Tennis is among the most popular sports in the United States. It is played by amateurs and
professionals, children and adults, women and men. It can be played for sheer enjoyment or
in fiercely competitive tournaments, such as the famous Davis Cup, Wightman Cup and the
Wimbledon tournament. Like badminton, it requires agility, speed and almost continuous
motion on the part of the player. It is often recommended as a good means of aerobic exercise.
HISTORY OF TENNIS
The game that we know as “tennis” today (officially known as “lawn tennis”) was created
by a British citizen, Major Walter C. Wingfield, who introduced the game to Britain in 1873.
The following year saw the introduction of the already-popular game to America. However,
the real history of tennis apparently goes back far beyond Major Wingfield’s day. A version
of tennis was played in ancient Greece and in France in the 1400s. The first tennis tournament
was played at Wimbledon in England in 1877. While Wimbledon is still considered the most
famous and prestigious tennis tournament in the world, the Davis Cup and Wightman Cup
tournaments are also important annual events.HOW THE GAME IS PLAYED
A tennis game always starts with the serve. The server stands behind the base line on the right
side of the court. The ball is tossed into the air and hit diagonally across the net into the
opponent’s court. The opponent then has to hit the ball after the first bounce, and return
it back across the net to the server.A “fault” is committed when the server hits the net with
the ball or when the ball is hit outside the service court. The second time a server tries to serveand fails, “a doublefault” occurs. The opponent automatically gains a point after a double fault.
Faults can also occur when the server touches the base line or any other part of the court
with his/her feet while serving. A “let ball” is a serve that touches the net but lands in the
correct place. This type of ball does not count; the server must serve again. A ball thattouches the net during play is called a “net ball.” Net balls are legal and must be played.
Once the first point is made, the server then serves from behind the left base line. The server
continues until the opponent wins the serve or until a fault occurs. The first point in a tennis
game is 15, the second is 30 and the third is 40. The final score (or fourth point) is the
GAME POINT. A player must score four points in order to win a game. In a tie game,
both sides or players may score three points, or 40-40 (a ‘DEUCE”). If a player or side wins
two more points after a deuce, the game is won.The “AD” or ADVANTAGE is the first point
scored after the deuce. When both players score a point after a deuce, the game returns to
40-40 again. The score “LOVE” means zero. If a game has the score 30-love, it means the
score is 30 to zero. Nobody knows why the term “love” is used in tennis, but it is generallybelieved to have originated from the French word “l’ouve,” which means “egg.” An egg
is round like a circle, hence its association with a zero. A SET means that one side or player
has won six games. The winner of the set must win by two games. A MATCH means that
two out of three sets have been won.
There are four types of serves in tennis: the flat serve, the slice serve, the kick serve and the
American twist. While the slice is the most common and effective serve, all four types of serves
demand a controlled toss and good follow-through. To execute the serve properly, the player
raises the racquet back to a point where it reaches over his or her right shoulder. The player’s
elbow is kept straight in the air. The proper stance is straight, not bent at the waist. The ball
is then tossed up into the air. As the ball comes down, the server moves forward and strikes
the ball with the racquet, driving it over the net toward the other player or players.
This move is one of the two main strokes used for returning the ball after one bounce.
When the ball approaches the player’s racquet-hand side, the forehand drive is used—
basically, as a way of blocking the ball. The wrist maintains a firm position and keepsthe racquet face open. All contact with the ball should take place in front of the player’s body.
This move is the other main stroke used to return a ball after one bounce. In the backhand
drive, the ball goes to the opposite side of the racquet hand. The player moves the arm across
the body and, as with the forehand drive, maintains a firm wrist and elbow. Again, contact
with the ball is made in front of the player’s body.
The famous Martina Navratilova once offered this advice about the volley: “Keep itshort and
simple.” The player’s knees should be bent and legs slightly apart while the weight of the body
is forward. The elbows should be turned in toward the body as the body pivots and the
shoulder turns toward the ball. The power of the volley comes not from the swing, but
from a firm wrist, good timing and the ability to keep one’s body weight forward.
