Tennis is a game played between two players (singles) or between two teams of two players (doubles). Players use a stringed racquet to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court. Originating in Europe in the late 19th century, tennis spread first throughout the English-speaking world, particularly among the upper classes. Tennis is now once again an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society, by all ages, and in many countries around the world. Except for the adoption of the tie-breaker in the 1970s, its rules have remained remarkably unchanged since the 1890s. Along with its millions of players, millions of people follow tennis as a spectator sport, especially the four Grand Slam tournaments: Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open.


Main article: History of tennis
Tennis as the modern sport can be dated to two separate roots. Between 1859 and 1865, Major Harry Gem and his friend Augurio Perera developed a game that combined elements of rackets and Spanish ball game pelota, which they played on Perera's croquet lawn in Birmingham, England.[1][2] In 1872, along with two local doctors, they founded the world's first tennis club in Leamington Spa.[3] The Courier of 23 July 1884 recorded one of the first tennis tournaments, held in the grounds of Shrubland Hall.[4]

In December 1873, Major Walter Clopton Wingfield devised a similar game for the amusement of his guests at a garden party on his estate of Nantclwyd, in Llanelidan, Wales.[5] He based the game on the older sport of indoor tennis or real tennis. According to most tennis historians, modern tennis terminology also derives from this period, as Wingfield borrowed both the name and much of the French vocabulary of royal tennis and applied them to his new game.

The first championships at Wimbledon, in London were played in 1877.[6] On May 21, 1881, the United States National Lawn Tennis Association (now the United States Tennis Association) was formed to standardize the rules and organize competitions.[7] The U.S. National Men's Singles Championship, now the U.S. Open, was first held in 1881 at Newport, Rhode Island.[8] The U.S. National Women's Singles Championships were first held in 1887.[9] Tennis was also popular in France, where the French Open dates to 1891.[10] Thus, Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, the Australian Open, and the French Open (dating to 1905) became and have remained the most prestigious events in tennis.[11][12] Together these four events are called the Grand Slam (a term borrowed from bridge).[13]The comprehensive International Lawn Tennis Federation rules promulgated in 1924 have remained remarkably stable in the ensuing eighty years, the one major change being the addition of the tie-breaker system designed by James Van Alen.[14]The Davis Cup, an annual competition between national teams, dates to 1900.[15]

In 1926, promoter C.C. Pyle established the first professional tennis tour with a group of American and French tennis players playing exhibition matches to paying audiences.[12][16] The most notable of these early professionals were the American Vinnie Richards and the Frenchwoman Suzanne Lenglen.[12][17] Once a player turned pro he or she could not compete in the major (amateur) tournaments.[12]

In 1968, commercial pressures led to the abandonment of this distinction, inaugurating the open era, in which all players could compete in all tournaments, and top players were able to make their living from tennis.[18] With the beginning of the open era, the establishment of an international professional tennis circuit, and revenues from the sale of television rights, tennis has spread all over the world and has lost its upper-class English-speaking image.

In 1954, James Van Alen founded the International Tennis Hall of Fame, a non-profit museum in Newport, Rhode Island.[19] The building contains a large collection of tennis memorabilia as well as a hall of fame honoring prominent members and tennis players from all over the world. Each year, a grass-court tournament is hosted on its grounds, as well as an induction ceremony honoring new Hall of Fame members.

Manner of play

For individual terms see: Tennis terminology

The court

Main article: Tennis court
Enlarge picture
The dimensions of a tennis court, in metric units. (See imperial version).
Tennis is played on a rectangular, flat surface, usually grass, clay, or a hardcourt of concrete and/or asphalt. The court is 78 feet (23.77 m) long, and its width is 27 feet (8.23 m) for singles matches and 35.99 ft (10.97 m) for doubles matches.[20] Additional clear space around the court is required in order for players to reach overrun balls. A net is stretched across the full width of the court, parallel with the baselines, dividing it into two equal ends. The net is 3 feet 6 inches (1.07 m) high at the posts and 3 feet (914 mm) high in the center.[20]


The lines that delineate the width of the court are called the baseline (furthest back) and the service line (middle of the court). The short mark in the center of each baseline is referred to as either the hash mark or the center mark. The outermost lines that make up the length are both called the doubles sideline. These are the boundaries used when doubles is being played. The area between the doubles sideline and the lines next to them is called the doubles alley, which is considered playable in doubles play. These lines next to the doubles sideline are the singles sidelines, and used as boundaries in singles play. The line that runs across the center of a player's side of the court is called the service line because the serve must be delivered into the area between the service line and the net on the receiving side. Despite its name, this is not where a player legally stands when making a serve. The line dividing the service line in two is called the center line or center service line. The boxes this center line creates are called the service boxes; depending on a player's position, he will have to hit the ball into one of these when serving. A ball is out only if none of it has hit the line upon its first bounce. All the lines are required to be 2 inches in width. The baseline can be up to 5 inches wide if so desired.

