March 5, 2014 at 4:07 pm Leave a comment

Sam Operchuck

Blog post 3-5-14





What type of people played this sport?

            Tennis was predominantly played (specifically regarding the late 19th Century onwards) by fairly prestigious individuals. Before it’s debut in America, Tennis, or games very similar were “highly regarded by kings and noblemen” as well as “adopted by the Royal family” in France. In many aspects it was considered a “gentleman’s game” much like the sport of Golf. In the 1930s, a great number of courts were assembled in schoolyards and clubs, enabling the public to have a much greater access to the sport.


Was it played professionally? If so, by whom?

            Tennis, once popularized, became competitive very quickly. The first Wimbledon Tournament was held  in London, England in 1877. Since then it has gained recognition as one of the most prestigious events in Tennis. The first Men’s Singles Championship was held in the United States in 1881, which is now termed the US Open.


What equipment did they use to play it?

            In very early versions of the game, specifically one created by Major Wingfield called “Jeu de Paume”, one could simply play it with their hands or a bat. However as the game progressed and gained popularity, racquets became the preferred instrument of play.


Was it played by schools and colleges?

            Tennis was not widely played in colleges during this time. Although a few may have, very little information is given.


How does it differ from the modern day sport?

            Tennis is known for it’s drastic changes not in rule, but in gameplay from it’s birth to modern day. For one, racquets were largely made from wood until the late 1960s, which gave the players multiple disadvantages. Predominantly, wood is fairly heavy, making it more difficult to create a stronger swing. Wood also warps with changes in humidity, changing the tension of the strings. Perhaps most importantly, was the change in gameplay. Modern day tennis has become a sport demanding no less of the athlete than top training and strength. During the late 1800s-early 1900s, Tennis was much less widely competitive. Change in courts also occurred. Originally, Courts were not always rectangles. Some were even similar to “hourglass” shapes. However as they evolved to rectangles, the strategies used evolved quickly as well to much more sophisticated, precise plays.


Why is the history of sports important?

            Sports have influenced nations more than a lot of people realize. Sports are one of the few events that can bring nations together in peace in spite of ongoing disputes (aka the Olympics) and yet can also be a huge point of controversy. But more so, sports have dramatic effects on pivotal areas of a country, such as the economy, news, television, food and electric industries. Many companies in all the previous industries would go bankrupt if a handful of sports became unpopular or removed.







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