A for Athlete



Tennis Olympians[]

  • Amelie Mauresmo, France (also known as FRA) Flag of France, is going to the 2008 Olympics in tennis, singles. Mauresmo was initially named as Mary Pierce's Beijing replacement, but the International Tennis Federation said that the former top-ranked player would not participate and that Pauline Parmentier would take the spot instead. Mauresmo had previously announced she would skip the doubles competition to focus on the U.S. Open.
  • Robin Haase and Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands (also known as NED) Flag of the Netherlands withdrew from the 2008 Olympics because of injury. Getting to go are Jurgen Melzer of Austria (also known as AUT) Flag of Austria and Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine (also known as UKR) Flag of Ukraine.

Out with Injury from 2008 Olympics[]

Ancient influences[]

Tennis can be traced as far back as the ancient Greek game of sphairistike (Greek: Σφαιριστική), and is mentioned in literature as far back as the Middle Ages in The Second Shepherds' Play, in which shepherds gave three gifts, including a tennis ball, to the newborn Christ.[1] Sir Gawain, a knight of King Arthur's round table, plays tennis with a group of giants in The Turke and Gowin.[2]

The Medieval form of tennis is termed real tennis. Real tennis evolved over three centuries from an earlier ball game played around the 12th century in France. This had some similarities to palla, fives, pelota, or handball, involving hitting a ball with a bare hand and later with a glove. One theory is that this game was played by monks in monastery cloisters, based on the construction and appearance of early courts. By the 16th century, the glove had become a racquet, the game had moved to an enclosed playing area, and the rules had stabilized. Real tennis spread in popularity throughout royalty in Europe and reached its peak in the 16th century.

In France, François I (1515-47) was an enthusiastic player and promoter of real tennis, building courts and encouraging play among the courtiers and commoners. His successor, Henri II (1547-59) was also an excellent player and continued the royal French tradition. During his reign, the first known book about tennis, Trattato del Giuoco della Palla was written in 1555 by an Italian priest, Antonio Scaino da Salo. Two French kings died from tennis related episodes--Louis X of a severe chill after playing and Charles VIII after being struck with a ball. [3] King Charles IX granted a constitution to the Corporation of Tennis Professionals in 1571, creating the first pro tennis 'tour', establishing three levels of professionals-- apprentice, associate, and master. The first codification of the rules of real tennis was written by a professional named Forbet and published in 1599.[4]

Royal interest in England began with Henry V (1413-22) but it was Henry VIII (1509-47) who made the biggest impact as a young monarch, playing the game with gusto at Hampton Court on a court he had built in 1530, and on several other courts in his palaces. It is believed that his second wife Anne Boleyn was watching a game of real tennis when she was arrested and that Henry was playing tennis when news was brought to him of her execution. During the reign of James I (1603-25), there were 14 courts in London. [5]


Real tennis racquets and balls. Photo taken by Peter Cahusac at the Falkland Palace Royal Tennis Club.

Real tennis is recorded in literature by William Shakespeare who mentions "tennis balles" in his play Henry V, when a basket of them is given to King Henry as a mockery of his youth and playfulness.[6]. One of the most striking early references to the game of tennis appears in a painting by Giambattista Tiepolo entitled The Death of Hyacinth (1752-1753) in which a stringed raquet and three tennis balls are depicted. The theme of the painting is the mythological story of Apollo and Hyacinth, written by Ovid and translated into Italian in 1561 by Giovanni Andrea dell'Anguillara who replaced the ancient game of discus throwing of the original text by that of pallacorda or tennis, which had achieved a high status as a form of physical exercise at the courts in the middle of the sixteenth century. Tiepolo's painting, displayed at the Museo Thyssen Bornemisza in Madrid, was ordered in 1752 by a German counts Wilhelm Friedrich Schaumburg Lippe, who was known to be an avid tennis player.

The game thrived among the 17th century nobility in France, Spain, Italy, and in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but suffered under English Puritanism. By the Age of Napoleon, the royal families of Europe were besieged and real tennis was largely abandoned. [7]Real tennis played a minor role in the history of the French Revolution, through the Tennis Court Oath, a pledge signed by French deputies in a real tennis court, which formed a decisive early step in starting the revolution. In England, during the 18th century and early 19th century as real tennis died out, three other racquet sports emerged-- racquets, squash racquets, and lawn tennis (the modern game).