Types of courts

There are three main types of court surfaces. Depending on the materials used, each surface provides a difference in the speed and bounce of the ball, which in turn can affect the level of play of individual players. The three most common surfaces are:
  • Clay - red clay (used at the French Open), green clay (an example of which is Har-Tru and used mainly in the U.S.) (in the Commonwealth countries "Hard court" means "Clay court")
  • Hard - examples are concrete, Rebound Ace (used at the Australian Open), coated asphalt (used at the U.S. Open)
  • Grass - used at Wimbledon
Indoor courts are also used so play can continue year-round. Common indoor surfaces are hard, carpet, and clay. Some players are more successful on certain surfaces and are known as "specialists" for that particular court.

Clay courts are considered "slow" because the loose surface causes the ball to lose speed rapidly and bounce higher. This makes it more difficult for a player to hit an unreturnable shot (a "winner") because the opponent has more time to reach and return the ball. Line calls are easily reviewable on this type of court because the ball generally leaves a visible mark. Courts are swept between sets, to erase any marks from the previous set.

Hardcourts are generally considered to be faster than clay courts. There are many different types of hardcourts, and, dependent on the construction of the court, can be relatively slow or fast. A fast hardcourt is characterised by low bounces, where fast-serving and hard-hitting players hold an advantage.

Grass is a fast surface and was the surface used at three of the Grand Slam tournaments until the Australian Open and the U.S. Open changed to hardcourts. Grass courts cause low ball bounces, which keep rallies short and gives hard-serving and hard-hitting players an advantage. This type of court also features unpredictable ball bounces, depending on the health of the grass and how recently it has been mown. For that reason, a volley from close to the net is a particularly appropriate shot on a grass court.

Professional players wear very different shoes for the three surfaces. Grass-court shoes are designed to grip the surface and prevent sliding. On a clay court, by contrast, sliding is an accepted and beneficial part of footwork skill. There is also a less common surface that is called "carpet". These are mainly indoor courts and are rubbery and hard, like hardcourts.

Play of a single point

Main article: Point (tennis)

The players (or teams) start on opposite sides of the net. One player is designated the server, and the opposing player, or in doubles one of the opposing players, is the receiver. Service alternates between the two halves of the court. For each point, the server starts behind his baseline, between the center mark and the sideline. The receiver may start anywhere on their side of the net. When the receiver is ready, the server will serve, although the receiver must play to the pace of the server.

In a legal service, the ball travels over the net (without touching it) and into the diagonally opposite service box. If the ball hits the net but lands in the service box, this is a let service, which is void, and the server gets to retake that serve. The player can serve any number of let services in a point and they are always treated as voids and not as faults. Let services are extremely unusual, and placing more than one let service in a single point takes a considerable amount of skill or luck. If the first service is otherwise faulty in any way, wide, long or not over the net, the serving player has a second attempt at service. There is also a "foot fault" which occurs when a player's foot touches the baseline or an extension of the center mark[21] before the ball is hit. If the second service is also faulty, this is a double fault and the receiver wins the point. However, if the serve is in then it is considered a legal service.

A legal service starts a rally, in which the players alternate hitting the ball across the net. A legal return consists of the player or team hitting the ball exactly once before it has bounced twice or hit any fixtures except the net provided that it still falls in the server's court. It then travels back over the net and bounces in the court on the opposite side. The first player or team to fail to make a legal return loses the point.


Main article: Tennis score
A tennis match comprises a number of sets, typically three for both men's and women's matches, the exception being at the major events (Wimbledon and the Australian, French and US Opens) where the men play best of five sets. A set consists of a number of games, and games, in turn, consist of points.

A game consists of a sequence of points played with the same player serving, and is won by the first player to have won at least four points and at least two points more than his opponent. The running score of each game is described in a manner particular to tennis: scores of zero to three points are described as "love" (or zero), "fifteen," "thirty," and "forty" respectively. When at least three points have been scored by each side and the players have the same number of points, the score is "deuce." When at least three points have been scored by each side and a player has one more point than his opponent, the score of the game is "advantage" for the player in the lead. During informal games, "advantage" can also be called "ad in" or "ad out", depending on whether the serving player or receiving player is ahead, respectively.

