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First, early in the 11th century, players in France played this sport with their hands. It was called “Jeu de Paume”. In the 15th century the sport came to Poland and the players played with rackets. Now it is called “tennis”. It became popular in England and France. King Henry III was a big fan of the game.
There are many different kinds of courts, like grass, clay, or a sand. The goal of tennis is to hit the ball over the net into the other player’s court. When the other player cannot return the ball, a point is won. The game is played with two or four people. When it is played with two people, it is called “singles”, and when it is played with four people, it is called “doubles”. The court has "alleys" on each side, which are "fair" territory when playing doubles.
A tennis game has a number of sets. Each set has a number of games, and each game has points. The points are counted love (0, after the French l'oeuf), fifteen (15), thirty (30), and forty (40). If both players get to forty, the score is deuce from which 2 more points are needed to win the game. When one player reaches six games, it is one set. If it is a three-set match, the player who wins two sets first is the winner. If the game count reaches 5–5, the set must be won with two more games than the other player, like 7–5 or 8–6. If the game count gets to 6–6, a "tiebreaker" is played. In a tiebreak, players have to get at least seven points while getting two more points than the other player to win the set. In tiebreak points are called “one,” “two,” etc.
The game started in Germany during the 1700s. Tennis is now a sport that is played at the Olympics. They also have big tournaments like the U.S. Open, Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon. These four are known as Grand Slam events. Tennis’s official name is "lawn tennis".[source?] Since 1998, every September 23 has been called "Tennis Day".
There is also soft tennis. Soft tennis is different from regulation tennis. For example, the racket, ball and rules are much different. Soft tennis is popular in Japan. Thousands of people play soft tennis.
There are many different "shots" and "strokes", ways to hit the ball, in tennis. A stroke is the way the body is moved to hit the ball. A shot is how the ball is hit. These include:
- The backhand is a stroke hit by swinging the racquet away from the body. The stroke begins with the arm holding the racquet held across the body. It is then moved in front of the body to hit the ball. For a right-handed player, a backhand begins on the left side of his body, continues across his body as the ball is hit, and ends on the right side of his body. It can be either a one-handed or a two-handed stroke.
- The forehand is the opposite of the backhand. It starts with the arm outside of the body and moves across the body. For a right handed player, the arm starts on the right side of the body and moves across the body to the left side.
- A serve (sometimes called a service) is a shot to start a point. The serve is usually started by tossing the ball into the air and hitting it across the net. The serve may be done underhand or overhead. The overhead serve the most common form. The serve is done from behind the baseline (the line at the back of the court).
- A volley is a shot that is hit before the ball bounces on the ground. Usually, a player hits a volley while standing near the net. It is sometimes done farther back, in the middle of the court or even near the back.
- A drop shot is tapping the ball just over the net. A good drop shot travels just far enough that the opponent cannot run fast enough to get to it.
Four Grand Slams
- Australian Open (January)
- French Open ( May-June)
- Wimbledon (June - July)
- US Open (August-September)
Winning all the championships in one year in four great cups is called a Grand Slam. They are the most important tennis tournaments of the calender year. This is because of the world ranking points, tradition, prize-money, and public attention.[source?]
- ATP The official site for men's professional tennis
- WTA The official site for women's professional tennis
- Tennis Ball Hopper