From Roots to Revolution: The Evolutionary History of Tennis
In recent years, tennis has become a widely attended and respected sport all over the world, with major tournaments in every continent except Antarctica. Since the inception of tennis through modern times, the equipment used and the style of the game have evolved in an unprecedented manner. Involvement in tennis was once reserved for the extremely rich and prestigious; now the game can be enjoyed by all, either on the court or on the television screen. Major tournaments regularly dominate sports shows and many great players have been integrated into pop culture. Although tennis is now a world-renowned sport, it had a very humble beginning.
The history of tennis dates back over several thousand years. The earliest form of tennis can be seen in a game created by 12th century French monks, who were looking for entertainment inside the monastery. At first the monks began by hitting a wooden ball with their hand across a crude net, which was no more than a string hung across a courtyard. They called this new game “Jeu de Paumme, or the game of the palm” when translated from French (“History of Tennis”). The Monks made several advancements as to improve the game’s entertaining qualities. Realizing that hitting the ball with their hand was quite painful, they began to use leather gloves, which then gave way to a primitive wooden paddle. After the development of the racquet, “a bouncier, leather ball filled with cellulose material” was created(“History of Tennis”). The beloved game spread through monasteries all over Europe.
Before serving the ball to his or her opponent, the player would shout “Tenez! meaning “Take this!” in French. From this word, the players began to call the game “Royal Tennis”, and today it is known as “Real Tennis”. The game became very popular in France during the 16th and 18th centuries. It was enjoyed by noblemen and kings who could afford to construct a court and aquire the...