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Tennis is one of the biggest sports in the world, along with football, hockey, basketball, and volleyball. Since its inception, tennis has spawned many exciting sporting events, star athletes, merchandise, and the big betting industry. In this article, we’ll take a quick look at several integral aspects of tennis: its history, rules, popular events, famous players, and the betting industry.

Tennis History

The earliest mentions of the game of tennis date back to 12th century France, but back then the ball was hit with a hand, not a racket (rackets were added to the game in the 16th century). This version of tennis persists to this day, and it’s known as “real tennis”. Tennis as we know it today (technically called “lawn tennis”) appeared in the second half of the 19th century as a combination of rules from the game of racquets and Basque pelota.

The world’s first tennis club, the Leamington Tennis Club, was founded in 1874, and the first Lawn Tennis Championship at Wimbledon took place in 1877. Initially, the professional players and amateurs competed in separate tournaments, but, in 1968, the four biggest amateur tennis tournaments changed that, ushering in the Open Era of tennis. Keep in mind there's table tennis that is completely different.

Tennis Rules

One of the things that separate tennis from football, basketball, hockey, and volleyball is the low number of players on the field: a maximum of two players on one side of the field (this variant is called doubles tennis). In this section, we will cover the general rules that apply to both singles and doubles tennis.

  • Players can’t hit the ball twice in a row.

  • Players are not allowed to touch the net or its posts; additionally, they can’t go to their opponent’s half of the field.

  • Players must wait until the ball crosses the net before hitting it.

  • If the ball hits or touches the player, that is considered a penalty.

  • A serve must bounce before the defending player can hit the ball.

  • A tennis match consists of points, games, and sets. Points are the smallest unit of measurement (0-15-30-40-Game). Games consist of four points; a set includes six games. Both games and sets need to be won with at least a two-point advantage. A match is typically played until the best of 3 sets.

Popular Tournaments

Tennis has spawned many competitions, contests, tournaments, and championships over the years. For the sake of brevity, we will name only the most prestigious and famous tennis tournaments, ATP, WTA and more.

  • Wimbledon: the most famous tennis tournament in the world; it was the first lawn tennis competition in history (the first tournament took place in 1877). It’s one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments. Also, it’s famous for its all-white dress code for the competitors and the appearances by the British Royal Family.
  • The US Open Championship: a successor to the U.S. National Championship, which was one of the oldest tennis tournaments in the world. This is the last tournament of the Grand Slam tennis tournaments chronologically (it takes place in August).

  • The Australian Open: the first tournament out of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments (it takes place in January). This is one of the biggest sporting events in the Southern Hemisphere.

  • The French Open: officially known as Roland-Garros, this tournament takes place in Paris, France, over two weeks in late May. This is the only Grand Slam tournament that takes place on the clay tennis court; it is considered the most physically demanding in the world due to the clay courts, seven rounds necessary for the championship, and best-of-five sets between male players.

Famous Players

Tennis gave many talented athletes a chance to shine over its long and storied history. Famous players of the past include Ken Rosewall, Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Maria Sharapova, and many more. The current roster of top-tier athletes is equally impressive: Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, and Ashleigh Barty, to name a few.

Bet on Tennis

Tennis is a popular sport, so it's no wonder that a big betting industry bloomed in its shadow. We will take a look at the odds and ends of betting on tennis matches. Tennis is a very dynamic and fluid sport, so betting is even more exciting than usual.

  • Betting on the outcome of the match; the bets are accepted before and during the match. In tennis, there is no draw, so the chances of winning are (on average) 50/50. This type of betting is very popular.
  • Betting on the total. Total is a sum of criteria at the sporting event. There are two types of betting on totals in tennis: on the number of sets and the number of games. You can bet on a total number for a separate set or a whole match.

  • Betting on the number of points in the first game, you can bet lower than total or higher than total.

  • Betting on the precise score at the end of the game.

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