History of Tennis
Harry Gem and his friend Augurio Perera invented a game that combined involvement of rackets and the Basque ball game pelota, that they had played on Perera’s croquet lawn in Birmingham, United Kingdom. In 1872, with the help of two local doctors, they laid the foundation stone of the first tennis club of the world in Leamington Spa. The Courier, dated the 23rd July, 1884 endorsed one of the first tennis tournaments, held in Shrubland Hall.
By December 1873, Major Walter Clopton Wingfield fabricated and then got patented an much related game he called sphairistike, from ancient Greek meaning ‘skill at playing with ball’, and was known as “sticky” immediately afterwards, for the entertainment of his guests at a party in a garden of his estate in Llanelidan, Wales. He based his game very close to the burgeoning sport of outdoor tennis including real tennis. According to some tennis chroniclers, terminology of modern tennis also evolved from this period.
The comprehensive rules enacted by the International Tennis Federation, then The International Lawn Tennis Federation in 1924 have been amazingly unchanged in the coming eighty years; the only change was the addition of the tie-break system formulated by James Van Alen. The same year, tennis got separated from the Olympics after the 1924 Games but restored 60 years later as an under 21 demonstration event in 1984.
The reintroduction of the game was recognized by the endeavors by the then ITF President Philippe Chatrier, ITF General Secretary, David Gray and ITF Vice President Pablo Llorens, and support from IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch. The triumph of the occasion was tremendous and the IOC resolved to reinstate tennis as a full medal sport at Seoul in 1988.
An annual competition between men’s national teams, called the Davis Cup, dates back to 1900. The similar competition for women’s national teams, the Fed Cup, was also founded as the Federation Cup in 1963 to occasion the golden jubilee of the establishment of the ITF.
In 1926, promoter C.C. Pyle concluded the first professional tennis tour with a team of American and French tennis players to play exhibition matches to audiences who would pay. One of the most prominent of these early professionals was the American Vinnie Richards and also a Frenchwoman Suzanne Lenglen. Once a player became pro he or she would not compete in the major tournaments.
During 1968, economic strains and news of some amateur player’s getting money covertly resulted in the rejection of this difference, ushering in the open era, in which all players were allowed to compete in all tournaments; only top players were allowed to earn money from tennis.
The open era and the institutionalization of an international professional tennis circuit, and capital generated from the sale of television rights, tennis got popular throughout the world, and the sport has cast off its upper / middle class discriminations.