Written by Aarav Singh, a grade 5 student
This article was written in July 2021
After being suspended due to the Covid pandemic in 2020, Wimbledon is back to the delight of tennis players and fans all over the world.
If you’re new to Tennis, let’s fill you in about this genteel game of power, finesse and accuracy.
A Bit of History
Lawn Tennis, or Tennis, is a sport that can be played on different surfaces like grass, clay or hardcourt.
In fact, the name Lawn tennis came about as the first tennis courts were grass courts.
Modern Tennis was invented by Londoner Major Walter Wingfield in 1873. Initially, he named it Sphairistikè, which is Greek for lawn tennis. He created an hourglass-shaped court for his game. But historians think that Tennis originated centuries earlier.
A 12th-century French game called Jeu de Paume (game of the palm) seems to be the source of Real Tennis, Squash and Lawn Tennis. Jeu de Paume was played by striking a ball with the palm. Later, a piece of wood, staff or a board began to be used to play the game.
The equipment required to play is not much! You just need a well-strung tennis racket and a Tennis ball that can bounce.
Tennis is played as a singles, doubles, mixed doubles, and wheelchair game. The scoring for Lawn Tennis was borrowed from the medieval game of Real Tennis.
Five stages of scoring are: 0 (love- from the French word l’oeuf or egg), 15, 30, 40, and GAME.
Terms like Serve, Deuce, Advantage too were borrowed from Real Tennis. Each time a player gets a point their score increases. But when both players have reached the score of 40 (3 points) a deuce is in play. You are close to winning the game!!
To end the deuce and win the game a player has to score 2 consecutive points. (Advantage and GAME). A match comprises Sets. Each set comprises a number of games. A player needs to win at least 6 games with a difference of 2 games from the opponent to win a set. In a men’s match, the best of five sets decides the winner while women’s matches are decided on the best of three sets.
The present set of rules has been decided by the International Tennis Association.
The big four- Grand Slam!
At present, apart from other tournaments, there are four major Tennis tournaments played over the year that together are called the Grand Slam.
It starts with the Australian Open, then the French Open, Wimbledon, and ends with the US Open. A player who wins all of these in the same calendar year is called the Grand Slam winner. To date, there have been only five Grandlsam winners since the competition began. The last one was Steffi Graf in 1988!
The oldest and the best – Wimbledon
Now back to Wimbledon – where it all started in 1877 (Wimbledon is a little town near London) The only grass court championship, Wimbledon is famous for its traditions.
Let’s look at some of them
Players have to be kitted in all-white sports outfits. Yes, some players have tried to challenge this strict dress code. They have been sternly warned!
Strawberries and cream!
The delicious dessert is a staple at Wimbledon as it symbolises the height of summer when the tournament takes place. Tonnes of strawberries and gallons of cream are enjoyed by spectators at Wimbledon.
The Royal Box
British royalty love to watch tennis and regularly attend matches. They also award the trophies to the winners.
A giant foldable Roof
The centre court has a roof to allow play to continue even when it rains. It’s England, after all!
There are no advertisements displayed on the courts.
Women players are referred to as Miss or Mrs.
The oldest tennis court is going to see some fireworks soon: Australian Open and French Open winner Novac Djokovic hopes to become the third man to win the rare calendar Grand Slam in history. While 39-year-old Roger Federer is chasing his ninth Wimbledon title. It’s exciting times for Tennis fans.