The history of tennis - Reading

The history of tennis

Tennis is believed to have its origins thousands of years ago.  There seem to be indicators suggesting that the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans played games that can be considered precursors to tennis.  However, there is more substantial evidence since around 1000.  At that time, French monks began playing a kind of ball game against their monastery walls, or over a rope hung across a courtyard.  This game was called ‘je de paume’ (game of the hand).  According to this theory, the word ‘tennis’ comes from the French word ‘tenez’, which means ‘to take’.  The monks would shout the word ‘tenez’ while they served the ball.
The game grew in popularity over the years, adopted by the nobility throughout Europe.  Apparently, the game became so popular that by the 13th century there were about 1,800 indoor courts.  Authorities, such as the Pope, or King Louis IV,  tried in vain to ban the game.
In England, both Henry VII and Henry VIII were avid tennis fans and commissioned the building of many courts across the country.
As the game became more popular, it evolved.  Courtyard playing areas became indoor courts; the balls, which were initially made of wood, became softer and bouncier and they were made of leather and filled with cellulose material.  The game was originally played using the hand, but over time people began wearing a glove, later a webbing attached to a handle, and by 1500, a wooden frame racquet laced with sheep gut was in common use.  The ball at that time was a cork ball weighing about three ounces.
However, the game of ‘court’ or ‘real’ tennis, as it is referred to today, was totally different to the sport we know today.  The game’s popularity decreased during the 1700s, but after Charles Goodyear invented a process for rubber called vulcanisation, the tennis balls were made with this material and became much bouncier.  The game could be played outdoors on grass, and that was the foundation for modern tennis.
Croquet was widely played in England at that time, providing a ready supply of smooth outdoor courts, which could be easily adapted for tennis.  This ‘marriage’ between croquet and tennis was strengthened when the All England Club Croquet decided to hold the first Wimbledon tennis tournament in 1877.  The event was initially organized to raise money to fix something at the club.  However, it soon evolved into the most prestigious tennis event in the entire world.  The club changed its name to the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club.
Wimbledon and tennis have not changed much since that first tournament.  The rules have remained virtually the same, with the only major change of the introduction of the tiebreak rule in 1971.

1. Tennis is believed ...
to have its origins n France, in a monastery.
to have its origins in ancient societies.
to have been born 1,000 years ago.

2. Why is the name of the game associated with the French language?
Because, when the French monks served the ball, they shouted 'tenez'.
Because the monks called the game 'tennis', which comes from 'tenez'.
Because the French monks used the word 'tenez' to refer to the game.

3. How was the game originally played?
Using a kind of racquet with sheep gut.
Using the hand.
Using a glove.

4. What invention made it possible for the game to be important again?
The racquet and the cork ball.
A process for rubber vulcanisation.
An indoor court.

5. Why was there a 'marriage' between croquet and tennis?
Because since Wimbledon, croquet lost importance.
Because croquet clubs started to offer tennis.
Because the croquet clubs provided a ready supply of outdoor courts, making it possible to host tennis tournaments.

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