Tennis is a very popular sport, played all over the world by millions of players, and can be played by people at all levels of society, and at all ages. Anybody who can hold a racket can play tennis, even people in a wheelchair. There are over seventeen million players in the USA alone.
The four major annual tennis competitions are the Grand Slam tournaments. This term comes from the game of bridge, rather than from baseball. The Australian Open starts the tennis year, and takes place in January each year. The French Open is the next tournament, with Wimbledon taking place in June each year. The US Open completes the four important competitions of the tennis year, and takes place in August every year. The Australian Open and the US Open championships are both played on hard courts, and the French Open is the only competition that is played on clay courts. Wimbledon is the only tournament played on grass courts, and is considered the peak of the tennis year, with millions of people all over the world watching the matches on television.
In 1900 a competition was introduced called the Davis Cup, which still today is an annual competition between men’s national tennis teams. The Federation Cup, a similar competition for women’s national teams, was established in 1963. Tennis has also been a full medal Olympic sport since 1988.
Historians believe that the origin of tennis was a game played in France in the twelfth century, where the ball was struck with the palm of the hand. In the sixteenth century rackets came into use, and the game began to be called tennis. This is believed to have come from the French term Tenez, which is a word meaning Receive!, something which was called by the server to his opponent when he began the serve. There are numerous references to King Henry VIII of England being very fond of playing this game in his youth.
1968 saw the beginning of the open era in tennis. Until then only amateur players were allowed to take part in the big competition, but from that date there was no distinction made between amateur and professional players, and all players were able to enter all competitions and to make a living from playing tennis. This Open era also established an international tennis circuit, popularity grew, and revenues were made from television rights.
The modern form of the game of tennis originated in Birmingham in England in the late nineteenth century, and rules have changed little since then. Two exceptions are the server having to keep one foot on the ground at all times, and the adoption in 1970 of the tie break. A recent introduction to the professional form of tennis has been the electronic review technology, coupled with a point challenge system. This system is called Hawk-Eye, and players are now allowed to contest a line call to win the point.
Betting on a tennis match can offer several types of bet that can be made. The most basic bet is the bet on the winner of a specific match, and this is the most popular wager. Big pay-outs are also given for an exact prediction for the scores of each set of online betting. Smaller bets can also be made on which player will make the most double faults and the most hits out of court.
Tennis also has an International Tennis Hall of Fame, established in 1954.