There are different theories about the founding of tennis.
There is a Greek painting found, showing sort of a game of tennis from 500 years bC.
An Italian painting from 1734 (the box of hyacintus) was found as well, and on the painting you see one tennis racket and 2 tennis balls.
The most likely story is that tennis derived from the French ballgame “jeu de paume”, that was already played in the eleventh century. First people hit the ball with their hands, later they used a plank which was attached to their hand and after that a plank with a handle.
And now we use a tennis racket.
The one that served the ball first shouted: “Tenez!” which is French for “Take that!” and the word tennis came from that.
The game as we know it today was born in 1873, when a major invented the game
“Sphairistikč”, where our game evolved from. It soon became very popular in Great Britain. The first tennis championship was in 1877.
The game and the court
You play tennis on a tennis court. The court is divided in two pieces by the net, which is exactly ninety-one centimeters in the middle. Each half is divided in 5 parts. The underground is made of gravel (grounded bricks), concrete, grass, artificial turf or carpet. The sort of underground has a lot of influence on the bouncing and the speed of the ball. On gravel the ball bounces higher and slower and on grass it bounces low and fast.
You play tennis one against one (single) or two against two (double). When you play double you must make the field wider by adding the “tramrails”.
You have to try to hit the ball on the field of your opponent and score games that way. Each point starts with a service. When the ball hits the line, it’s in. The scoring table goes like this: when you score one point the score is 15-0 (say: fifteen-luv). And when you score another it’s 30-0. Another makes 40-0. But then your opponent scores: 40-15. If you score again, then you have a game. So you have to make a point 4 times to make a game.
When you win six games, you’ve won the set. But if it’s 6-5 in games, you must play on till the difference is two games. When the score is 6-6, you must play a tiebreak. The first person that makes 7 points wins, and the difference must be 2 points again.
The one that wins the most sets of three sets (or five sets when men play) wins the match.
Ways to hit the ball
If you are playing tennis you can hit the ball in different ways. You can do a forehand or a backhand for example. An important hit is the service, every point begins with that. Then you hit the ball above your head and the ball goes diagonally in the service compartment.
And there is the volley, then you hit the ball before the ball gets a chance to bounce.
And of course there is the smash, when the ball is above your head and you try to hit it hard. A smash that’s in is hard for your opponent to play back.
If you are a member of a tennis club (like DDV or Goldstar or Amstelpark), you can play the competition in the summer. Then you play with your club against kids from other clubs. But you can only join when you’re a good player and of course you have to know the score table well. In a competition you will be in a team with two boys and two girls. Then there are different matches: boys single, girls single, boys double, girls double and mixed double (that’s a boy and a girl against a boy and a girl from another club). If you win a match you get one point, and you must try to get as much points as possible for your club. There are also tournaments where you don’t play for your club but for yourself.
If you are a member of a tennis club, you can get tennis lessons (tennis training). There you learn all the kinds of hits and how to use them (technique). You also learn tactics, how to play good matches and of course the score system. You get those lessons from a trainer, and learn them while playing games, playing small matches and getting some theory about tennis.
Major tournaments are worldwide tournaments where the best players of all countries of the world play in: like Wimbledon, the Australian Open, the Davis Cup and Roland Garos. Some famous tennis players are: Richard Krajicek, Pete Sampras, Paul Haarhuis, Martina Hingis and Venus Williams. This was our talk.