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Module: History, Equipment, Warm-up

1.1 Introduction to tennis
Tennis is an interesting sport, played between singles (two players) or doubles
(two teams of two players). Players use a racquet to strike a hollow rubber ball
over the net into the other court. The final goal of this game is to make the
opponent not be able to play a good return.

1.1.1 History & milestones in tennis

The origins of modern tennis most likely lie in France in the 12th century. Back
then the ball was played with the palm of the hand and it took until the 16th
century when racquets were introduced. From 1859-1865 Harry Gem and
Augurio Perera created a game that combined racquets and elements of the
Basque ball pelota in Birmingham, United Kingdom. Much of the tennis
terminology used nowadays originated from this period. In 1877 the most
prestigious tennis tournament, the Wimbledon Championships, were played for
the first time. Four years later the US Open were held for the first time at
Newport, Rhode Island. The first French Open dates to 1891 and the first
Australian Open were held first in 1901. Up to date those four tournaments
remained the most prestigious events in modern tennis (also called the Slams).
In 1924 the International Tennis federation formulated a comprehensive set of
rules that remained stable until today, only the tie-break system was added later.
In the same year, the Olympics dropped tennis from their program but it
returned as a demonstration event in the 1984 Olympic Games. In the 1988
Seoul Olympics tennis returned to the program and it remained there until today.
1859-1865 Harry Gem and Augurio Perera create a game that combines racquets
and Basque ball in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
1872 World first tennis club is founded by Harry and Augurio and two doctors in
Leamington Spa.
1873 Major Walter Clopton Wingfield designed and patented a game which is
similar to modern tennis.
1877 The most prestigious tennis tournament, the Wimbledon Championships
were held for the first time.
1881 First US Open were held in New York.
1884 Women are allowed to take part in Wimbledon Championships.
1891 First French Open is held but only open for French club members.

1896 Modern Olympics add tennis.

1900 The International Tennis Federation holds the first Davis Cup, the biggest
international team competition.
1905 First Australian Open was held.
1912 Four major tennis championships: Wimbledon, French, Australia and the
United States remain prestigious in the world and are operated by International
lawn Tennis Federation
1922 Australian Open is open to women.
1924 Olympics drop tennis.
1926 C. C. Pyle creates the first professional tennis tour.
1950 The Professional Tour kicks off.
1968 Amateurs and pros start competing in the same tournaments.
1988 Tennis returns to Olympics.

1.2 Equipment
1.2.1 Racquet
A tennis racquet consists of head, rim, face, neck, butt cap, handle and strings.
Generally a racquet is made of graphite or blends of carbon graphite, ceramics
and metals. However, the first racquet was made by wood and then aluminum,
thus, the racquet price can vary depending on the quality of construction.
Racquets have different length, weight and head size. 21 to 26 is a normal
length. One can also see 27 or 27.5 for stronger or taller players. The weight
can vary between 8 ounces to 12.5 ounces depending on the string quality.
Current racquet head sizes vary from 88 sq. inches to 137 sq. inches, most
common sizes are from 95-105 sq. inches. With a bigger head size, a player will
have more power with a bigger sweet spot. However, a small size can provide
more precise control.
Strings can be made by four different types: natural gut, nylon, polyester and
Kevlar. Only a few elite athletes play with natural gut, nylon and polyester.
Synthetics are more common, due to its durability, consistency and lower price.
String tension is another important factor for players. Basically, a lower tension
generates more power and a higher string creates more control.

1.2.2 Tennis Ball

Penn and Wilson are two major tennis ball manufacturers. The diameter of a
tennis ball ranges from 65.41 to 68.58mm and weight is between 56g and 59.4g,
which is the International Tennis Federation definition. The more felt a tennis
ball is, the slower the ball speed. Yellow and white are the only color approved.
Practice balls and team balls are suitable for leisure players due to durability. A
ball cannot be left in water, water will ruin the ball and finally the ball will
become flat and loose bounce.

1.2.3 Shoes
Shoes are very important equipment when playing tennis. Basically they should
be comfortable, slip resistant and have a wide-base sole. In tennis the player has
to run back and forth, making quick turns left and right. A good slip resisting
ability can significantly improve the performance and prevent ankle and knee
injuries. However, running shoes are not recommended in tennis. Shoes with
black soles are also not accepted, because they may mark the floor.

1.2.4 Tennis court

Figures above show dimensions and descriptions of a regular tennis court.

Basically the tennis court is divided either into singles or doubles court. However,
baselines, service lines, and service court dimensions remain the same. The court
itself can be made of grass, clay, or hard court (either concrete or carpet) which
has major impacts on speed and bounce of the ball. Please see video Tennis
Lessons for Beginning Players _ Tennis Court Layout & Lines for further

1.3 Warm up/stretching

Basically warm-up should be divided into three parts. The first part consists of a
general warm-up that includes running, jogging, rope jumping etc. The most
important aspect of this part is to get your heart rate up and your body

temperature increased. Be aware that the intensity should be fairly low that is
you shouldnt be tired or exhausted. This first general warm-up should also
include already court-specific movement patterns. Side-steps along the baseline,
service lines and forward and backward movements toward the net and back
complete a good general warm-up for tennis.
The second part of the warm-up should target specific muscles and joints
predominantly used in tennis. Especially the shoulders, trunk, and legs should be
included with both static and dynamic stretching exercises. It follows a list of
exercises and stretches that might be included in a proper warm-up for tennis.
Arm rotation: Straight arm to lateral side, rotate forward and backward.
Low Lunge and reach: step forward into a lunge position and extend your arms
overhead and switch to the other leg and keep walking.
Knee hug: while walking forward, grab knee towards your chest, keep walking
and alternate leg.
Kick butt: while running, kick your heel to your butt, knee points to the ground.
High knee: similar as kick butt, while running, bring knees up to your waistline
and try to do as higher as possible.
Jumping jack: jump with legs spread and hand touch overhead.
Burpee: begin a standing position, drop into a squat position with hands on the
ground, extend the leg to a push-up position, do a push up and return to the
squat position and jump up to an upright standing position.

Head turns: turn your head to right and hold that position for a while and then
repeat to the left.
Overhead stretch: bend right arm overhead, use left hand to grab elbow and
place it close to your head, pull your right arm toward your head. Repeat it with
other arm.
Across body stretch: Cross your right arm in front of your chest, keep back
straight, use left hand grab right elbow and pull it towards chest.
Step stretch: forward lunge position, keep upper body straight and stretch your
posterior leg so that the shin is parallel to the floor.
Inner thigh stretch: sit with the soles fit together, push your knees to the
ground with your hands.
Leg stretch: lie on the ground face to the ceiling, grasp right thigh towards to
your body, and hold this position with straight right leg, bend your foot to your
body and alternate.
Please see video Sports Series (Dynamic Tennis Warm-up) for more
The third and last part of the warm-up should consist of tennis-specific
movements on the court including racquet and ball. Mini-tennis and its
variations are a very good starting point. Please see videos Short court tennis
lesson 1-3 for more detailed explanations.