The lob features a short backswing, an open racquet face and an upward motion. The
follow-through on this shot is shorter than on other shots. The goal of the lob is to hit the
ball over the opponent’s head in order to drive him/her back in the court.
The forehand and backhand slices are used to make the ball spin and bounce crookedly.
In the forehand slice, the player’s shoulders should turn as the racquet is brought backabove the level of the ball. The racquet head is tilted upward at this point, while the player’s
weight is kept forward. Ideally, the follow-through on this shot is kept short. In the backhand
slice, the player turns as the racquet is brought back above the level of the ball. The wristis kept stiff as contact with the ball occurs in front of the player’s body.
EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING
Tennis is usually played in loose-fitting shorts for men or short skirts for women. Athletic
shoes are needed to brace the feet and ankles during violent maneuvers. Light polo shirts or
blouses are worn to provide freedom of movement.
TENNIS NOTES AND NEWS
Venus Williams of the United States repeated as Wimbeldon champion by downing Belgium
tennis star, Justine Henin 6-1, 3-6, 6-0. The win marked Williams’ third Grand Slam singlestitle. She dominated the court, only losing one set in seven matches. Venus has denied reports
that her father had said that she was considering early retirement. “I’m too young to be thinkingabout retiring,” she said. For the men, popular Croat, Goran Ivanisevic, became the king of
Wimbledon recently by outlasting Patrick Rafter of Australia, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 2-6, and 9-7 for
the crown. The match, which was delayed a day because of rain, made Ivanisevic the first
wild-card invitee to capture a Grand Slam. During the Wimbledon he saw his world ranking
rise from 125 to 16. He had been a three-time runner-up before finally winning the Wimbledon.
Ivanisevic, who has been hampered by a shoulder problem, now plans to have surgery. Rafter,
who is now 28 years old, is looking forward to a six-month break at the end of this year and
may retire soon. Lindsay Davenport, recently extended her winning steak to 13 matches
at the Sanex Championships in Munich Germany. Davenport could end up in the top spot
at this year end tournament. This tournament, which shifted from New York to Munich
features the best 16 players. But this year Venus Williams pulled out with injuries. The 2000
Sydney Olympic results were:
Women doubles: Gold: USA, Silver: Netherlands, Bronze: Belgium.
Women Singles: Gold: Venus Williams, USA, Silver: ElenaDementieva,Russia, Bronze: Monica Seles, USA.
Men Singles: Gold: Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Russia, Silver: Tommy Hass, Germany,
and Bronze: Arnaud Di Pasquale,France.
Men’s Doubles: Gold: Canada, Silver: Australia, and Bronze: Spain.
WHAT TO DO
The following questions will help you to have a greater appreciation and understanding
of tennis. Write your answers in the spaces below the questions. If there is not enough
room, write on the backs of these sheets. Be neat, spell correctly, and write in complete
1. What are the physical benefits of playing tennis?2. What is “a fault” in tennis?
3. What is a “let ball?” a “net ball?”4. When and where was tennis first played?
5. Name the four types of serves in tennis.
6. What is the tennis volley and how is it executed?7. What does the score “love” mean in tennis?8. What does “a set” in tennis mean?
9. What is the first point in a tennis score?
10. What comprises “a match” in tennis?
Short Answer Questions:1. Martina says keep it short and simple
2. A popular tennis tournament
3. Most famous tennis tournament
4. One must win at least six of these to win the set
5. Love in tennis means this for a score
6. When the server hits the net with the ball7. The direction of the player’s weight when hitting a slice
8. A score of 40-40
9. It is in the middle of the court and the ball must be hit over it
10. Comes from the French word for “egg”
11. Tennis was originally played on this
12. This major introduced tennis to England in 1873
13. There are this many types of serves in tennis
14. One type of drive
15. Short backswing and upward motion
16. A tennis game starts with one of these
17. Makes the ball bounce and spin
18. Another type of drive
19. The first point scored after deuce
20. The server hits the net with the ball and the ball lands in the right place