As I was in the middle of a successful serve and volley this morning I realised that we here at The Gentleman have not addressed the very sport that I was occupying myself with. That sport was of course, tennis.
Tennis was invented by the French in the 12th century, however, instead of racquets, the French would use loaves of bread (the opponents bread was the spoils for the victor).
By the 16th century, during the great “French Loaf Famine”, the French decided to use non-wheat based foodstuffs and instead invented a rudimentary racquet. Also at the time tennis was played indoors since the game originated in bakeries whereby bakers would smack balls of dough at each other out of frustration of being struggling painters.
Henry the VIII of England was a big fan of this ‘real tennis’ as it was called (and by big, I mean he was very fat).
In the 1870s the game of tennis had evolved into using racquets and being played on a croquet lawn. This quickly became the tennis we know and love today.
The aim of tennis is to hit the ball over the net and into the opponents half of the court. They will then return the favour and this is called a “rally”. Whoever fails to keep the rally going loses the point.
The scoring was invented by the French and is therefore convoluted and non-sequential. If you win 1 point you get 15 points, win another and you get another 15, the third point you get only earns you 10 points and then you win. If your opponent gets to 40 points like your good self, then we enter a phase called “deuce” where each player must take advantage of their opponent in order to win. If you are on zero it is called ‘love’ since the French are known for their “zero making”.
Other forms of tennis include doubles tennis, American doubles (one versus two, the American’s don’t know what double of 1 is) and table tennis where each player must stand on large tables whilst playing.
So there you have it.