GET TO KNOW THE GAME: Ten Things to Know About Tennis

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 1.53.10 PM1. Where did tennis come from?

According to the International Tennis Federation there are many different theories as to when tennis was first invented. Some of these would date back to the 11th century when monks would play hand ball around the cloisters of monasteries. From here the game would involve into the game that we are familiar with today.

2. How to play.

The object of the game is hit the ball over the next without letting the ball bounce or bounce only once on your side. Congratulations, you are playing tennis. Again, yay sports!

3.  Courts

Tennis is played on different types of courts. Hardcourt, grass and clay are the three types of court for the majors. Hard courts are played at the Australian Open and the U.S. Open. The one clay court major is the French Open, and Wimbledon is played on grass.

4. Grand Slam

These are the four major tournaments played each year as stated above and are considered Grand Slams.

Australian Open which is located in Melbourne, Australia; French Open located in Paris; Wimbledon is located in London; and the U.S. open is located in New York City. Winning all four of these tournaments in a single year is considered a Grand Slam. The last male to complete the calendar-year grand slam was Rod Laver in 1969, and the last female to do so was Steffi Graf in 1988. This has been done only six total times by men and women combined.  There are many other tennis tournaments throughout the world all year long. Visit USTA, ATP or WTA for different tournaments. Every four years a player will have the chance to complete the “Golden Slam”. This is winning all four Grand Slam tournaments and the Olympic gold medal. The only athlete to do this was Steffi Graf in 1988

5. Singles vs Doubles

Singles would be tennis with one person playing against one person. Doubles is tennis with two people playing against two other people. Doubles have the court “stretched” out a little bit more. The serve still must be in the same place as singles, but after that, the court opens up nine extra feet. Doubles is a typically played at a faster rate with both players on a team wanting to get to the net as fast as they can.

6. Scoring.

Simple, right? Not so much. If you are not familiar with with the sport itself, you might be confused about the scoring. You must win four points to win a game, and you must win by two.

There are six games in one set of tennis. You must win two sets in a best of three match, and you must win three sets in a best of five match. Yay sports! For the Olympics, men and women play a best of three match.

Scoring system is weird, but it works.

No point or zero is “Love”

One point is “15”

Two points is “30”

Three points is “40”

Fourth point is “Game”

Let’s say that a game is 40-30, and someone wins a point to tie the game at 40, this is called “deuce” (yes, weird terminology but we will get to that later). From here, a player would need to win two more points to win and must win these in a row since you have to win by two. From the tied score or “deuce,” the person who would win the first point would get the advantage, and this is referred to as “AD”. If someone has the advantage or “AD” and they lose the next point it would go back to “deuce,” and this would go on until someone wins two points in a row to take the game.

Once you win a game, you would get one point for that game. You must win six of these games to win a set and again, you must win by two games to take the set. If the game score is 5-4, and the person with four games wins the next game to tie it at 5-5, then someone would have to win the next two to take the set. This would put the score at 7-5, but if it turns out they split the next two games and tie 6-6, it would go to a “tie breaker”. The tiebreaker goes by single points (1,2,3,4 and so on). The winner would be the first one to 7 and win by two. You will keep playing until someone loses by two even if you must play up until the score for example is 22-20.

7. Players

Players you need to know or may already know the names.

Top five list of male players by career prize money according to ATP:

  1. Novak Djokovic, Serbia, $102,813,310
  2. Roger Federer, Switzerland, $98,830,825
  3. Rafael Nadal, Spain, $78,224,222
  4. Andy Murray, Great Britain, $49,471,297
  5. Pete Sampras, United States, $43,280,489 (Retired)

Top five list of women players by career prize money according to WTA:

  1. Serena Williams, United States, $80,899,060
  2. Maria Sharapova, Russia, $36,484,486
  3. Venus Williams, United States, $34,153,187
  4. Victoria Azarenka, Belarus, $28,244,443
  5. Kim Clijsters, Belgium, $24,442,340

8. Grunting

We all notice it if we watch tennis on TV. I really don’t know how to explain why, but some do it, and some don’t, and a few tend to really go all out with this. For many this could be a habit and a part of their game. A recent incident with one player becoming very annoyed with his opponent’s grunting during a point ended badly for him. Robin Haas mocked his opponent’s grunt very loudly mid-point and the umpire called a penalty. USA Today has the video of the incident and you can view it here.

9. Olympic tennis balls

There are five different events during the Olympics. Men’s and Women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles. According to Rio 2016, they will compete with about 32,000 tennis balls. That is nearly 4,000 pounds of tennis balls. This would compare to a fully grown great white shark. This number of tennis balls are needed. Each match would start with six balls and then change after the first seven games. The ball changes will occur every nine games after that. 

10.Tennis Etiquette

Many things about tennis that should be known. When attending an event, you must be silent during play. From the serve till the point end it is considered disrespectful to talk or yell during a point. During very long rallies or an amazing play, you will hear a low mumble or “ooh” but nothing too loud. After the point, you will hear anything from a pity clap to a loud roar depending on who is playing and the situation of the match.

One of the most known dress etiquette is at Wimbledon. You will notice that every athlete from head to toe is wearing all-white clothes. This is a tradition that is forced very strictly. If this dress code is broken you can be forced to change and if that does not happen, you may face disqualification.

Cory Craig

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