3 Surprising Facts About Tennis

3 Surprising Facts About Tennis

From gym class to country clubs and even ESPN—there are many places to find tennis being played. Although many people of all ages and skill levels throughout the U.S. know about tennis, many facts regarding the sport can be equally shocking to each person alike. These three surprising facts about tennis highlight this beloved sport’s fascinating history and other intriguing information.

Changing Shades

Today, it feels like a tennis ball’s yellow color is as iconic as the game itself. That said, tennis balls weren’t always yellow. Even more surprising—regulation tennis balls didn’t become yellow until as recent as 1986, where the new shade officially debuted at Wimbledon. Before then, regulation tennis balls were white. The reason for the change is that the yellow tennis balls were easier to see on television screens at home than the white tennis balls, and the change has successfully remained in effect ever since. Some balls may appear more green than yellow, but rarely will you ever find players using a white set of tennis balls on the court.

Playing With Palms

One of the most surprising facts about tennis dates back to 12th Century France. During this time, the original form of tennis was around, but it was not yet called tennis. In fact, players didn’t even have rackets back then—the introduction of rackets to the sport didn’t arrive until the 16th Century. The French called this game “Jeu de paume,” which translates to “game of the palm.” The reason for this name? With no rackets to use, Jeu de paume participants had to use the palms of their hands to catch and throw the ball across the court.

Three-Mile Matches

From football to soccer, many different sports involve players running back and forth. Although tennis courts might not be as large as a football field, players do quite a bit of running during a match. On average, tennis players run three miles per match, though that can fluctuate depending on a match’s duration. Tennis is certainly a game you can play at a slower pace. That said, competitive matches require immense physical and mental strength, hence why some consider tennis the most challenging sport for newcomers to learn.

FAQ

How did tennis begin?

One of the most surprising facts about tennis dates back to 12th Century France. During this time, the original form of tennis was around, but it was not yet called tennis. In fact, players didn’t even have rackets back then—the introduction of rackets to the sport didn’t arrive until the 16th Century. The French called this game “Jeu de paume,” which translates to “game of the palm.” The reason for this name? With no rackets to use, Jeu de paume participants had to use the palms of their hands to catch and throw the ball across the court.

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