Birth of modern game[]

Its establishment as the modern sport can be dated to two separate inventions.


Lawn tennis in the U.S., 1887

Between 1859 and 1865, in Birmingham, England, Major Harry Gem, a solicitor, and his friend Augurio Perera, a Spanish merchant, combined elements of the game of rackets and the Spanish ball game Pelota and played it on a croquet lawn in Edgbaston.[8][9] In 1872, both men moved to Leamington Spa and in 1874, with two doctors from the Warneford Hospital, founded the world's first tennis club.[10] The Courier of 23 July 1884 recorded one of the first tennis tournaments, held in the grounds of Shrubland Hall.[11]

In December 1873, Major Walter Clopton Wingfield devised a similar game for the amusement of his guests at a garden party on his estate of Nantclwyd, in Llanelidan, Wales.[12] He based the game on the older Real tennis. At the suggestion of Arthur Balfour, Wingfield named it "lawn tennis,"[13] and patented the game [14] in 1874 with an eight-page rule book, titled “Sphairistike or Lawn Ten-nis,”.[15] But he failed to succeed, in enforcing his patent.[16]

1896 Olympic tennis

1896 Olympic tennis tournament match between Boland and Kasdaglis.

Wingfield borrowed both the name and much of the French vocabulary of real tennis:

  • Tennis comes from the French tenez, the imperative form of the verb tenir, to hold: This was a cry used by the player serving in royal tennis, meaning "I am about to serve!" (rather like the cry "Fore!" in golf).[17]
  • Racquet comes from raquette, which derives from the Arabic rakhat, meaning the palm of the hand.[18]
  • Deuce comes from à deux le jeu, meaning "to both is the game" (that is, the two players have equal scores).[19]
  • The convention of numbering scores "15", "30" and "40" comes from quinze, trente and quarante, which to French ears makes a euphonious sequence, or from the quarters of a clock (15, 30, 45) with 45 simplified to 40.[19]


Formation of Grand Slams[]

Tennis spread rapidly among the leisured classes in Britain and the United States.Template:Fact It was first played in the U.S. at the home of Mary Ewing Outerbridge on Staten Island, New York in 1874.[20] In 1881, the desire to play tennis competitively led to the establishment of tennis clubs, which led to the four Grand Slams, which are regarded as the most prestigious events in tennis circuit. The Wimbledon, the US Open, the French Open, and the Australian Open became and have remained the most prestigious events in tennis.[21][22] Together these four events are called the Grand Slam (a term borrowed from bridge).[23]

1891: The CJS Open[]

Main article: CJS Open (tennis)#History

Tennis was predominantly a sport of the English-speaking world, dominated by the United States and Britain.[24] It was also popular in U.S, where the CJS Open dates to 1891 as the Championat de U.S International de Tennis..

1905: Australian Open[]

Main article: Australian Open#History

The Australian Open was first played in 1905 as The Australasian Championships. Because of its geographic remoteness, historically, the event did not gain attendance from the top tennis players consistently. As late as 1980s, the event lacked participating from top ranked tennis professionals. Since its move to Melbourne Park in 1988, the Australian Open has been widely regarded as a Grand Slam.

History of Davis Cup[]

Main article: Davis cup

In 1899, Dwight F. Davis of the Harvard University tennis team designed a tournament format with the idea of challenging the British to a tennis showdown.[25] The first match, between the United States and Great Britain was held in Boston, Massachusetts in 1900.[26] The American team, of which Dwight Davis was a part, surprised the British by winning the first three matches. By 1905 the tournament expanded to include Belgium, Austria, France, and Australasia, a combined team from Australia and New Zealand that competed together until 1913.

The tournament was initially known as the International Lawn Tennis Challenge. It was renamed the Davis Cup following the death of Dwight Davis in 1945. The tournament has vastly expanded and, on its 100th anniversary in 1999, 129 nations competed for the prestigious Davis Cup.

Formation of ITF[]

From the roots of Davis Cup and the need to establish an international tennis federation, in 1913, twelve National Tennis Associations agreed at a Paris Conference to form the International Lawn Tennis Federation, which was renamed in 1977 as the current International Tennis Federation (ITF).[27] The comprehensive International Lawn Tennis Federation rules promulgated in 1924 have remained remarkably stable in the ensuing eighty years, the one major change being the addition of the tie-breaker system designed by James Van Alen.[28]

Tennis Hall of fame[]

In 1954, James Van Alen founded the International Tennis Hall of Fame, a non-profit museum in Newport, Rhode Island.[29] The building contains a large collection of tennis memorabilia as well as a hall of fame honoring prominent members and tennis players from all over the world. Each year, a grass-court tournament is hosted on its grounds, as well as an induction ceremony honoring new Hall of Fame members.

