The inventor of lawn tennis, Major Walter C. Wingfield, is credited with the concretization of the rules of the game, as well as inventing the tennis equipment. Wingfield named the game, ‘Sphairistike’, meaning ‘ball playing’. In this game, he combined ideas from older games, such as court tennis, squash and badminton. Tennis was a popular sport among European monks as well.
The first organized tennis tournament was held in Britain by the All England Croquet Club at Wimbledon in 1874. The news about the game spread to the US, and the first US National Championship was organized at Newport in 1881. However, the game remained restricted to men for a while. It was only after six years that women debuted in the 1887 women’s championship.
Tennis Equipment: Types
Here is a list of the different tennis equipment in use these days:
Tennis Ball – Inflated, felt-covered, unstitched, rubber balls, usually 6.7 cm in diameter, are the perfect tennis balls. Modern day tennis balls are composed of approximately 14-18 chemicals. They are available in a variety of colors; the most common color being bright yellow. The balls are prone to wear and tear. However, tennis balls can be used as long as the felt cover remains undamaged and the bounce is perfect.
Racquet – An oval-shaped racquet, with a hitting surface of resilient fiber is the most popular. This tennis equipment can be purchased within a price range of $12 to $18. The handle should be small, with a circumference of four-and-a-half inches. Modern racquets are heavier in the handle than at the head.
Nets – Cotton nets are common in gymnasiums and improvised lawn courts. However, outdoor nets should be made of tarred hemp, with a canvas top and steel/rope cable. There are steel nets too, which are entirely waterproof. A quality net will cost about $15 to $40.
Besides the above tennis equipment, a good game of tennis also depends on the right kind of tennis court. Courts can be of three kinds:
- Composition courts – These courts, made from cement or asphalt are the most efficient but expensive.
- Clay or Gravel courts – These are the most common ones, since they are cheap to build. However, these are difficult and expensive to maintain.
- Grass courts – Building and maintaining grass courts entail heavy investment.