A game point occurs in tennis whenever the player who is in the lead in the game needs only one more point to win the game. The terminology is extended to sets (set point), matches (match point), and even championships (championship point). For example, if the player who is serving has a score of 40-love, he has a triple game point (triple set point, etc.).

A break point occurs if the receiver, not the server, has a game point. It is of importance in professional tennis, since service breaks are rare enough to create a substantial advantage for the receiver in the men's game. The advantage to the server is much less in the women's game, but match analysts like to keep track of service breaks anyway. It may happen that the player who is in the lead in the game has more than one chance to score the winning point, even if his opponent should take the next point(s). For example, if the player who is serving has a score of 15-40, the receiver has a double break point. Should the player in the lead take any one of the next two points, he wins the game.

A set consists of a sequence of games played with service alternating between games, ending when the count of games won meets certain criteria. Typically, a player wins a set when he wins at least six games and at least two games more than his opponent. When each player has won six games a tiebreaker is played. A tiebreaker, played under a separate set of rules, allows one player to win one more game and thus the set, to give a final set score of 7-6. Only in the final sets of matches at the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, Davis Cup, and Fed Cup are tie-breaks not played. A "love" set means that the loser of the set won zero games. For example if the score was 6 to 0, it would be 6 love. See "tennis terminology" (scroll down) for names given to unusual endings like the example here.

Matches consist of an odd number of sets, the match winner being the player who wins more than half of the sets. The match ends as soon as this winning condition is met. Some matches may consist of five sets (the winner being the first to win three sets), while most matches are three sets (the winner being the first to win two sets).

Rules variations

  • No-ad: The first player or doubles team to four points wins the game. One side does not have to win by two points. When the game score reaches deuce, the receiving player has the option to choose on which side of court they want to receive for the final game-deciding point.
  • Pro set: Instead of playing multiple sets, players may play one "pro set". A pro set is first to 8 (or 10) games by a margin of two games, instead of first to 6. A 12-point tiebreaker is usually played when the score is 8-8 (or 10-10). These are often played with no-ad scoring.
  • Super tie-break: This is sometimes played instead of a third set. This is played like a regular tie-break, but the winner must win ten points instead of seven. Super tie-breaks are used on the ATP and WTA tours for doubles and as a player's choice in USTA league play.
Another, however informal, tennis format is called "Canadian doubles". This involves three players, with one person playing against a doubles team. The single player gets to utilize the alleys normally reserved only for a doubles team. Conversely, the doubles team does *not* use the alleys when executing a shot. The scoring is the same as a regular game. This format is not sanctioned by any official body and is only played when a fourth player is not available for normal doubles.

“Australian doubles,” another informal and unsanctioned form of tennis, is played with similar rules to the “Canadian” style, only in this version, players rotate court position after each game. As such, each player plays doubles and singles over the course of a match, with the singles player always serving. Scoring styles vary, but one popular method is to assign a value of 2 points to each game, with the server taking both points if he or she holds serve, and the doubles team each taking one if they break.

Wheelchair tennis can be played by able-bodied players as well as people who require a wheelchair for mobility. An extra bounce is permitted. This rule makes it possible to have mixed wheelchair and able-bodied matches. It is possible for a doubles team to consist of a wheelchair player and an able-bodied player (referred to as "one-up, one-down"), or for a wheelchair player to play against an able-bodied player. In such cases, the extra bounce is permitted for the wheelchair users only.


In serious play, there is an officiating head judge or chair umpire (usually referred to as the umpire), who sits in a raised chair to one side of the court. The umpire has absolute authority to make factual determinations. The umpire may be assisted by line judges, who determine whether the ball has landed within the required part of the court and who also call foot faults. There also may be a net judge who determines whether the ball has touched the net during service. In some tournaments, certain line judges, usually those who would be calling the serve, are replaced by electronic sensors that beep when an out call would have been made. In some open-tournament matches, players are allowed to challenge a limited number of close calls by means of instant replay. The U.S. Open, the Miami Masters, U.S. Open Series, and World Team Tennis started using a "challenge" system in 2006 and the Australian Open and Wimbledon introduced the system in 2007. This used the Hawk-Eye system and the rules were similar to those used in the NFL, where a player gets a limited number of instant-replay challenges per match/set. In clay-court matches, a call may be questioned by reference to the mark left by the ball's impact on the court surface.

