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Tennis


Tennis has a long history, but the birth of the game played today is thought to have taken place in England.

11th century beginnings

The earliest recognisable relative to tennis, as we know it, was "jeu de paume", played in 11th century France. Played in a monastery courtyard, the game used the walls and sloping roofs as part of the court and the palm of the hand to hit the ball.

Tennis overtakes croquet

By the late 19th century, the popularity of lawn tennis had overtaken croquet in England. For this reason, the All England Croquet Club embraced the sport and designated certain croquet lawns to be used for tennis. It was this natural supply of venues combined with the already existing framework for a racquet game that resulted in the birth of the modern game in England.

An international sport

In 1913, lawn tennis was becoming increasingly popular worldwide. Therefore it seemed natural that the existing National Tennis Associations should join forces to ensure the game was uniformly structured. An international conference was held between 12 nations in Paris and the International Lawn Tennis Federation (ILTF) was created.

Professional dilemma

Tennis has a long Olympic history but withdrew from the programme after 1924. It did not return as a medal sport until 1988. Professionals are now welcome to compete, and the Olympic competition includes men's and women's singles and men's and women's doubles.

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Gallery

Buenos Aires 2018 - Tennis - Women’s Single
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Buenos Aires 2018 - Tennis - Women’s Single

Xinyu Wang of the People's Republic of China during the Tennis Women's Singles Bronze Medal Match on Day 7 of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club on October 13, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
IOC/OIS
Buenos Aires 2018 - Tennis - Women’s Doubles
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Buenos Aires 2018 - Tennis - Women’s Doubles

Kaja Juvan of Slovenia and Iga Natalia Swiatek of Poland during the Tennis Womens Doubles Final on Day 7 of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club on October 13, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
IOC/OIS
Buenos Aires 2018 - Tennis - Men’s Singles
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Buenos Aires 2018 - Tennis - Men’s Singles

Hugo Gaston of France during the Tennis Mens Singles Fina on Day 7 of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club on October 13, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
IOC/OIS
Buenos Aires 2018 - Tennis - Men’s Singles
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Buenos Aires 2018 - Tennis - Men’s Singles

Facundo Diaz Acosta of Argentina during the Tennis Mens Singles Fina on Day 7 of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club on October 13, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
IOC/OIS
Tennis - Doubles mixed
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Tennis - Doubles mixed

Jack Sock and Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the United States during the mixed doubles gold medal match against Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram of the United States on Day 9 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Tennis Centre on August 14, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
IOC/Ian Jones
Tennis - Doubles mixed
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Tennis - Doubles mixed

(L-R) Silver medalists Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram of the United States, gold medalists Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Jack Sock of the United States and bronze medalists Lucie Hradecka and Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic pose on the podium during the ceremony for the mixed doubles on Day 9 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Tennis Centre on August 14, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Getty Images
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