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How did it all start? Well, tennis maybe started in France in the Twelfth Century when players used their hands. Players started using rackets in the 16th Century where the players on serve called “tenez” meaning “receive!”. At this time most games were played indoors or in a courtyard with walls and the ball could bounce off the walls. That’s how we get the word “court”. From the 1830s tennis was increasingly played on lawns. It became increasingly popular with the introduction of set rules and tournaments around the world. By the 1920s divisions started to appear between the amateur and professional players. 1968 saw the start of the Open Era when all players could compete in any tournament. The ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) for men was formed in 1972 and the WTA (Womens Tennis Association) in 1973.
How about some fun facts? The longest match in the history of tennis was played between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon
in 2010. It lasted for about 11 hours. A tennis match takes approximately 2.5 hours. The ball is only in play for approximately 20 minutes of the 2.5 hours. Before 1986, the tennis balls used at Wimbledon were not yellow. The color was added to allow people to see the ball better while in play. Wimbledon rules state that all players must be dressed almost entirely in white. Umpires can ask a player to change if they don’t meet the dress code. For instance, in 2013, Wimbledon champ Roger Federer was told to switch his shoes for his next match because they had orange soles. Some tennis players let out a loud grunt on the court while hitting the ball. The loudest known grunt during Wimbledon came from Russia’s Maria Sharapova in 2009. It reached about 105 decibels - the equivalent of standing beside an accelerating motorcycle!
There are four Grand Slam tournaments and numerous other competitions and Cups. You can watch everything on vipleague. Check the schedule for all live tennis streams. Wimbledon is the oldest (1877) and, many say, most prestigious. It is the only major tennis tournament still played on grass. The US Open
(1881), the French Open
(1891) and the Australian Open
(1905) soon followed. These four events boast larger prize money and double the ranking points of other tournaments. If a player wins all four major tournaments in one year he or she achieves a Grand Slam. If the player also wins the Olympic Gold medal (held every 4 years) it is a Golden Slam, to date Steffi Graf is the only player to have achieved this. Roger Federer has won more Grand Slams than any other man with 17 wins, and Margaret Court the most of any player with 24!
Apart from the four major tournaments there are various tour competitions. The ATP World Tour Masters 1000 is a group of 9 tournaments: Indian Wells Masters, Miami Masters, Monte Carlo Masters, Madrid Masters, Rome Masters, Canada Masters, Cincinnati Masters, Shanghai Masters and Paris Masters. At the end of the tennis year in November the top 8 players also compete at the ATP World Tour Finals.
The WTA compete in Premier Tournaments: Indian Wells, Key Biscayne, Madrid, Beijing, Doha, Rome, Cincinnati, Toronto/Montreal, and Wuhan followed by the season-ending WTA Tour