The referee, who is usually located off the court, is the final authority about tennis rules. When called to the court by a player or team captain, the referee may overrule the umpire's decision if the tennis rules were violated (question of law) but may not change the umpire's decision on a question of fact. If, however, the referee is on the court during play, the referee may overrule the umpire's decision.

Ball boys may be employed to retrieve balls, pass them to the players, and hand players their towels. They have no adjudicative role. In rare events (e.g., if they are hurt or if they have caused a hindrance), the umpire may ask them for a statement of what actually happened. The umpire may consider their statements when making a decision. In some leagues, especially junior leagues, players make their own calls, trusting each other to be honest. This is the case for many school and university level matches. However, the referee or referee's assistant can be called on court at a player's request, and the referee or assistant may change a player's call. In unofficiated matches, a ball is out only if the player entitled to make the call is sure that the ball is out.


Main article: Junior Tennis

In tennis, a junior is any player under the age of 18 who is still legally protected by a parent or guardian. Players on the main adult tour who are under 18 must have documents signed by a parent or guardian. These players, however, are still eligible to play in junior tournaments.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) conducts a junior tour that allows juniors to establish a world ranking and an Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) or Women's Tennis Association (WTA) ranking. Most juniors who enter the international circuit do so by progressing through ITF, Satellite, Future, and Challenger tournaments before entering the main circuit. The latter three circuits also have adults competing in them. Some juniors, however, such as Australian Lleyton Hewitt and Frenchman Gael Monfils, have catapulted directly from the junior tour to the ATP tour by dominating the junior scene or by taking advantage of opportunities given to them to participate in professional tournaments.

In 2004, the ITF implemented a new rankings scheme to encourage greater participation in doubles, by combining two rankings (singles and doubles) into one combined tally. Junior tournaments do not offer prize money except for the Grand Slams, which are the most prestigious junior events. Juniors may earn income from tennis by participating in the Future, Satellite, or Challenger tours. Tournaments are broken up into different tiers offering different amounts of ranking points, culminating with Grade A.

Leading juniors are also allowed to participate for their nation in the Junior Fed Cup and Davis Cup competitions as well. To succeed in tennis often means having to begin playing at a young age. To facilitate and nurture a junior's growth in tennis, almost all tennis playing nations have developed a junior development system. Juniors develop their play through a range of tournaments on all surfaces, accommodating all different standards of play. Talented juniors may also receive sponsorships from governing bodies or private institutions.

Match Play

A tennis match is intended to be continuous. Stamina is a relevant factor, so arbitrary delays are not permitted. In most cases, service is required to occur no more than 20 (ITF events) or 25 (ATP and WTA events) seconds after the end of the previous point. This is increased to 90 seconds when the players change ends (after every odd-numbered games), and a 120 second break is permitted between sets. Other than this, breaks are permitted only when forced by events beyond the players' control, such as rain, damaged footwear, damaged racquet, or the need to retrieve an errant ball. Should a player be determined to be stalling repeatedly, the chair umpire may initially give a warning followed by subsequent penalties of "point," "game," and default of the match for the player who is consistently taking longer than the allowed time limit.

In the event of a rain delay or other such proponent, the match must be resumed at a later time. On junior professional circuits the matches are to be resumed at the score which was at the time of the delay. However, as per new revisions beginning with the 2006 Australian Open, the ATP and WTA govern different regulations regarding delays; in the event of a rain delay, the match will resume while only the end of the previously completed set before the delay is official.

Balls wear out quickly in serious play and, therefore, in ATP and WTA tournaments, they are changed after every nine games with the first change occurring after only seven games, because the first set of balls is also used for the pre-match warm-up. However, in ITF serious tournaments like Fed Cup the balls are changed in a 9-11 style. Continuity of the balls' condition is considered part of the game, so if a re-warm-up is required after an extended break in play (usually due to rain), then the re-warm-up is done using a separate set of balls, and use of the match balls is resumed only when play resumes.

It has recently been proposed to allow coaching on court during a match on a limited basis. Also, technological review of official calls made its debut in a major tournament at the 2006 U.S. Open.


Main article: Tennis shots
A competent tennis player has eight basic shots in his or her repertoire: the serve, forehand, backhand, volley, half-volley, overhead smash, drop shot, and lob.


Main article: Serve (tennis)
Enlarge picture
Tim Henman serving.
A serve (or, more formally, a "service") in tennis is a shot to start a point. The serve is initiated by tossing the ball into the air and hitting it (usually near the apex of its trajectory) into the diagonally opposite service box without touching the net. The serve may be hit under- or overhand.

