GRAND SLAM TOURNAMENT IN THE US OPEN
Tennis is played in almost every country and can be played in every place as long you got a racket and a ball. This makes it such a great game loved by everyone. Championships are held almost in every country. The major international championships are in England, France, the USA and Australia. They have huge world wide coverage on TV and a very devoted crowd at the live matches.
Although it is played on any surface and at any level but the games we call tennis is really lawn tennis and 120 years old. It is assumed that the game as such was started in France in the Middle Ages. The nobility played a game in a walled and roofed court using their hands to strike a ball.
When a wooden racket was invented the game was first introduced in Scotland and then in England. Henry VIII built the special tennis in Hampton Court and it became world famous. It is even still used today. Tennis was popular with Royalty and also they are the only ones who could afford it in those days, it became Real Tennis (real is a Spanish word for royal).
|LAWN TENNIS IN US 1887|
Major Walter Wingfield established in 1874 an outdoor tennis and played on any level surface. The hard leather ball was replaced by a hollow rubber ball which would bounce off on grass. This game was called sphairistike (Greek for ball game) became so popular that it spread fast everywhere. It was the beginning of today's lawn tennis.
The All English Croquet Club at Wimbledon, in 1877, had financial problems and couldn't repair their pony roller to keep the courts smooth. They decided to add the words 'Lawn Tennis' and held a tennis match. This was the first Wimbledon tournament and they received £10 which helps towards the repairs. It was also the first time that the ball was covered in white cloth. The court is more or less still the same size today
Until the Frenchwoman Suzanne Lenglen played in Wimbledon in 1919 in a one piece frock the women tennis players wore long-sleeve shirts, corsets, angle-length skirts, petticoats and ties. They were amazed how easily she could leap forward. She won the tournament seven times. Apparently, she was also a very graceful and gifted player. Till such time there was hardly any interest in women tennis tournament from the public. Suzanne Lenglen brought the woman tennis to the attention of the crowd.
1931 The stocking were left off, divided skirts appeared and soon shorts were worn.
As mentioned before the racket used to be made of wood but today's racket is made of graphite. The strength of graphite, lightness and durability gives the player the possibility to hit the ball much harder. 1987 Wimbledon was the last time wooden rackets were used. The manufacturers experimented with aluminium and steel but it proved not very successful.
The rackets are then strung with natural animal gut or nylon. However, top Players prefer natural animal gut because they hold the tension better and absorb the shock more. The balls can be hit with a speed up to 200km/h and the quality of the racket is paramount.
Tennis balls are made of rubber and covered with man-made fibres. These balls are then pressurised to increase a higher bounce. Due to the hard hits the pressure seeps out a little. Therefore, after the first seven games new ones are being given. After this every nine games.
Tennis courts can have various surfaces. It can be grass, asphalt, wood cement, clay and synthetics. The fastest surface it grass but it can wear out quickly and gets boggy with rain.
A tennis court consists of two lines on the side and the inner line is called the tramline. On the top and bottom is a line and further down towards the middle a second line which is called service line. Another service line is in the middle, length-ways, from one service line to the other. In the middle across is the net.
Tennis is played by two players and called a single. It also can be played by four players and is called a double. A single is played within the tramline and if the ball hits over the tramline it is as 'out'. When a double is played the whole court is used. You can watch women doubles and men double and also mixed doubles.
The basic idea is to strike the ball across the net in such a way that the opponent cannot play it back. To start the game one player has to stand behind the baseline or service line, throws the ball up and hits it with the racket. If the ball hit the net it is called 'fault'. The same if the ball hits outside the opponent's area. If the ball hits the net and falls over it is called 'let' and it counts. If the server (the one player starts the game) steps over the baseline, walks or runs before the player hits the ball to serve, it is called a 'foot fault'; two foot faults the opponent gets a point. After a successful serve the two players return the ball every time until one fails. If the ball bounces twice on one side, hit the net or out of court it is a loss of a point.
To win a game a score of four is needed and lead by at least two points. The first point is called 15, the second 30, the third 40 and the fourth 'game point'. Zero points are call love. It takes six games to win a set and it includes a lead of two games. Most matches are played with three sets. Men's matches have often five sets. A three-set match the winner has to have two winning set. A five-set match the winner has to have three winning set.
In 1970 the tie break was introduced. When players reach 6-6, players swap service every two points. The first to win seven points takes the game and set but it has to include a two point lead; otherwise the tie point continues.
In a professional tennis are 12 officials. The umpire, a net court judge and 10 linesmen.
THE BIG TOURNAMENTS
Tennis matches can and are played at all levels. However, the four tournaments for professional are ALL-ENGLAND CHAMPIONSHIP in Wimbledon, The US-OPEN in Flushing Meadow, the MELBOURNE OPEN in Melbourne and the FRENCH OPEN in Paris. They are also known as GRAND SLAM events. To win the Grand Slam means to win all four titles at the same time. The player, Rod Laver of Australia, won it as amateur in 1962 and as professional in 1969.
Another important event is the International Team Tennis. The most famous is the Davis Cup for men. The United States won it 30 times between 1900 and 1992. The Wightman Cup for women is played between Britain and the US.
It can be a profitable game for top players. Prizes of top tournaments can run into hundreds of thousand of pounds or dollars. Just to give you an idea that the 1994 Wimbledon prize money was £5,682,170 and the men's single champion win of £345,000. If the name is well known they also receive big money from endorsing products.
Pete Sampras (USA) won in 1990 a sum of US$2 million in Munich in the Grand Slam Cup match and gave $200,000 to charity.
Steve Denton on 29 July 1984 became the fastest server with a speed of 222km/h at Beaver Creek, Colorado.
Czech-born Martina Navratilova move to the USA. She was one of the most successful women. Nine times singles champion at Wimbledon. At the age of 38 she retired.
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