Tennis’ Evolution: A Sport Born of Royalty and Nobles

Tennis is a sport that almost all of us have played at some point in our lives. Tennis, known as the “original sport of kings,” has the world’s largest audience, the most glamorous athletes, some of the highest-paid professionals, and a never-ending supply of entertainment. Have you ever wondered how the changes in balls, racquets, and even court surfaces have brought tennis to where it is today?

Over the last decade, great players like Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal, and others have sparked much public interest in the beautiful game of tennis. Several tennis players have achieved superstar status, with their names mentioned alongside those of well-known actors and artists. However, much effort is put into improving the game’s quality behind the enchantment. The game did not gain popularity overnight. Tennis took a long time to compete with other sports like cricket, football, and basketball and make its mark in the sports world. This article will examine how the ‘Game of Tennis’ has evolved!


France is where it all began.

Tennis has a long history, dating back to the 12th century AD when monks used their hands to propel balls up and down monastery corridors. Rackets were not invented until the 16th century, and tennis is regarded as the first “sport of kings,” as only privileged monarchs were permitted to play indoor tennis. However, most historians agree that 11th-century French monks invented tennis. Tennis’ evolution toward racquets can be traced back to when players began using gloves because bare hands were too painful before progressing to a glove with webbing sewn between the fingers.


By the 1700s, the game’s popularity had declined, but that changed dramatically with the invention of vulcanized rubber balls in 1850. The introduction of hard rubber balls transformed the sport into an outdoor game played on grass. At this point, rubber tennis balls became the norm, and tennis as we know it evolved into ‘lawn tennis,’ a distinctly popular game among the upper middle classes in the nineteenth century. Tennis is said to be derived from the word tenez, which means “take this” and is what players would say before serving the ball.


Playing Style

During the game’s early stages, there were two distinct styles of play/grips: Australian and American. The Australians favored a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Tennis was stripped down to its bare essentials. If only one clasp could be used for everything, it had to be a continental grip. Continental grips are famous for serves and volleys but can also be used for backhands. In contrast, Americans used three grips: Eastern forehand for forehand, Continental for serve and volley, and Eastern backhand for backhand. Americans and Australians both preferred serve and volley tennis.

Tennis Scoring

Tennis scoring—love, 15, 30, 40, deuce—is still unknown, but it is thought to have originated in France. One theory for the origin of the 60-point system is based on the number 60, which had positive connotations in medieval numerology. The 60 was then divided into four sections. Another widely held belief is that the scoring was designed to correspond with the face of a clock, with the score given in quarter-hour increments of 15, 30, 45, and 60.


The Evolution of the Game

In the 1990s, fast grass, indoor carpet, rebound ace, medium-paced hard courts, and slow red clay were all popular. The top showcased a variety of play styles, with battle lines clearly defined between attackers and baseliners. During this era, however, all-court players preferred attacking netplay.


Early changes to the game mainly were aimed at encouraging tournament growth, which resulted in the development of an international scene. The first Davis Cup was held in 1900, and four major tournaments were introduced within a few decades: Wimbledon, the US Open, the Australian Open, and the French Open.


Several rules and regulations were implemented as the game evolved, including a slight change in attire. Tennis players were required to wear all white during the Victorian era, inspired by cricket attire and lawn dresses to keep them cool even in hot weather conditions. The use of this attire helped to keep the sport as an upper-middle-class an upper-class activity.


The Rise of Women in Tennis

By the end of the twentieth century, a new breed of power player on the women’s tour was emerging, led by players such as Maria Sharapova, Venus Williams, Lindsay Davenport, and Serena Williams. These tennis superwomen excelled at the sport and served as role models for many young girls who aspired to play professionally. Tennis legends like Williams and Sharapova set the tone for women’s tennis in the 2000s when stamina, resilience, and athleticism were emphasized as the most critical aspects of the game.

Changing Fashion Trends for the New Millennium

The advancement of sports science has impacted professional tennis, with today’s athletes being more physically fit, healthy, and robust than ever before. The average age of today’s tennis players reflects this, with Serena Williams and Roger Federer playing into their late thirties.


The four most essential competitions in tennis are the Grand Slams, which include Wimbledon, the Australian, French, and US Opens. Tennis professionals compete at these events yearly for the prestige and fame of winning these tournaments.


Evolving is the only way to genuinely mature and progress, even in the beautiful game of tennis. Since its inception, the sport has evolved tremendously and is becoming increasingly popular as the approach is gradually perfected and improved. Players’ hitting styles have developed in response to equipment and racquet material changes, and each change has prompted new responses. It will be interesting to see where things go over the next few years in winstrol depot.


The Tennis Program at Rohan Bopanna Tennis Academy adds a new dimension to tennis instruction in India. We provide an innovative and balanced curriculum that equally emphasizes fitness and sports skills. It comprises well-structured, varied-level programs based on global best practices to provide young talent with the best and most integrated advanced-level tennis program in India.

About the Author: Wilma Evans

Faith is a award-winning currency writer, previously deputy personal finance editor in The Daily Telegraph now a columnist for Woman&Home and blogger in substantially More With Less. She intends to produce catchy money things easier to know, covering everything out of frugal family and food tasks to pensions, pensions and taxation. Interests involve baking and shooting more photographs of your garden compared to ever gardening.