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This Week in Olympic Sport: April 15-20

This week sees the conclusion of the British Gas Swimming Championships in Glasgow as we look ahead to the Olympic sporting action taking place....

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Countdown to Rio: Summer sports week in review

Lizzie Armitstead is proving something of a force this season after another podium finish at the women's Tour of Flanders.

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Italy fightback to defeat Great Britain in Davis Cup

Andy Murray and James Ward both lost in straight sets as Great Britain missed out on a first Davis Cup semi-final in 33 years.

Italy trai...

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Murray and Fleming edge GB closer to Davis Cup semis

Andy Murray and Colin Fleming put Great Britain on the verge of their first Davis Cup semi-final in 33 years with a battling men's doubles victo...

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Advantage Murray after Italy take lead

Andy Murray clung onto his one-set advantage against Andreas Seppi as bad light brought day one of Great Britain’s Davis Cup quarter-final clash...

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History

During the Middle Ages, Tennis was a social game played by members of the noble class. The sport first appeared in the 16th century in England, where King Henry VIII was a Tennis champion. The field of play was originally made of stone and called “tennis court”. The game was played by hitting a ball over a net and was identified as “real tennis” or “royal tennis”.

In 1858, the first modern Tennis court was constructed in the suburbs of Birmingham. The first Tennis club was founded in 1872. Shortly after, Tennis became popular in the British Empire and spread around the world. The first men’s’ tournament was conducted at the “All-England Club” facilities in 1877. The first women’s tournament took place in 1884 at the same courts.

By 1913, Tennis was becoming increasingly popular and the existing national Tennis associations decided to join forces and form the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to ensure that the game was uniformly structured.

 

Olympic History

Tennis was included in the Olympic schedule from 1896 to 1924. Due to the persistence of then ITF President Philippe Chatrier and General Secretary David Gray, Tennis reemerged as a demonstration sport in the Los Angeles Games in 1984 and was officially reinstated as an Olympic sport in the Seoul Games in 1988.

Technical

Field of play

The court is a 23,77 m x 8,23 m rectangle for singles 23,77 m x 10,97 m rectangle for doubles. In fact the same court is used for both single and double contests and only line marks differ. The court is divided into two halves by a net, which extends at a height of 0.914 m. There are four types of courts:

The Contest

Tennis is played between two or four athletes. To score a point, Tennis players have to hit the ball with their rackets so that it lands on the opponent’s court without the opponent being able to hit it back. Winner is the athlete or pair to win three “sets” of six “games” each in the men’s events (best-of-five set match) and two “sets” in the women’s events (best-of-three set match).

Techniques

Advanced technique, stamina, strength, speed and flexibility are necessary skills for Tennis athletes. Tennis athletes develop various techniques of striking the ball, including:

  • Drop shot – a stroke that causes the ball to fall abruptly after clearing the net
  • Cross court – diagonal ball from one side of the court to the other
  • Lob – a ball hit high in the air and deep into the opponent’s court, usually over the opponent’s head
  • Passing shot – a shot hit past an opponent, coming to or already at the net
  • Smash – strong strike to an opponent’s high ball
  • Volley – ball hit before it bounces on the ground

equipment

Ball

A ball is made of two elastic hemispheres joined together and covered by a layer of wool and synthetic threads. Its colour must be yellow or white and its diametre between 6.54 and 7.3 cm. Its weight ranges from 56 to 59.49 gr.

Racket

The first Tennis rackets were wooden and their strings were made of sheep or bovine intestines. Tennis rackets today are made of technologically advanced material such as graphite and their stringed surface is made of synthetic threads. A racket must not exceed 73.66 cm in length and 31.75 cm in width.

rules

A Tennis contest is played between two or four athletes. An umpire, aided by nine line umpires presides over the contest. Before the beginning of the contest, the umpire flips a coin. The winning athlete or pair has the following options: choose its side of the court, choose to serve first, choose to receive first or give the choice to the opponent.

In the beginning of a “game” the athlete serves from the right side of court and for each successive serve he/she alternates sides. In the next “game” the right to serve goes to the opponent athlete. The aim in Tennis is to hit the ball with one’s racket so that it crosses over the net and lands on the opponent’s court. An athlete or pair scores a point when:

  • The ball hits the opponent’s court and bounces twice
  • The ball hits the opponent’s body
  • The opponent hits the ball and it bounces outside the court
  • The opponent does not manage to hit the ball over the net
  • The opponent’s body or racket touch the net while the ball is still in play

 

Winner is the player or pair to win three “sets” in the men’s events (best-of-five set match) and two in the women’s events (best-of-three set match). To win a “set” an athlete or pair must win six “games”.

Each “game” consists of four points. The first one is called 15, the second 30, the third 40. The fourth is simply the “game” ball: the athlete or pair wins the “game”, provided that there is a two-point difference. In case of a 40-40 tie (deuce), the athlete or pair must win two subsequent points (advantage, “game”).

Similar rules apply to a “set”. For an athlete or pair to win a “set” they must be ahead by two “games” from the opponent. In case of a 6-6 “game” tie, there is a “tie break”: the athlete to serve first serves one “point” and then the athletes serve alternatively every two points, switching court sides every six points.

The athlete or pair to score at least seven points while being in the lead by two points wins the “set”. A “tie break” can be played in all “sets” except for a contest’s last set at which an “advantage set” is played instead: winner is the athlete or team to win two subsequent “games”.

Team HeroesEntire Team

Andy Murray is Great Britain's No.1 tennis player and has made four appearances in Grand Slam finals and reached at least the last four on ten occasions.

He has also won 22 career titles, including eight Masters 1000 competitions an...

Our Results

Total: 42 medals
  • 16 Gold
  • 14 Silver
  • 12 Bronze
Athens 1896
  • 1 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Paris 1900
  • 4 Gold
  • 1 Silver
  • 3 Bronze
London 1908
  • 6 Gold
  • 5 Silver
  • 4 Bronze
Stockholm 1912
  • 2 Gold
  • 2 Silver
  • 2 Bronze
Antwerp 1920
  • 2 Gold
  • 3 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
Paris 1924
  • 0 Gold
  • 1 Silver
  • 2 Bronze
Los Angeles 1984
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Seoul 1988
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Barcelona 1992
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Atlanta 1996
  • 0 Gold
  • 1 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Sydney 2000
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Athens 2004
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Beijing 2008
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
London 2012
  • 1 Gold
  • 1 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
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