The history of tennis dates back to the 13th and 14th centuries, depending on its classification.
Mostly the history of tennis is remembered due to the peculiar way of counting in tennis or on the occasion of the traditions in Wimbledon.
So what is the story behind one of the most popular mass sports of tennis?
When Was Tennis Invented?
Historically, despite Wimbledon, tennis did not originate in England but in France. It was and always has been a setback game with a ball. The term tennis is probably derived from the French tenez (hold).
At the beginning, the balls were played with the bare hand without rackets and was called Cache (probably from the Latin captaire[catch, hunt]).
Leather balls or cork balls served. The game spread to Scotland until the end of the 15th century. Since it was still played with the palm of the hand (partly protected with towels) until 1495, it was also called Jeu de Paume (play with the palm of the hand).
At that time the tennis court was mostly a monastery, in whose cloister the inner courtyard served as a play area. The sloping roof was also included as a target area for the impact. This indirect beginning has been preserved to this day.
After the monks the game “Tennis” became more and more popular with the nobility and the “normal” citizens. Therefore, places with solid and reasonably level ground such as church courtyards or specially created ball courts and ball playgrounds were popular places for the game.
Where Was Tennis Invented?
The ball houses were characterized by flat, jumping flooring and mostly had dark walls. For reasons of contrast, the players were usually dressed in white.
This is where the term white sport for tennis comes from. Thanks to the later emergence of leather, wool and rubber balls, the bounce improved so that it was also possible to play outdoors on poorer but firm surfaces.
At the beginning of the 14th century, the first tennis clubs were established whose members had access to these popular playing fields. In 1464 the first tennis tournament with two different teams was held in Bruges.
Already at this time money (Sol and later Sou worth 15 deniers) was played for. Each point brought 15 deniers. From this developed the counting method, which has largely survived to this day and may seem strange to some tennis players at first glance.
At that time there were also opponents who did not like such “activities”, especially in the bourgeoisie or in religious surroundings. In England and France this was sometimes even punished.
Now, tennis is mainly played with tennis rackets (made of wood and only later with parchment or with diagonal gut string covering) and is spreading rapidly both regionally and through all strata of the population.
Tennis became a popular sport and numerous tennis courts and tennis halls were built within the framework of the conditions at that time.
Even in castles there are free and covered tennis courts (then Jeu de Paume). In 1533 King Francis the First even had a playground built on the sun deck of his ship La Grande Francoise.
Also in universities like Oxford, Cambridge and even Ingolstadt ball houses are built for tennis. In Germany but also in the tennis stronghold England the nobility dominates the entitlements (not quite rich people needed a license for their own tennis court) and/or the playing possibilities.
Who waits for Wimbledon, now Wimbledon appears. In 1877 the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club hosted the first major grass court tennis tournament. The balls are covered with white flannel and the rules are already very close to those of today.
From 1884 onwards, ladies also played in Wimbledon. Long white dresses and shoes with high heels were common at that time. The men also played in white long trousers and shirts.
In 1892 and 1896 the first German championships in tennis were played by men and women respectively. In 1900, 21-year-old Dwight Davis donated the so-called Davis Cup. Tennis nations still play for this trophy today.
1902 The German Lawn Tennis Association (DLTB) is founded in Berlin and later renamed DTB. The World Federation ITF was founded in 1913 as FILT in Paris.
We can say that the game has and will continue to inspire millions of people in the near future.