Experienced players strive to master the conventional overhand serve to maximize its power and placement. The server may employ different types of serve including Flat Serve, Topspin Serve, Slice Serve and Kick (American Twist) Serve. A reverse type of spin serve is hit in a manner that spins the ball opposite the natural spin of the server, the spin direction depending upon right- or left-handedness. As to say if the ball is spinning counterclockwise, it will curve right from the hitter's point of view and curve left if spinning clockwise.

Some servers are content to use the serve simply to initiate the point; advanced players often try to hit a winning shot with their serve. A winning serve that is not touched by the opponent is called an "ace"; if the receiver manages to touch it but fails to successfully return it, it is called a "service winner".


Players may use the continental, semi-western, western, extreme western or eastern grips during play. Different grips generally are used for different types of spin and shots.


Main article: Forehand
Enlarge picture
Roger Federer preparing to hit a forehand.
For a right-handed player, the forehand is a stroke that begins on the right side of the body, continues across the body as contact is made with the ball, and ends on the left side of the body. There are various grips for executing the forehand and their popularity has fluctuated over the years. The most important ones are the continental, the eastern, "semi-western" and the western. For a number of years the small, apparently frail 1920s player Bill Johnston was considered by many to have had the best forehand of all time, a stroke that he hit shoulder-high using a western grip. Few top players used the western grip after the 1920s, but in the latter part of the 20th century, as shot-making techniques and equipment changed radically, the western forehand made a strong come-back and is now used by many modern players. No matter which grip is used, most forehands are generally executed with one hand holding the racquet, but there have been fine players with two-handed forehands. In the 1940s and 50s the Ecuadorian/American player Pancho Segura used a two-handed forehand to devastating effect against larger, more powerful players, and many females and young players use the two-handed grips.


Main article: Backhand
Enlarge picture
Maria Kirilenko hits a backhand.
For right-handed players, the backhand is a stroke that begins on the left side of their body, continues across their body as contact is made with the ball, and ends on the right side of their body. It can be executed with either one hand or with both and is generally considered more difficult to master than the forehand. For most of the 20th century it was performed with one hand, using either an eastern or a continental grip. The first notable players to use two hands were the 1930s Australians Vivian McGrath and John Bromwich, but they were lonely exceptions. The two-handed grip gained popularity in the 1970s as Björn Borg, Chris Evert, Jimmy Connors, and later Mats Wilander used it to great effect, and it is now used by a large number of the world's best players, including Andre Agassi and Venus Williams. Andy Roddick uses the "extreme western" grip to create massive amounts of top spin. It is difficult to do this and could possibly cause injuries if done incorrectly. Two hands give the player more power, while one hand can generate a slice shot, applying backspin on the ball to produce a low and trajectory bounce. The player long considered to have had the best backhand of all time, Don Budge, had a very powerful one-handed stroke in the 1930s and 1940s that imparted topspin onto the ball. Ken Rosewall, another player noted for his one-handed backhand, used a deadly accurate slice backhand with underspin through the 1950s and 1960s. A small number of players, notably Monica Seles, use two hands on both the backhand and forehand sides.

Other shots

Enlarge picture
Justine Henin volleying.
A volley is made in the air before the ball bounces, generally near the net, and is usually made with a stiff-wristed punching motion to hit the ball into an open area of the opponent's court. The half volley is made by hitting the ball on the rise just after it has bounced, once again generally in the vicinity of the net. The swinging volley is hit out of the air as the player approaches the net. It is an offensive shot used to take preparation time away from the opponent. From a poor defensive position on the baseline, the lob can be used as either an offensive or defensive weapon, hitting the ball high and deep into the opponent's court to either enable the lobber to get into better defensive position or to win the point outright by hitting it over the opponent's head. If the lob is not hit deeply enough into the other court, however, the opponent may then hit an overhead smash, a hard, serve-like shot, to try to end the point. Finally, if an opponent is deep in his court, a player may suddenly employ an unexpected drop shot, softly tapping the ball just over the net so that the opponent is unable to run in fast enough to retrieve it. No matter what shot it is, a forehand, backhand, serve or volley, putting spin on the ball, knowing how to use spin to its best advantage, is what separates the top players from the rest.


See also:
Tournaments are often organized by gender and number of players. Common tournament configurations include men's singles, women's singles, doubles (where two players of the same gender play on each side), and mixed doubles (with a member of each gender per side). Tournaments may be arranged for specific age groups, with upper age limits for youth and lower age limits for senior players. There are also tournaments for players with disabilities. In the four Grand Slam tournaments, the singles draws are limited to 128 people for each gender.

