the palm,” as it was played with bare hands.
It is believed that the term tennis comes from French monks shouting “tenez” whenever they caught the ball.
Tennis rackets have been in use since the 16th century.
Between the 12th and 16th century, the players used their palms to hit the ball back.
The standard measure for a tennis racket ranges between 68.58 and 73.66 centimeters.
There are two types of a tennis match: singles (single opponent) and doubles (two teams of two).
The original tennis ball was a string of wool wrapped in leather.
Modern tennis balls are rubber, covered with fibrous felt.
A tennis ball measures between 6.54 and 6.86 centimeters in diameter and weighs between 56 and 59.4 grams.
Yellow tennis balls are in use since 1986.
The yellow ball was introduced to look more visible on television. Previously, tennis balls were white.
Before 1875, tennis courts were hourglass-shaped.
The rectangle shape of the court was introduced for Wimbledon.
The oldest tennis court, the Royal Tennis Court, is in use to this day.
It was built between 1526 and 1529 in Hampton Court Palace for Cardinal Wolsey, the second most powerful man in medieval England after king Henry VIII.

The game played in the Royal Tennis Court is called “real tennis”, and differs from the modern tennis we know.
The first Wimbledon tournament took place in 1877.
22 male players competed in singles, watched by 200 people. The championship was won by Spencer Gore.
Women were not allowed into Wimbledon until 1884.
They also had to wear long dresses during matches.
The shortest Wimbledon match lasted for 34 minutes.
It took place in 1988 between Steffi Graf and Natasha Zvereva. Graf won 6:0, 6:0.
The longest Wimbledon match lasted for 11.5 hours.
It took place in 2010 between Nicolas Mahut and John Isner, during the first round of Wimbledon. Isner triumphed 70:68, winning the game, although ended up losing the match.
On average, a tennis match lasts for 2.5 hours.
The court surface depends on the championship.
Wimbledon is played on a grass court, the French Open (Roland Garros) on a red clay surface, and the US Open and Australian Open on a hard court.
There are four major championships that form the Grand Slam.
They are:
  • Wimbledon (founded 1877)
  • US Open (founded 1881)
  • French Open (founded 1891)
  • Australian Open (founded 1905)
The Grand Slam is achieved by winning all four championships in a calendar year.
The first tennis player to win the Grand Slam was Don Budge in 1938.
He remains the only American male tennis player to win all four championships in one year.
The famous tennis players–Serena and Venus Williams–are the only sisters to win Olympic gold.
The scoring system may be confusing.
The points are counted as follows:
  • 0 points-love
  • 1 point-15
  • 2 points-30
  • 3 points-40

The game is won by a two-point lead. There are six games in one set, and at least two sets in a match.

In the tie-break, each point counts not as 15, but as one.
Historians believe that the scoring system originated from using the clock as a scoreboard.
The fastest tennis serves ever recorded belong to Sam Groth at 263.4 km/h.
Groth scored his record during the 2012 Busan Open Challenger Tennis.
The inflammation of the elbow muscles is called tennis elbow.
It is a common injury among tennis players and is caused by overusing elbow muscles in repetitive activity. One does not have to be a tennis player to suffer from tennis elbow, however, as it is enough to lift heavy objects for a prolonged time to catch the injury.
As of 11 June, 2023, Novak Djoković holds 23 Grand Slam titles, making him the record holder of men's singles.

The previous record belonged to Rafael Nadal with 22 Grand Slam titles.

Margaret Court holds 24 Grand Slam titles, making her the record holder of women’s singles.
Martina Hingis is the youngest female tennis player to win the Grand Slam at 16 years and 117 days old.
Michael Chang is the youngest male tennis player to win the Grand Slam at 17 years and 110 days old.
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