Tennis is a skill and technical racquet and ball sport that can be played individually against a single opponent (singles) or between two teams of two players of the same or different genders each (doubles or mixed doubles).
Tennis is played on a rectangular, flat surface which is called the court. The court is 78 ft long, and 27 ft wide for singles matches and 36 ft wide for doubles matches. Additional clear space around the court is required in order for players to reach overrun balls. A net is stretched across the full width of the court, parallel with the baselines, dividing it into two equal ends. The net is 3 feet 6 inches high at the posts and 3 feet high in the centre. Each player uses a tennis racquet that is tightly strung with synthetic cord or gut to strike a hollow rubber ball, covered with felt, over or around a net and into the opponent’s court.
The object of the game is to manoeuvre the ball in such a way that the opponent is not able to play a valid return. The player who is unable to return the ball validly will not gain a point, while the opposite player will.
Tennis is played by millions of recreational players and is also a popular worldwide spectator sport.
The origins of tennis go back thousands of years, with evidence that the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans played games that would be recognized as a form of tennis. In the tenth and eleventh centuries, French monks began playing a game either using a wall or hanging a rope and hitting a ball between them. The game quickly expanded, with some historians believing that by the 13th century, there were almost 2,000 indoor courts throughout Europe, which led to unsuccessful attempts to ban the game by both the Pope and King Louis IV.
As it became more popular, the game evolved to larger courts, and players began using gloves and then primitive racquets to replace hitting the ball with their hands.
The establishment of the sport as we know it today is usually acknowledged to be in 1873-74 when Walter Wingield applied for a patent for a set of rules and equipment for a game played on an hourglass court. Three years later, the All England Club Croquet decided to hold a tournament at Wimbledon, but replaced the odd-shaped court with a rectangular one. The game has continued essentially unchanged ever since.
Tennis first appeared in the World Transplant Games in 1978. It has grown over the years proving to be extremely popular and is always well subscribed. Singles, doubles, and mixed doubles are all played.
Tennis is a social high-impact sport that activates both the body and mind while helping to maintain health and fitness. Playing regularly can lower blood pressure; increase stamina for everyday activities; improve aerobic and anaerobic abilities; raise bone density; raise metabolism; lower resting heart rate; strengthen the immune system and strengthen muscles.
Playing Tennis really offers a ‘whole body workout’ – improving leg muscles, engaging the core, exercising arms, and improving balance, flexibility, coordination, and agility. Taking part in tennis regularly also improves blood flow to the brain, muscles, and organs.
Tennis can be enjoyed recreationally or competitively and played at all levels, ages, and abilities.
“I started playing tennis right after my kidney transplant in 1997.
Being a transplanted tennis player makes me so happy, because I can improve my health while promoting organ donation and making friends all over the world.”
Haroldo Costa, Kidney Recipient – Brazil
“Tennis is my biggest motivation. Playing sports makes me feel strong, free and courageous.
Through tennis I try to remember my donor that thanks to him every victory in my sport and in life would not have been possible.”
Marta Nizzo, Kidney Recipient – Italy
If you’re just getting started with tennis, then consider taking lessons. Tennis lessons are available for all ages, including adults and will help provide the basic foundations from which you can develop your tennis.
Try visiting your local tennis club in your area. Alternatively, there may be tennis courts in your local park or sports centre so you can try-out first with a partner if you have access to a tennis racquet and tennis balls. You can often find local players who are willing to teach the fundamentals and play with you.
Alternatively, contact your National Transplant Association for their help of where to find organized instruction.
If you find this sport interesting, you can obtain a high-quality and affordable tennis racquet, tennis balls, sport clothes and trainers in the nearest sport shop or online.