Here is a list of 10 fun facts about the sport of tennis which are sure to make your eyes widen in surprise.P.S. We haven't included the marathon 2010 Wimbledon match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut because, well, that's not really surprising anymore!
10. Tennis originated in France and is based on a game called 'Jeu de paume'
Long before the emergence of lawn tennis, agame called 'Jeu de paume' (game of the palm) was played in 12th centuryFrance, which is believed to be the forerunner of the sport as it exists today. The game was similar to modern-day tennis, but the players used their bare hands to playinstead of racquets.
9. The world's oldest tennis court is still in use today
The Royal Tennis Court locatedat Hampton Court Palace, London is the world's oldest tennis court and it is still in use.Built between 1526 and 1529, it was Henry VIII's preferred venue to indulge his love of tennis. Legend has it that he was given the news of Queen Anne Boleyn's execution while he was playing tennis on the court. The game played on this court is slightly different from modern tennis, however - the sport is called 'real tennis', and is played indoors.
8. The scoring system is based on the clock face
The origins of the 15, 30, 40 scoring system are lost in the records of time, but the explanation most commonlygiven is that they were based on a clock face at one end of the court. The first point was the first quarter mark that the minute hand struck on the clock, i.e., 15, and the second point was the second quarter mark struck.Because 45 took too long to say, the third pointwas shortened to 40.
7. Jimmy Connors has won the US Open on three different surfaces
Legendary tennis playerJimmy Connors holds the honour of being the only tennis player tohavewon the prestigious US Open on three different surfaces -grass at Forest Hills in 1974, clay at Forest Hills in 1976, and hard court in 1978 at Flushing Meadows.
6. A Grand Slam final once finished in 34 minutes!
That's how dominant Steffi Graf was in her prime. In the 1988 French Open final, Graf demolished Natasha Zvereva 6-0, 6-0 in a completely one-sided match that took all of 34 minutes to complete! That is some beat-down.
5. A 13-year-old has competed at Wimbledon
In 1907, Austrian tennis playerMita Klima becamethe youngest player to have ever played atWimbledon. She was 13 years old when she participated in the prestigious tournament. Unfortunately, she lost in the first round.
4. The tennis ball only stays in play for 20 minutes in a standard match
As most of us have seen,a proper competitive tennis match lasts for about 2hours on an average, or even more.But did you know that the tennis ball remains in action (i.e., in a state of movement) foronly about 20 minutesin a standard 2.5 hours match? The pros certainly spend a lot of time taking breaks in the middle of a match!
3. Yellow tennis balls were used for the first time in 1986
Yellow tennis balls were introduced in 1972 by Mike Davies keeping in mind thatthey were more visible on (colour) television. Those tennis balls were used in Wimbledon for the first time in 1986. Before that, the balls used were usually white in colour.
2. Tennis was originally played on an hour-glass shaped court
Originally, lawn tennis was played on an hour-glass shaped court with a net that was 4ft 8in high. A modern day net measures3.5ft at the posts and3ft in the middle.
Rectangular courts were introduced in 1875 by the All England Croquet Club at Wimbledon when it decided to add tennis to its repertoire.
1. Maria Sharapova's grunt is louder than an aircraft
Maria Sharapova's on-court grunt or shriek has been officially recorded at a volume as high as 101 decibels. That is louder thana motorcycle, a lawnmower anda small aircraft landing. It is also about thesame volume as an ambulance siren, and only five decibels quieter than a lions roar. And guess what, Sharapova is not even the loudest player! Michelle Larcher de Brito's grunt has been recorded at 109 decibels. Imaginehow courageous their opponents must be to face that kind of noise!