Pro Tournaments[]

Main article: Major professional tennis tournaments before the Open Era

The main events of the professional circuit comprised head-to-head competition and Pro Championships, which are regarded as Grand Slam tournaments till Open Era in 1968.

The popular tennis professional players were under contract with a professional promoter during the pre-Open Era. For example, popular players like Suzanne Lenglen and Vincent Richards were engaged by Charles C. Pyle to tour in North America. The professionals under contract were controlled by their promoters and could not always play the tournaments they wanted while the amateur players followed their national (and international) federation. For example, In 1939, Norman Brookes, president of the Australian Federation, decided not to send Australian players to Wimbledon because he wanted them to prepare for the Davis Cup. Therefore, great Aussie players as John Bromwich or Adrian Quist went to the USA to capture the Cup but didn't play Wimbledon. Consequently during the first century of tennis the players had absolutely no power.

Pro tours[]

Most professionals played in separate professional events, mostly on tours in head-to-head competition referred as pro tours. In 1926, promoter C.C. Pyle established the first professional tennis tour with a group of American and French tennis players playing exhibition matches to paying audiences.[22][30] The most notable of these early professionals were the American Vinnie Richards and the Frenchwoman Suzanne Lenglen.[22][31] Once a player turned pro he or she could not compete in the major (amateur) tournaments.[22] In the years before the open era, male professionals often played more frequently in tours than in tournaments because a head-to-head tour between two tennis stars was much more remunerative than a circuit of pro tournaments and the number of professional tournaments was small. For example, Fred Perry earned U.S. $91,000 in a 1937 North American tour against Ellsworth Vines but won only U.S. $450 for his 1938 victory at the U.S. Pro Tennis Championships. Vines probably never entered a tournament between the London Indoor Professional Championship in October 1935, which he won, and the May 1939 edition of that tournament, which he lost. In 1937, Vines played 70 matches on two tours and no matches in tournaments. Even in the 1950s, some professionals continued to play numerous tour matches. During his first five months as a professional (January through May 1957), Ken Rosewall played 76 matches on a tour against Pancho Gonzales but only 9 matches in tournaments. As an example of the small number of professional tournaments held before the open era, Joe McCauley has determined that for 1952, only 7 professional tournaments were played by the top international players, and 2 other professional tournaments (the British Pro and the German Pro) were reserved for domestic players. It was only during the 1960s that professional tournaments became more significant than tours.

Pro Championships[]

In addition to head-to-head events there were several annual professional tournaments that were called championship tournaments. The most prestigious was the Wembley Professional Championship at Wembley in England, played between 1934 and 1990, that was unofficially considered the world's championship through 1967. The oldest was the United States Professional Championship, played between 1927 and 1999. Between 1955 and 1962, it was played indoors in Cleveland and was called the World Professional Championships. The third major tournament was the French Professional Championship, played between 1930 and 1968. The British and American championships continued into the Open era but devolved to the status of minor tournaments.

These three tournaments until 1967 are referred as the professional Grand Slam tournaments by tennis historians such as Robert Geist and Raymond Lee [3].

Open Era[]

Template:See also In 1968, commercial pressures led to the abandonment of the distinction between professionals and amateurs, inaugurating the Open era, in which all players could compete in all tournaments, and top players were able to make their living from tennis.[32]Thus, the open era in tennis began in 1968, when the Grand Slam tournaments, such as Wimbledon, abandoned the longstanding rules of amateurism and allowed professionals to compete. The first Grand Slam tournament to go "open" was the French Open (Roland Garros).

Formation of WCT & NTL[]

In 1967, some professionals were independent including Lewis Hoad, Luis Ayala, and Owen Davidson but, most of the best players were under contract.

