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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tennis Origin

The earliest recognisable relative to tennis, as we know it today, was found in 11th century France, with a game called "jeu de paume". Played in a monastery courtyard, the game used the walls and sloping roofs as part of the court and the palm of the hand to hit the ball. The first implement that we would call a racquet was used in the 16th century, prompting the inaugural tennis "boom".

In 19th century England, there was an abundance of well-manicured croquet lawns, and the combination of those venues with the already existing framework for a racquet game resulted in the birth of the modern game of lawn tennis. In 1875, the All England Croquet Club needed to raise funds and designated certain croquet lawns to be used for lawn tennis, as it was beginning to overtake croquet in the popularity stakes.

In 1913, lawn tennis was becoming increasingly popular world-wide, and it seemed natural that the existing National Tennis Associations should join forces to ensure the game was uniformly structured. An international conference was held between 12 nations in Paris, at which the International Lawn Tennis Federation (ILTF) evolved. The inaugural nations were Austral-Asia (representing Australia and New Zealand), Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, the Soviet Union, France, South Africa, Sweden and Switzerland. Spain could not attend, but confirmed its approval. In 1923, the Annual General Meeting in Paris drew up the official ILTF Rules of Tennis, which were implemented from 1 January 1924. In 1977, the ILTF 'dropped' the word, "Lawn", to take on its present name, the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

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