Tennis – a sport’s development

Bjarne Andersen
Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics
University of Southern Denmark

In 2015, if and when you play tennis, you must of course immediately accept the rules and norms of the game and learn its techniques and tactics. As a spectator, you need to have at least some knowledge of the rules in order to get something out of watching a game of tennis. But if you really want to understand the game and its culture, or if you are just curious, you need to find the answers to questions such as: Why does the game look the way it does? How did it look originally? How did the development from the game’s origins to the modern version come about?

The purpose of this artide is to answer these and similar questions by studying the development of tennis from its origins in France, through medieval “Real Tennis”, to its modern form, “Lawn Tennis” or simply tennis. Along the historical path, the artide describes the rules, court sizes and surfaces, equipment such as racquets and balls, as well as tactics, of different versions of the game. The artide goes on to provide an explanation of the special method of counting used in tennis and specialised tennis terms.

Finally, Andersen discusses the professionalisation and commercialisation of the game in recent years, and suggests reasons for the position the game enjoys as a popular sport.

Get the full-text article in Danish!

BJARNE ANDERSEN holds a MSc in Sports Science and Biology. He is Associate Professor at the Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense. He teaches Ball Games and his research area is ball games history. Bjarne Andersen has published several books on the subject of ball games, for example The ball in play: Team ball in theory and practice (2005, with Halling, Skov Agergaard and Worm, in Danish) and From play to sport: Ball games in teaching (2008, in Danish).

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