The Evolution of Modern Tennis: Who Invented the Game? - Deepstash
The Evolution of Modern Tennis: Who Invented the Game?

The Evolution of Modern Tennis: Who Invented the Game?


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The Evolution of Modern Tennis: Who Invented the Game?

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Games with racquets hitting balls have been going on since the Neolithic times. Ruins in Mesoamerica show signs of ball games played in various cultures thousands of years ago.

Greeks, Romans and Egyptians have played games resembling modern tennis.


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A version of modern tennis, played without racquets (using palms of the hand) by French monks was called jeu de paume, or the Game Of The Palm.

It was upgraded in the year 1500 ADE with wooden racquets, and balls made of leather and cork. The game became extremely popular in England where about 1800 indoor courts came up.


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Outdoor Tennis And Sphairistikè

By the 18th century, the rubber ball made the game popular again, as it had the ability to be played outdoors on grass.

A version of the game called Sphairistikè was played in an hourglass-shaped court in London, creating a sensation in the whole of Europe in the year 1873. This later evolved into a rectangular court, with women not allowed until 1884.


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The famous scoring technique of Tennis: Love, 15, 30, 40, deuce originated in France. The game was divided into a 60 point system due to its association with medieval numerology. 40 (quarante) was used instead of 45 (quarante cinq) as it was shorter in french.

The term love came from the word l'oeuf which means nothing or an egg (signifying zero).


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  • The game of tennis was originally a game of the rich, played by male players in hats and ties, and women in corsets and bustles.
  • It adopted a strict dress code in the 1890s, and white clothing became the official tennis attire. This dress code wasn't a great option for middle-class or working-class people, as pristine white had to be laundered, something that was expensive.
  • Later the swinging sixties made tennis attire rules relaxed, and new appliances like the washing machine made washing clothes easier and affordable to the working class, making it a viable option for many more people.


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