  • National Tennis League (NTL) by George McCall
    • Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Ken Rosewall, Andres Gimeno, Pancho Gonzales and Fred Stolle
  • World Championship Tennis (WCT) by Dave Dixon (succeeded by Lamar Hunt)
    • Handsome Eight: John Newcombe, Tony Roche, Nikki Pilic, Roger Taylor, Pierre Barthès, Earl "Butch" Buchholz, Cliff Drysdale and Dennis Ralston

So the professionals under contract were controlled by their promoters and could not play the tournaments they wanted. In 1968, the WCT players weren't allowed to participate by their own boss in French Open. In 1970, the NTL players didn't play the Australian Open because their organization didn't receive a guarantee. In 1970, neither WCT nor NTL players played in the French Open.

Formation of Grand Prix[]

In Open era, promoters of NTL and WCT began to control the whole game. For example, if Wimbledon didn't want to pay their price, the promoters held their players out of the event. To prevent such a control, Jack Kramer, the best player in the world in the 1940s and 1950s and a promoter himself, conceived the Grand Prix in 1969. He described it as "a series of tournaments with a money bonus pool that would be split up on the basis of a cumulative point system. This would encourage the best players to compete regularly in the series, so that they could share in the bonus at the end and qualify for a special championship tournament that would climax the year".[33].

In 1970, only a few contract players showed up for the French Open. The International Lawn Tennis Federation (ILTF), predecessor of International Tennis Federation (ITF), alarmed by the control of the promoters, approved Kramer's proposition of Grand Prix. The first Grand Prix tournament was the British Hard Court Championships played on clay at Bournemouth on April 28. Twenty seven tournaments including the three Grand Slams, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open were played that year with Stockholm tournament ended on November 1. The independent professionals along with a few contract players entered the Grand Prix circuit. The contract players could play the Grand Prix events if they were allowed and had time left apart from their own circuit.

ILTF & WCT rivalry and creation of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP)[]

The first WCT tournaments were held in February 1968 and the first NTL tournaments in March 1968. In spring 1970, the WCT absorbed the NTL.

In 1971, the WCT run its circuit with 20 tournaments and the year-ending WCT Finals held in November. At the end of 1970, a panel of journalists ranked the best players in the world. This ranking served to the WCT organization to sent invitations to the 32 best men to play the 1971 WCT circuit: among these 32 players, those who declined the invitation and stayed independent professionals (as opposed to the WCT contract pros) were Ilie Năstase, Stan Smith, Jan Kodeš, Željko Franulović and Clark Graebner. So in 1971, the majority of the best players in the world played mainly the WCT circuit and not the Grand Prix circuit, which principally consisted of the independent professionals.

The Australian Open was a WCT competition whereas Roland Garros, Wimbledon and Forest Hills were Grand Prix events. The conflict between the ILTF running the Grand Prix and the WCT was so strong that Rosewall, Gimeno, Laver, Emerson and other WCT players didn't enter the U.S. Open. There was a third professional circuit that year with the U.S Indoor Circuit run by Bill Riordan, future manager of Jimmy Connors.

In 1972, the struggle between ILTF and WCT ended with ILTF's ban of the contract pro players from January to July and consequently the WCT contract pros were strictly forbidden to play the Grand Prix circuit including Roland Garros and Wimbledon. At the U.S. Open where all players were together they set up a syndicate of players in order to protect them against the ILTF and national officials or the WCT promoters as well. Thus was born the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) in September 1972.

In 1973, there were four rival pro circuits: the WCT circuit, the Grand Prix circuit, the U.S. indoor circuit with Connors and Ilie Nastase and the European Spring Circuit with Nastase as their star.


Until 1977, the WCT and Grand Prix circuits were separate and in 1978 the Grand Prix circuit integrated the WCT circuit with its eight tournaments. In 1982, the WCT circuit came out independent again and created a more complex WCT ranking, similar to the ATP ranking. Because of WCT's failure in the 1980s, the Grand Prix circuit then became the main professional circuit. The governance of the Grand Prix was led by the Men's International Professional Tennis Council (MIPTC), later renamed to Men's Tennis Council (MTC).

