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10 Fun Tennis Facts for Students


The game of tennis originated from the ancient medieval sport - the Jeu De Paume, invented in France in the 11th century. The game was played with bare hands. Rackets and a scoring system were not introduced to the game until the 16th century.

 The game was originally known as ‘Real Tennis or Royal Tennis’ which was played for centuries before evolving into Lawn Tennis and the game we know today, in the 1870s.

 Henry VIII was a keen Real Tennis player and had the very first tennis court built at his Hampton Court Palace. Charles II remodelled the court in the 17th century which still exists today – making it the oldest tennis court in Britain. Watch this short video for more facts on Real Tennis: WATCH VIDEO

 Women originally played the game in long-sleeved dresses with corsets and hats!

The original tennis ball was either black or white (dependant on the court colour) made from leather and stuffed with cork, wool and even human or horsehair.

Historically a three-leafed clover shape, over time the design of the tennis ball was improved by making the ball hollow, pressurising the ball with gas and stitching flannel around the rubber core. 

The tennis court was originally shaped like an hourglass, which was designed and patented by Major Walter Clopton Wingfield in 1873.

Even though Wimbledon only adopted the concept in 1986, the move to the yellow balls happened in 1972 when the International Tennis Federation introduced the colour change based on the research behind ‘yellow’ being much more visible on the TV.

It wasn’t until the 18th century that lawn tennis began to be played on grass courts, with the majority of tournaments played on grass until the 1970s. Today, Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam event played on a grassed court.

The longest match in tennis history lasted an exhausting 11 hours at Wimbledon in 2010, played between Nicolas Mahut and John Isner.


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