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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

Tennis - Men's Doubles
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Tennis - Men's Doubles

(L-R) Silver medalists Horia Tecau and Florin Mergea of Romania, gold medalists Rafael Nadal and Marc Lopez of Spain, and bronze medalists Steve Johnson and Jack Sock of the United States stand on the podium after the Men's Doubles competition on Day 7 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Tennis Centre on August 12, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Getty Images / Mark Kolbe
Tennis - Women's doubles
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Tennis - Women's doubles

Caroline GARCIA and Kristina MLADENOVIC of France in their doubles match against Misaki Doi and Eri Hozumi of Japan on Day 1 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Tennis Centre on August 6, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Getty Images
Tennis - Men's doubles
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Tennis - Men's doubles

Steve Johnson and Jack Sock of the United States in action during the Men's Doubles Bronze medal match against Vasek Pospisil and Daniel Nestor of Canada on Day 7 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Tennis Centre on August 12, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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Tennis - Women's singles
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Tennis - Women's singles

Johanna KONTA of Great Britain serves during the women's singles quarterfinal match against Angelique Kerber of Germany on Day 6 of the 2016 Rio Olympics at the Olympic Tennis Centre on August 11, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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Tennis - Women's singles
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Tennis - Women's singles

Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic plays a forehand during the Women's Singles second round match against Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark on Day 3 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Tennis Centre on August 8, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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Tennis - Women's doubles
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Tennis - Women's doubles

Martina Hingis and Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland in action during their first round doubles match against Samantha Stosur and Daria Gavrilova of Australia on Day 1 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Tennis Centre on August 6, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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