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Tennis is a sport played between either two players (singles) or two teams of two players each (doubles). Players use a stringed racquet to strike a ball, a hollow rubber sphere covered in felt, over a net into the opponent's court. Tennis used to be called lawn tennis to distinguish it from its predecessor real tennis (also known as royal tennis, court tennis or jeu de paume), a form of the game played indoors on a different kind of a court. Originating in England in the late 19th century, the game spread first throughout the English-speaking world, particularly among the upper classes. Tennis is played in the Summer Olympic Games and at all levels of society, by individuals of all ages many countries around the world. Its rules have remained largely unchanged since the 1890s. Along with its millions of players, tennis claims millions of people who follow the sport as spectators, being particularly interested in the four Grand Slam tournaments.

Upcoming tournaments in June

Week Month Tour Points Tournament Surface Town Country
23 June ATP 250 Rosmalen Open Grass 's-Hertogenbosch Netherlands
23 June ATP 250 Stuttgart Open Grass Stuttgart Germany
24 June ATP 500 Queen's Club Championships Grass London United Kingdom
24 June ATP 500 Gerry Weber Open Grass Halle Germany
24 June WTA 470 Birmingham Classic Grass Birmingham United Kingdom
24 June WTA 280 Mallorca Open Grass Mallorca Spain
25 June ATP 250 Nottingham Open Grass Nottingham United Kingdom
25 June WTA 470 Eastbourne International Grass Eastbourne United Kingdom
26, 27 June ITF 2000 The Championships, Wimbledon Grass Wimbledon, London United Kingdom

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"Jeu de paume," originally a French precursor of lawn tennis
Tennis can be traced as far back as the ancient Greek game of sphairistike (Greek?), and is mentioned in literature as far back as the Middle Ages in The Second Shepherds' Play, in which shepherds gave three gifts, including a tennis ball, to the newborn Christ. Sir Gawain, a knight of King Arthur's round table, plays tennis with a group of giants in The Turke and Gowin.

The Medieval form of tennis is termed real tennis. Real tennis evolved over three centuries from an earlier ball game played around the 12th century in France. This had some similarities to palla, fives, pelota, or handball, involving hitting a ball with a bare hand and later with a glove. One theory is that this game was played by monks in monastery cloisters, based on the construction and appearance of early courts. By the 16th century, the glove had become a racquet, the game had moved to an enclosed playing area, and the rules had stabilized. Real tennis spread in popularity throughout royalty in Europe and reached its peak in the 16th century.

In France, François I (1515-47) was an enthusiastic player and promoter of real tennis, building courts and encouraging play among the courtiers and commoners. His successor, Henri II (1547-59) was also an excellent player and continued the royal French tradition. During his reign, the first known book about tennis, Trattato del Giuoco della Palla was written in 1555 by an Italian priest, Antonio Scaino da Salo. Two French kings died from tennis related episodes--Louis X of a severe chill after playing and Charles VIII after being struck with a ball. King Charles IX granted a constitution to the Corporation of Tennis Professionals in 1571, creating the first pro tennis 'tour', establishing three levels of professionals-- apprentice, associate, and master. The first codification of the rules of real tennis was written by a professional named Forbet and published in 1599.

Selected biography

James Blake, Miami, Florida, 2007
James Blake (born December 28, 1979, in Yonkers, New York, United States) is an American former professional tennis player. Blake is known for his speed and powerful forehands. In 2006 he reached the final of the Tennis Masters Cup but lost to World No. 1 Roger Federer in three sets. On July 3, 2007, Blake's book, Breaking Back: How I lost everything and won back my life, discussing his comeback after his unlucky 2004 season, was released and debuted at #22 on The New York Times Best Seller list. He wrote this book along with Andrew Friedman.

Blake was born in Yonkers, New York, to African-American father Tommy Sr. and White British mother Betty. He has a brother, Thomas Jr., who is also a professional tennis player, and three older half-brothers, Jason, Christopher and Howard, and a half-sister, Michelle.

Blake started playing tennis at age five alongside his brother Thomas. When 13, he was diagnosed with severe scoliosis and for five years as a teenager, he was forced to wear a full-length back brace for 18 hours a day, though not while playing tennis. Blake attended Fairfield Warde High School (then called Fairfield High School), in Fairfield, Connecticut. A schoolmate was future musician John Mayer. Blake was inspired to pursue tennis after hearing his role model, Arthur Ashe, speak to the Harlem Junior Tennis Program. Brian Barker was his first (and current) coach. He dropped out of Harvard University after his sophomore year to pursue a career in professional tennis.

Blake announced his retirement from tennis after competing at the 2013 US Open.

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Lew Hoad 1953.jpg Australian tennis player Lew Hoad in London in 1953


  • April 1, 2018 - Sloane Stephens won the title at the Miami Open, defeating Je?ena Ostapenko in straight sets. It was Stephens' sixth career singles title, first Premier Mandatory title, and first title since winning the US Open in September 2017. On the men's side, John Isner won his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title, defeating Alexander Zverev in three sets.

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