Players may also be matched by their skill level. According to how well a person does in sanctioned play, a player is given a rating that is adjusted periodically to maintain competitive matches. For example, the United States Tennis Association administers the National Tennis Rating Program, which rates players between 1.0 and 7.0 in 1/2 point increments. Average club players under this system would rate 3.0-4.5 while world class players would be 7.0 on this scale.

Grand Slam winners

See also:
Male players who have played at least part of their careers during the open era and who have won at least two Grand Slam singles titles are as follows: Pete Sampras (14), Roy Emerson (12), Roger Federer (12), Rod Laver (11), Björn Borg (11), Ken Rosewall (8), Jimmy Connors (8), Ivan Lendl (8), Andre Agassi (8), John Newcombe (7), John McEnroe (7), Mats Wilander (7), Boris Becker (6), Stefan Edberg (6), Jim Courier (4), Guillermo Vilas (4), Arthur Ashe (3), Jan Kodes (3), Gustavo Kuerten (3), Rafael Nadal (3), Stan Smith (2), Ilie Năstase (2), Johan Kriek (2), Lleyton Hewitt (2), Yevgeny Kafelnikov (2), Patrick Rafter (2), Sergi Bruguera (2), and Marat Safin (2).

Female players who have played at least part of their careers during the open era and who have won at least two Grand Slam singles titles are as follows: Margaret Smith Court (24), Steffi Graf (22), Chris Evert (18), Martina Navrátilová (18), Billie Jean King (12), Monica Seles (9), Serena Williams (8), Justine Henin (7), Evonne Goolagong Cawley (7), Venus Williams (6), Martina Hingis (5), Hana Mandlíková (4), Arantxa Sánchez Vicario (4), Virginia Wade (3), Lindsay Davenport (3), Jennifer Capriati (3), Maria Sharapova (2), Nancy Richey Gunter (2), Tracy Austin (2), Mary Pierce (2), Amélie Mauresmo (2).

The greatest male singles players of all time

Main articles: Tennis,_male_players_statistics and World_number_one_male_tennis_player_rankings
A frequent topic of discussion among tennis fans and commentators is who was the greatest male singles player of all time. No consensus has ever existed, however. By a large margin, an Associated Press poll in 1950 named Bill Tilden as the greatest player of the first half of the 20th century.[22] From 1920-1930, Tilden won singles titles at Wimbledon three times and the U.S. Championships seven times. In 1938, however, Donald Budge became the first person to win all four Grand Slam singles titles during the same calendar year and won six consecutive Grand Slam singles titles in 1938 and 1939. Tilden called Budge "the finest player 365 days a year that ever lived."[23] And in his 1979 autobiography, Jack Kramer said that, based on consistent play, Budge was the greatest player ever.[24] Some observers, however, also felt that Kramer deserved consideration for the title. Kramer was among the few who dominated amateur and professional tennis during the late 1940s and early 1950s. Tony Trabert has said that of the players he saw before the start of the open era, Kramer was the best male champion.[25]

By the latter half of the 1950s and 1960s, Budge and others had added Pancho Gonzales and Lew Hoad to the list of contenders. Budge reportedly believed that Gonzales was the greatest player ever.[26] Gonzales said about Hoad, "When Lew's game was at its peak nobody could touch him.  ... I think his game was the best game ever. Better than mine. He was capable of making more shots than anybody. His two volleys were great. His overhead was enormous. He had the most natural tennis mind with the most natural tennis physique."[27]

During the open era, first Rod Laver and then more recently Björn Borg and Pete Sampras were regarded by many of their contemporaries as among the greatest ever. Cliff Drysdale has said that Laver is the greatest player ever.[28] Mats Wilander said, "The greatest player ever is not necessarily the player who has won the most. I would say that Björn Borg is the greatest player ever because he won Wimbledon five times in a row. And out of those five times, he won the French Open all of those five years, plus another year."[29] Laver has said that Sampras is "equal to anyone who has ever played the game."[30] John McEnroe has said that either Laver or Sampras is the greatest player ever.[31] Roger Federer is now considered by many observers to have the most "complete" game in modern tennis, with the potential to challenge the achievements of these past greats. He is an extremely skilled baseline and net player.[32] Many experts of tennis, former tennis players and some of his own tennis peers, believe Federer may become the greatest player in the history of the game.[33] [34] [35] [36] [37]. In an article in 'Tennis week' from September 14, 2007, the tennis historian Raymond Lee gives an indepth account of the question. His alltime list ranks Laver ahead of Borg and Tilden (tie), Federer, Gonzales, Rosewall, Budge, Lendl, Connors, Sampras in the top ten.[38]

