history of tennis
history of tennis


all games can be traced back to ancient times and the earliest representations can be found in carvings in Egyptian temples dating from 1500BC. The Ancient Egyptians and the people that followed actually played ball games as part of their religious ceremonies. These traditions and the whole concept of the ball game spread into Europe in the 8th century, the influence spread by the Moors whose Empire reached into Southern France. As strange as it may seem, it was the meeting of this eastern culture with Christianity which eventually gave rise to tennis!

Christian Monks became interested in the religious rites of the Moors and were the first Europeans to play the ball game that was to become tennis. The earliest version of the game was called 'La Soule' where players would hit a ball to each other using either their hands or a stick. The game became very popular in Monasteries all over Europe, so much so that the Church of the day even considered prohibiting the game!

This very early version of tennis, where the ball was often hit against courtyard walls, soon made it out of the monasteries and during the 12th and 13th centuries it was to develop further. Players found that they had more control over the ball using just their hands, so the natural development was to create a leather glove. It was only a matter of time before the glove was supplemented with a wooden handle - creating the very first tennis racket! The balls were refined too, moving from solid wood to much softer designs made of leather stuffed with bran. The game soon became very popular, particularly in France where it was adopted by Royalty.

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