Tennis is a racket sport that can be played individually against a single opponent, or between teams of two players each. It is also a globally popular spectator sport and is played by millions of recreational enthusiasts, as well. Let’s uncover more about it.

52 Interesting facts about tennis

1. Tennis is believed to have originated in the monastic cloisters in northern France in the 12th century. Interestingly, the ball was then struck with palm of the hand. At that time it was named “jeu de paume” (game of the palm). Rackets came into use during the 16th century.

2. The word “Tennis” comes from the Anglo-Norman term “Tenez.”

The All England lawn Tennis and Croquet Club
The All England lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. Photo by – Jay Galvin

3. Wimbledon, or the Wimbledon Championships, is the oldest tennis tournament in the world, and also considered to be the most prestigious.

4. The first Wimbledon was played in 1877. It is also the first of the four “Grand Slams” to be founded.

5. The US Open was founded in 1881, the French in 1891, and the Australian in 1905. These four major tournaments have been designated as “Grand Slam” tournaments.

6. A player is said to have won a Career Grand Slam if they win all four majors at any time during their career; a Non calendar-Year Grand Slam if they win the four majors consecutively, but not in the same year, and a Grand Slam if they win all four majors in a single year.

7. The longest tennis match took 11 hours and 5 minutes to complete. It was played between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut. Ultimately, John Isner triumphed with a score line of 6–4, 3–6, 6–7, (7–9), 7–6(7–3), 70–68 (final set).

8. Tennis is also an Olympic sport, and it can be played by wheelchair users.

9. The Davis Cup dates to 1900. It is an annual competition between men’s national teams.

10. Did you know that the Fed Cup, which is an analogous competition for women’s national teams, was founded in 1963 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ITF?

11. The year 1968 marked the beginning of the open era in professional tennis. The French Open was the first “Grand Slam” event to go open.

Facts about tiebreaks or tiebreakers in Tennis

12. Did you know that the tiebreaker, or tiebreak, was invented by James Van Alen in 1965?

13. Originally, two types of tiebreakers were introduced in the game by Van Alen. The one that would end after a maximum of 9 points was called the “sudden-death tiebreaker,” while the one with 12 points was called the “lingering death” tiebreak. The 12-points tiebreak continues until one player or team wins by a margin of at least two points and with a minimum of 7 points.

14. The Davis cup first adopted the tiebreaker in all sets except the final set in 1989, and made amendments in their rules to adopt the tiebreakers for all five sets in 2016.

15. 1971 – the tiebreak was introduced in Wimbledon.

16. The US Open is the only major tournament to use a tiebreak in the final set for singles.

17. Don Budge is the only male player in tennis history to have won six consecutive Grand Slam singles titles, from Wimbledon in 1937 to the US Open in 1938.

18. The fastest serve in men’s tennis came from the racket of Australian Sam Groth at 283 km/h.

19. Germany’s Sabine Lisicki hit a serve 210 km/h—the fastest ever recorded in women’s tennis.

20. In 2007, the prize money for Wimbledon winners became equal for men and women.

21. The term “Love” used in the scoring system of tennis is said to have originated from the French word for “egg,” l’oeuf, because a zero on a scoreboard resembles an egg. However, these claims are unsubstantiated.

22. In the men’s game, Roger Federer has earned 17 Grand Slam singles titles while on the women’s side, Margaret Court has 24 singles majors.

23. Did you know that if the ball hits a player’s racket, body or any part of their clothing before it lands, it is their opponents point (even if it would have gone out)?

24. Arthur Ashe was the first African American to win the US open. He won the tournament for the first and the only time in 1968. He said –

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

25. The average age of Ball Boys/Girls who serve at Wimbledon is 15. every year, 250 of these young kids are selected to serve at the tournament.

26. Rufus – a Harris Hawk – is stationed at Wimbledon to keep its sky clear of local pigeons. Would you believe that this hawk has 5000 followers on Twitter?

Rufus hawk Wimbledon
Interesting facts about Tennis: Rufus Hawk ready for 2016 season. Photo credit – Twitter

27. Players must submit their clothing to the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club for approval before participating in the Wimbledon championships.

Did you know?

28. The game of Tennis also became an indirect reason for the death of King James I of Scotland.

29. Every year, 24 tons of strawberries are consumed during Wimbledon.

30. In the earlier years of Wimbledon, women wore full-length dresses.

31. Roger Federer has scored 9586 aces to this day, placing him in the third spot on the list of most aces, while Ivo Karlovic tops the list with 10,519 aces.

Roger Federer.
Interesting facts about tennis: Roger Federer. Photo by – Marianne Bevis

32. Roger Federer leads all men’s tennis players in terms of the highest amount of career prize money. He had collected 97.3 million U.S. dollars as of December 14, 2015.

33. 1972 is the year when The Association of Tennis Professionals was formed.

Interesting facts about tennis balls, rackets, courts

34. As per The International Tennis Federation, the weight of a tennis ball must be between 56.0 and 59.4 grams.

35. Tennis balls were originally white. In 1986, yellow balls were first introduced at Wimbledon.

36. The overall permissible length of a tennis racket is 29 inches.

37. In the beginning, tennis courts were hourglass shaped. Rectangular courts have been in existence since 1875.

38. A standard tennis court is 27 feet wide (for singles) and 78 feet long. The net is 3 feet, 6 inches high. For doubles, the width is 36 feet while the length remains the same.

39. Clay, Hard, Glass, Carpet and Wood are the five types of court surfaces used in professional tennis.

40. At Wimbledon, the grass is cut to a height of exactly 8 mm during the event.

41. An estimated 54,250 tennis balls are used during the Wimbledon.

About – players, matches, trophies and stadiums

42. Goran Ivanisevic is the only Wimbledon winner whose name alternates consonants and vowels.

43. Boris Becker is the youngest player ever to win a Wimbledon title. He is also the only unseeded player in history to win the prestigious title. He was 17 years old in 1985 when he won it.

44. The shortest tennis match lasted a mere 20 minutes. It was played between Susan Tutt and Marion Bandy in 1969 at Wimbledon.

45. The Roland Garros Stadium, which hosts the French Open, is named after a French aviatorRoland Garros.

46. The winner’s trophy at Wimbledon remains on display at the All England Club’s museum as winners do not take their trophies with them. However, they are given small replicas of the official trophies.

47. The golden cup given to the men’s winner dates back to 1887, while the trophy given to women, called the “salver,” dates back to 1864.

48. Tanking is a term in tennis for losing a match or “fixing” it for some benefit.

49. Tennis elbow is an inflammation of the tendons that join the forearm muscles on the outside of the elbow.

50. The loudest grunt, which reached 105 decibels, came from Maria Sharapova in 2009 during Wimbledon.

51. The first set of sisters to ever win Olympic gold medals in tennis were Venus and Serena Williams.

52. The Olympics introduced tennis in 1896, and removed the game in 1924. However, tennis was reintroduced at the 1988 Olympics, and continues to be a part of the games to this day.