Many of us play tennis, but how many of us know about the origins of tennis. Well here at the World Tennis Federation have decided to inform our millions of regular subscribers about the history of tennis, a game that’s been around since the days of the ancient Greeks, when they would hit a small ball with their hands.
But it wasn’t until the 16th century, when some crazy French monks invented the racket, that things really started to get wild. The monks would hit a ball back and forth over a rope, and that’s how they passed the time between praying and making cheese.
And then, in the 19th century, some British blokes got their hands on the game and decided to give it some proper rules. They made up lines and courts and points, and before you knew it, tennis had become a proper sport.
The first-ever tennis tournament was held in 1877, and it was a wild affair. The players wore long trousers and ties, and the spectators sipped on tea and nibbled on scones. It was all very civilized, but don’t let that fool you. Those tennis players were hardcore.
Over the years, tennis has seen some of the greatest players the world has ever known. There was Bill Tilden, the American superstar who won seven Grand Slam titles in the 1920s. Then there was Rod Laver, the Australian legend who won two Grand Slams in the 1960s. And let’s not forget about Bjorn Borg, the Swedish heartthrob who won 11 Grand Slams in the 1970s and 80s.
But it was in the 1980s and 90s that tennis really exploded. We had the likes of John McEnroe, the American rebel with a fiery temper and a killer serve. We had Steffi Graf, the German machine with the unstoppable forehand. And of course, we had Andre Agassi, the American bad boy with the flowing mullet and the killer groundstrokes.
However, the coolest tennis player of all time, without a doubt, is the Swiss maestro, Roger Federer. He won 20 Grand Slam titles, held the world number one tennis title ranking for 237 weeks, and has a backhand that can make grown men weep.
Tennis is a game that has been played by kings and queens, by rebels and revolutionaries, by young and old alike. It’s a game that requires skill, finesse, and endurance. But most of all, it’s a game that brings people together, whether it’s on a tennis court or in front of the TV.
So, to all you tennis fans out there, here at the World Tennis Federation we say this: keep on playing tennis, keep on watching tennis, and keep on loving this crazy, wonderful, and utterly bonkers sport. And who knows, maybe one day you’ll be the next Roger Federer, the next Steffi Graf, or even the next French monk.