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Origins

The game of Lawn Tennis had its roots in the fourteenth century to a game played by the kings of France, also known as ‘royal’ or ‘court tennis’. It was an indoor game played over a net and the ball hit around walls. In the 16th century, Henry VIII had claimed to be the tennis champion of England.

In 1874 Major Walter Clopton Wingfield innovated a game called ‘Sphairistike’ that was played outdoors on an hourglass shaped court and used a net, but no walls. Sphairistike originated from the Greek words meaning ‘sphere’ and ‘stick’. However, the game was not popular, though the idea of playing tennis in the open was catching on. In 1872 Major Harry Gem had marked out a rectangular tennis court on a lawn at Manor House Hotel, Leamington that had more enthusiasts. The two games had different scoring systems too.

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