See also



Other forms



1. ^ Tyzack, Anna, The True Home of Tennis Country Life, 22 June 2005
2. ^ "Lawn Tennis and Major T. H. Gem" Birmingham Civic Society
3. ^ Leamington Tennis Club. Retrieved on 2007-05-29.
4. ^ Introduction to Tennis. Retrieved on 2007-05-29.
5. ^ The History of Tennis - Mary Bellis
6. ^ The Start of Something Special - BBC Sport
7. ^ History of United States Tennis Association. Retrieved on 2007-05-29.
8. ^ Fact & History of Rhodes Island. Retrieved on 2007-05-29.
9. ^ Leading The Way - BBC Sport
10. ^ History of the French Open. Retrieved on 2007-05-29.
11. ^ Grand Slam - Australian Open
12. ^ Suzanne Lenglen and the First Pro Tour. Retrieved on 2007-05-29.
13. ^ Originality of the phrase "Grand Slam". Retrieved on 2007-05-29.
14. ^ James Henry Van Alen in the Tennis Hall of Fame. Retrieved on 2007-05-29.
15. ^ Davis Cup by BNP Paribas. Retrieved on 2007-05-29.
16. ^ History of the Pro Tennis Wars Chapter 2, part 1 1927-1928. Retrieved on 2007-05-29.
17. ^ Open Minded - Bruce Goldman
18. ^ Tennis, professional tournaments before the open era
19. ^ International Tennis Hall of Fame Information. Retrieved on 2007-05-29.
20. ^ Tennis court dimensions. Retrieved on 2007-05-29.
21. ^ Another theoretical foot fault would be incurred by touching a sideline; however this has probably never been called because a player in such an extreme position would be giving her or himself a definite disadvantage
22. ^ [1]
23. ^ Retrieved on 2007-05-29.
24. ^ The Game, My 40 Years in Tennis (1979), Jack Kramer with Frank Deford (ISBN 0-399-12336-9)
25. ^ Retrieved on 2007-05-29.
26. ^ Will Grimsley, Tennis: Its History, People, and Events (1971)
27. ^ (PDF). Retrieved on 2007-05-29.
28. ^ Retrieved on 2007-05-29.
29. ^ Retrieved on 2007-05-29.
30. ^ Retrieved on 2007-05-29.
31. ^ Retrieved on 2007-05-29.
32. ^ Retrieved on 2007-05-29.
33. ^ "Roddick: Federer might be greatest ever", The Associated Press, 2005-07-03. Retrieved on 2007-03-02. 
34. ^ "Federer inspires comparisons to all-time greats", The Associated Press, 2004-09-12. Retrieved on 2007-03-02. 
35. ^ "4-In-A-Row For Federer", The Associated Press, 2006-07-09. Retrieved on 2007-03-02. 
36. ^ Sarkar, Pritha. "Greatness beckons Federer", Reuters, 2005-07-04. Retrieved on 2007-03-02. 
37. ^ Collins, Bud. "Federer Simply In a League of His Own", MSNBC Website, MSNBC.COM, 2005-07-03. Retrieved on 2007-04-09. 
38. ^ [2]
Singles in tennis is the body of competition that features individual players competing one-on-one. There are separate singles competitions for men and women. The singles competition exists in counterdistinction to doubles.

Doubles features two players on each side.
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Singles in tennis is the body of competition that features individual players competing one-on-one. There are separate singles competitions for men and women. The singles competition exists in counterdistinction to doubles.

Doubles features two players on each side.
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racquet (or racket) is a sports implement consisting of a handled frame with an open hoop across which a network of cord is stretched. It is used for striking a ball in such games as squash, tennis, racquetball, and badminton.
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A tennis ball is the green, yellow, or white bouncing ball designed for the sport of tennis, designed similarly to a baseball, though they differ in color, weight and composition.
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tennis court is where the game called tennis is played. It is a firm rectangular surface with a low net stretched across the center.