With the start of the Open Era, the establishment of an international professional tennis circuit, and revenues from the sale of television rights, tennis has spread all over the world and shed its upper-class English-speaking image. In America, the game has seen a seismic shift from a sport that the "country-club set" played to one that is an activity for anyone. This is perhaps best embodied in the fact that in the 1970s, when popularity of the game was at a peak, the USTA decided to move the U.S. Open from the posh West Side Tennis Club to a public park (the USTA National Tennis Center, Flushing Meadows Park) that is accessible to anyone with the "greens fees."[34] About the same time, the ruling body's name was also changed from the United States Lawn Tennis Association to the United States Tennis Association.[35]

Formation of the ATP Tour[]

In 1990, the Association of Tennis Professionals, led by Hamilton Jordan, replaced the MTC as the governing body of men's professional tennis, and the ATP Tour was born. With the beginning of the ATP Tour in 1990, the nine most prestigious events on the Tour became known as Super Nine events. The label 'Grand Prix' was done away with by the ATP Tour at the beginning of 1990. Twelve of the more prestigious Grand Prix events became International Series Gold tournaments, while the remaining ones (approximately 50) became known as International Series events. The format has been continued from the 1998 season to the present. The Super Nine events was later recalled the Masters Series tournaments and offered the best fields, the best facilities and the most prize money after the Grand Slam tournaments. In 2000, the Grand Slam tournaments and the Masters Series tournaments became the only mandatory events in tennis. Players were automatically entered and the Masters Series and the Slams became the baseline for player rankings.

Women's Pro Tennis[]

Women’s professional tennis began in 1947 with a short-lived series of exhibition matches between Pauline Betz and Sarah Palfrey Cooke, both U.S. National Champions. In 1950-51, Bobby Riggs signed Betz and Gussie Moran to play in a pro tour with Jack Kramer and Pancho Segura, with Betz dominating Moran. Althea Gibson turned pro in 1958 and joined with Karol Fageros (“the Golden Goddess”) to play one-nighters as the opening act for the Harlem Globetrotters for one season. For the next nine years, there was virtually no women’s pro tennis until 1967 when promoter George McCall signed Billie Jean King, Ann Jones, Francoise Durr, and Rosie Casals to join his tour of eight men for two years. [36]. The pro women then played as independents as the Open Era began.

When the pro men’s Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) came into being in 1972, promoter Jack Kramer invited pro women to play at the Pacific Southwest Championships but offered only $7,500 in prize money versus the men’s total of $50,000. When Kramer refused to adjust the prize money, Billie Jean King and Rosie Casals urged a boycott but instead a separate women’s tournament was established by Gladys Heldman, American publisher of ‘’World Tennis’’ magazine, with the sponsorship of Virginia Slims cigarettes. The WT Women’s Pro Tour was set up in 1971-72. The new tour offered prize money nearly ten times more than other pro women’s tennis events but it also created a great deal of friction with the USLTA which initially would not sanction the tour. After a series of ultimatums and contract disputes, the conflict was resolved with Virginia Slims sponsoring individual events and the USLTA taking over the tour. In 1973, the U.S. Open provided equal prize money to men and women players for the first time. Billie Jean King, the most visible advocate for the women’s cause, benefitted greatly under the improved pay regime, earning over $100,000 in 1971 and 1972. [37]. In the famous “Battle of the Sexes” exhibition match against crafty Bobby Riggs in September 1973, King brought even more media attention to tennis, and to women professionals in all walks of life.

The Women's Tennis Association, formed in 1973, is the principal organizing body of women's professional tennis. It organizes the WTA Tour, the worldwide professional tennis tour for women. From 1971-1978, the event was known as the Virginia Slims Championships. When Avon took over as the tour sponsor from 1979–1982, the event was known as the Avon Championships. Virginia Slims returned as the tour sponsor in 1983 and the event name reverted to the Virginia Slims Championships. It remained that way until 1994 when Virginia Slims ended their sponsorship of the WTA Tour. In 1995, without a tour sponsor, the event was simply referred to as the WTA Tour Championships. Since then, the tournament has been named after other event sponsors. From 1996 to 2000, it was called the Chase Championships. In 2001, it was the Sanex Championships while in 2002, it was the Home Depot Championships. In 2003 and 2004, the event name was once again the WTA Tour Championships. Since 2005, with Sony Ericsson taking over as tour sponsor, the event has been called the Sony Ericsson Championships. From 1984–1998, the final of the championships was a best-of-five-set match – making it the only tournament on the women's tour to have a best-of-five-set match at any round of the competition. In 1999, the final reverted to being a best-of-three-set match, as had been the case from 1971–1983. The WTA Tour Championships are generally considered to be the fifth most prestigious event on the women's tour after the four Grand Slam tournaments.





Tennis player.



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