THE HISTORY OF THE GREAT GAME OF TENNIS
THE ORIGINS OF AND HISTORICAL FACTS ABOUT THE GAME OF KING’S, TENNIS
The origins of the game of tennis is still a bit of a mystery. Some people believe the game is a variation of different ball games that were played in the ancient world by Egyptians, Romans and Greeks.
Other people believe the game was derived from a roman game called “harpastum”, and was later adapted in the Basque country, where it was called “jeu do paume” because the ball was hit against a wall using the hand.
As early as the twelfth century, a glove was used to protect the hand. Then starting in the sixteenth century and continuing until the mid eighteenth century, tennis rackets of different shapes and sizes were used.
The tennis racket as we know it today, but with a lopsided head, thick gut, and longer handle was being used in 1750. The shape of the racket enabled the player to scoop the ball out of the corners (floor and walls were considered in-bounds) and also to put ‘cut’ or ‘spin’ on the ball.
The tennis balls were made of leather stuffed with hair or wool. These balls were hard enough to cause a serious injury and could even kill a player. Starting in the eighteenth century, ¾” strips of wool were tightly wound around a nucleus made by rolling a number of strips into a little ball. Then string was tied in different directions around the ball and a white cloth covering was sewn around the whole thing.
From the beginning of lawn tennis in the 1870’s, India rubber, made from a vulcanization process invented by Charles Goodyear in the 1850s, was used to make lawn tennis balls.
Seeding was created to stop selected players in a tournament meeting until the later stages of a tennis tournament. Seeding was first used in the United States National Championships in 1922 and then adopted in the Wimbledon Championships in 1924.
Each country was allowed to nominate up to 4 players in the singles and 2 pairs in the doubles who were then drawn to fall in different quarters of the draw. Seeding on merit was adopted with selected players being placed in fixed positions in 1927.