Tennis is played on a rectangular flat surface, usually of grass, clay, concrete (hard court) or a synthetic suspended court.
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Olympic Games (often referred to simply as The Olympics or The Games[1]) is an international multi-sport event subdivided into summer and winter sporting events. The summer and winter games are each held every four years (an Olympiad[2]).
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Grand Slam or a Calendar Year Grand Slam. If the player or team wins all four consecutively, but not in the same calendar year, it is called a Non-Calendar Year Grand Slam.
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Location Melbourne
Venue Melbourne Park
Surface Hard / Outdoors
Men's Draw 128S / 128Q / 64D
Women's Draw 128S / 96Q / 64D
Prize Money AU$20,000,000
Official website
Grand Slam tournaments

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Location Paris (XVIe)
Venue Stade Roland Garros
Surface Clay / Outdoors
Men's Draw 128S / 128Q / 64D
Women's Draw 128S / 96Q / 64D
Prize Money €15,264,500
Official website

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Location Wimbledon, London Borough of Merton
 United Kingdom
Venue All England Club
Surface Grass / Outdoor
Men's Draw 128S / 128Q / 64D
Women's Draw 128S / 96Q / 64D
Prize Money £11,282,710
Official website

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Location Flushing, New York City
 United States
Venue USTA National Tennis Center
Surface Hard / Outdoors
Men's Draw 128S / 128Q / 64D
Women's Draw 128S / 96Q / 64D
Prize Money US$19,600,000
Official website

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Name change
1881: U.S. National Championship
1968: U.S. Open
Surface change
1891: Grass
1975: Clay Har-Tru
1978: Hard DecoTurf

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Major Thomas Henry Gem (21 May 1819 – 4 November 1881), known as Harry Gem, was an English lawyer, soldier, writer and sportsman.

Alongside his friend Augurio Perera, he is credited as the earliest inventor of the game of lawn tennis.
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Juan Bautista Augurio Perera was a Spanish-born, English-based merchant and sportsman, credited alongside his friend Major Harry Gem as the earliest inventor of the game of lawn tennis.
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Rackets (British English) or Racquets (American English), is an indoor racquet sport played in the United Kingdom, United States, and Canada. The sport is infrequently called "hard rackets," possibly to distinguish it from the related sport of squash (formerly called "squash
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Pelota (Spanish for ball) can refer to the popular and shortened names for a number of ball games:
  • Baseball
  • Basque pelota
  • Mesoamerican ballgame

See also

  • Valencian pilota

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Croquet is a game played both as a recreational pastime and as a competitive sport which involves hitting wooden or plastic balls with a mallet through hoops embedded into the grass playing arena.
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City of Birmingham
Birmingham Skyline viewed from Centenary Square

Coat of Arms of the City Council
Nickname: "Brum = Scum", "Brummagem", "Second City", "Workshop of the World", "City of a Thousand Trades"
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Dieu et mon droit   (French)
"God and my right"
No official anthem specific to England — the anthem of the United Kingdom is "God Save the Queen".
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Royal Leamington Spa

Leamington Spa ()
|240px|Leamington Spa (

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July 23 is the 1st day of the year (2nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 0 days remaining.


  • 1632 - 300 colonists bound for New France depart Dieppe, France.

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18th century - 19th century - 20th century
1850s  1860s  1870s  - 1880s -  1890s  1900s  1910s
1881 1882 1883 - 1884 - 1885 1886 1887

Subjects:     Archaeology - Architecture -
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Major Walter Clapton Wingfield (October 1833 – April 18, 1912) was a Welsh inventor of lawn tennis (1874), which he called Sphairistikè (Greek for "ball games").
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Cymru am byth   (Welsh)
"Wales forever"
"Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau"
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Real tennis is the original racket sport from which the modern game of lawn tennis, or tennis, is descended. It is also known as jeu de paume in France, "court tennis" in some parts of United States, and formerly called "royal tennis" in Australia.
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Location Wimbledon, London Borough of Merton
 United Kingdom
Venue All England Club
Surface Grass / Outdoor
Men's Draw 128S / 128Q / 64D
Women's Draw 128S / 96Q / 64D
Prize Money £11,282,710
Official website

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Canary Wharf is the centre of London's modern office towers
London shown within England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
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May 21 is the 1st day of the year (2nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 0 days remaining.


  • 878 - Syracuse is captured by the Muslim sultan of Sicily.

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18th century - 19th century - 20th century
1850s  1860s  1870s  - 1880s -  1890s  1900s  1910s
1878 1879 1880 - 1881 - 1882 1883 1884

Subjects:     Archaeology - Architecture -
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United States Tennis Association (USTA) is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the United States. The USTA was previously known as the United States National Lawn Tennis Association
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