What is the history of tennis?
The first known renditions of the game started around the 12th century and without rackets; players would slap the ball with their palms. Called jeu de paume, or "game of the palm," this precursor to tennis still lives today and is the longest-running trophy sport in existence.
As rackets increased in use in the 16th century, the modern form of tennis began to emerge. While this form still included a wall, similar to squash, as time went on, players left the indoors for outdoor courts. In 1830, Edwin Budding invented the first lawn mower; this created a faster and more efficient system to cut the grass of playing fields. And with this innovative process, tennis, along with other outdoor sports, began to arrange their rules and regulations.
Tennis has grown in popularity across the globe and has introduced some of the biggest sports superstars; today, it's viewed by millions, and with the dominant performances of Serena Williams and Roger Federer, the game continues to create excitement.
Tennis at the Olympic Games
Tennis was part of the Games from 1896 to 1924 when a dispute over allowing amateurs to compete removed it for over 40 years. It appeared as a demonstration sport in 1968 and again in 1984. It returned in an official capacity in 1988 and is still in competition today.
Except for 1992 and 2012, the tournaments occur on hard courts; this eliminates the advantages some players have when playing on clay or grass. The top medal winners are the United States and Great Britain; the United States has won the most gold medals.
What are the current Olympic tennis events?
Current events include men's singles, men's doubles, women's singles, women's doubles, and mixed doubles.