Tennis is popular among the people for thousands of years in some form or other. Initially the ball was hit with the hand. Tennis was developed in Europe and then became popular in other parts of the world. In 18th century it was called ‘jeu de paumme’. Later on the name was changed to royal or ‘real tennis’.
The Grand Slam
The four most important tennis tournaments of the world are called Grand Slam tournaments. They are: the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. Any player who wins these four tournaments in a row is said to have won the Grand Slam.
Two men and three women have won the Grand Slam. They are:
1) Don Budge (USA) in 1938
2) Rod laver (AUS) in 1962 and 1969
3) Maureen Connolly (USA) in 1953
4) Margaret Smith Court (AUS) in 1970
5) Steffi Graf (Germany) in 1988
The Australian Open:
Initially this tournament was called the Australasian Championships. It was named as Australian Open in 1969. Its current venue is Melbourne Park. Australia’s Roy Emerson has won this title 6 times in men’s. Australia’s Smith Court has got this title 11 times in women’s.
The French Open:
It began as a national tournament in 1891 and was named as the Championat de France International de Tennis. The first women’s tournament was held in 1897. From 1928 onwards it has been played at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris. The new surface was red clay made from the crushed waste of the red brick. France’s Max Decugis has won this title 8 times in men’s.
It is organized by the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. It began in 1877 with only the gentlemen’s singles being played. All players have to wear entirely white outfits while playing in Wimbledon. USA’s Pete Sampras has won this title 7 times in men’s, whereas Martina Navratilova has won 9 titles in women’s.
The US Open:
It is the most cash rich tennis event in the world. It was first played as a national tournament in 1881. The first official US Women’s National Singles Championship was held in 1887. This tournament is now played at Flushing Meadows and offers prize money more than $17.7 million. USA’s Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer have won this title 5 times each.
This is the premier international team event for men. It is run by the International Tennis Federation (ITF). Davis Cup was first played in 1990 between the US and Great Britain. Its original name was the international Lawn tennis Challenge. USA has won the Davis Cup maximum number of times (32 times) so far.
It is the most sought after team-tennis tournament for women. It was started in 1963 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ITF.