Tennis is one of the oldest organized sports in the world. The modern game dates back all the way to the early 1860’s, abut has been played for centuries before then. The game has changed so much and there are many facts that have been lost with the times. Here are 10 facts about tennis that you might not have known.
Racquets were not originally a part of the game
Tennis started out as a game without racquets. I know it sounds silly, but tennis was originally played with your hands. Yes, your hands. The French version of the game known as jeu de paume, which translates to game of the palm, was popular in the 12th century. Racquets were not added to the game until the 16th century and that is when racquet sports in Europe began to take off.
What is on top of the Wimbledon trophy?
Did you know that the Wimbledon trophy for the men’s singles champion is crowned with a pineapple? What does the pineapple have to do with tennis? Absolutely nothing. It is believed that English navy captains put pineapples on top of their gate posts after returning from sailing out at sea. However, there is no exact reason for why the pineapple sits on top of the trophy, but it’s pretty unique.
Television changed how the tennis ball looks
Originally, tennis was played with a white ball because it was visible on every court, but on television it was hard to see the ball. In 1972, the bright yellow ball was introduced to allow television viewers to better track the ball during a match. Wimbledon did not adapt the yellow ball until 1986, and it is now the standard for all tennis matches.
Fashion has changed for women in tennis
In the past 100 years, the game hasn’t changed much, but women’s wardrobes have made leaps and bounds. In the early 1900s, women wore full length dresses when they played tennis. Not only did these dresses cover players’ ankles, but they also had long sleeves. Skirts were introduced to tennis during the 1920s, but the long sleeves remained. It wasn’t until the 1940s and 50s when short sleeved shirts and more functional skirts were worn by women in tennis. Now, skirts and short sleeve tops are the staple for women for increased mobility. Wouldn’t it be bizarre to see Serena and Venus in full dresses?
Even in tennis, Love is the unknown
The points system for tennis (0-15-30-40) has been around for centuries, but where did it come from? Nobody knows. Not only is the origin of the scoring system a mystery, but so is the term “Love.” There are no traces back in history. It has just always been that way and it will always be a mystery why tennis is scored the way it is.