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Making a Tennis Court (Illustrated)

Making a Tennis Court (Illustrated)

by George E. Walsh

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ALTHOUGH the game of lawn tennis as played to-day dates back only some forty to forty-five years, it is in reality one of the oldest of all existing ball games. The origin of the game is involved in considerable obscurity, but it has numberless historical associations which make it of peculiar interest.

Tennis was mentioned in the Arthurian romances, and it was quite extensively played in Europe in the Middle Ages. It was played upon open courts in the parks or ditches of the feudal castles of France and Italy. It was called, in Italy, giuoco della palla; in Germany, Ballspiel; in France, jeu de paume; and in Spain, jugar al able.

The French borrowed it from the Italians, and the modern word ""tennis"" was derived from the French exclamation of Tenez! that was employed in serving the ball. It was a game of kings and nobles. Originally a cork ball was used, and this was struck with the palm of the hand. A bank of earth was used instead of a net. The first appearance of the racket is uncertain, but in the time of Henry VII the hand sometimes met the racket on the royal courts of Windsor.

Major Walter C. Wingfield, of the British army, practically modernized and popularized tennis. He patented his game in 1874. It was played on a court 60 × 30 feet, shaped very much like an hour-glass. In this early game of tennis, the net was 7 feet high at the ends, but sagged gradually toward the center to a height of 4 feet 8 inches.

The Marylebone Cricket Club, of Lord's, formulated the first official laws and rules for governing the game in 1875, and the official name of ""lawn tennis"" was then first adopted. This club set the official length of the court at 78 feet. The width of the court was 30 feet at the base-lines and 24 feet at the nets, which showed that the hour-glass formation was still adhered to. The net itself was 4 feet high in the center and 5 feet at the posts.

From that time to the present, changes have been gradually made, both in the rules and the formation of the courts. The net was gradually lowered and made uniform throughout its length, and the old hour-glass formation was abandoned.

Lawn tennis was brought into this country the same year it appeared in England, 1874. The first court was laid out at Nahant, near Boston, on private grounds, and others soon appeared at Newport, Staten Island, and near Philadelphia. The game grew rapidly in popularity until tens of thousands of people, young and old, were following it as one of the most fascinating of outdoor recreations.

To-day it is one of the most popular of our outdoor games for both sexes, and it has retained its hold upon the public for a good many years in spite of the introduction of other games and the craze for novelties. Tennis gives just the right amount of exhilarating exercise in the open air that one seems to need, and there are hundreds of thousands of devotees of the game who play it regularly throughout the season.

But the possibilities of making the tennis court a great social adjunct to the country place are not always fully appreciated by those who follow the game. Primarily the courts are laid out for practical use, but this should not interfere with their artistic development to make them attractive features of the garden. If one has the land sufficient for a tennis court, it should be utilized with the idea of making it a pleasant place for quiet rest and recreation on warm days.

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Product Details

BN ID: 2940148787013
Publisher: Lost Leaf Publications
Publication date: 10/23/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 1,001,210
File size: 850 KB

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