The Striking Games (Tennis)

Tennis is a game played with a racket, either individually against one opponent or in teams of two players each. The game was initially called lawn tennis, as it was played on grass surfaces. However, the name was later changed when the playing surface was expanded to include clay, asphalt, wood, and cement.

Tennis is a sport enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds and is played for both recreational and competitive purposes. It has a massive following worldwide as a popular spectator sport.

History and Development of Tennis

Tennis has a long and storied history, with roots dating back to ancient times. The game we know today as tennis evolved from various ball games played in Europe during the Middle Ages.

One of the earliest known versions of the game was played in 12th-century France, where it was known as “paume,” or “palm,” because players used their bare hands to hit the ball. Over time, gloves were added, and then racquets.

The modern game of tennis began to take shape in the late 19th century when a man named Major Walter Wingfield invented a game he called “Sphairistikè,” which means “playing with a ball” in Greek. Wingfield’s game was similar to the modern game of tennis, with a net, racquets, and a scoring system.

The first tennis championship, Wimbledon, was held in 1877 in London, and the game quickly became popular throughout Europe and North America. The first U.S. Open was held in 1881, and the French Open began in 1891.

Tennis continued to grow in popularity in the early 20th century, with the formation of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) in 1913 and the inclusion of tennis in the Olympic Games in 1896.

The 1960s and 1970s saw the emergence of some of the greatest players in tennis history, including Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg, and Jimmy Connors. The 1980s saw the rise of new stars like John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl, while the 1990s were dominated by Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi.

In recent years, the sport has continued to evolve, with changes to equipment, training methods, and playing surfaces. Today, tennis is played by millions of people around the world, both as a recreational activity and as a professional sport.

Development of Tennis in Nigeria

The Striking Games (Tennis)

The game of tennis was introduced to Nigeria during the colonial era by British expatriates in the early 1900s. The first tennis club in Nigeria, the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, was established in 1895 by British merchants and civil servants.

Tennis quickly gained popularity among the expatriate community, and by the 1920s, local Nigerians began to participate in the sport. The first Nigerian tennis player of note was Oluwasegun Oshoba, who won the West African Championships in 1929 and 1930.

In the 1950s and 1960s, tennis continued to grow in Nigeria, and the country produced several notable players, including Nduka Odizor, who reached a career-high ranking of No. 52 in the world in 1984. In 1973, the Nigerian Lawn Tennis Association was established to govern and promote the sport in the country.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Nigeria experienced a decline in tennis due to economic challenges and a lack of funding for the sport. However, in recent years, tennis has seen a resurgence in Nigeria, with the establishment of several new tennis academies and the emergence of young, talented players.

In 2018, Nigeria hosted the Davis Cup for the first time in 15 years, signalling a renewed commitment to the sport. The country also recently hosted the first edition of the ITF World Junior Tennis Competition in Africa in 2020, which was a major milestone for Nigerian tennis.

Today, Nigeria has several top-ranked tennis players, including Sylvester Emmanuel and Oyinlomo Quadre, who have both won ITF junior titles and are poised to make an impact on the professional circuit. While there are still challenges to be overcome, the future looks bright for tennis in Nigeria.

Nature of the Game

Tennis is a sport that can be played individually against a single opponent (singles) or in teams of two players each (doubles). The objective of the game is to hit a ball over a net and into the opponent’s court in such a way that they are unable to return the ball within the boundaries of the court.

Tennis is played on a rectangular court with a net in the middle dividing the two halves. The court is divided into two equal halves, one for each player or team, with different lines marking the boundaries of the court. Points are scored when the opponent fails to hit the ball within the boundaries of the court or fails to return the ball over the net.

Tennis requires a combination of physical fitness, skill, and strategy. Players must have good hand-eye coordination, speed, agility, and endurance, as well as the ability to accurately place the ball and anticipate their opponent’s movements. Tennis can be played on various surfaces, including grass, clay, and hard court, which can affect the speed and bounce of the ball and require different playing techniques.

Tennis is a popular sport worldwide and is played at both recreational and professional levels. The four Grand Slam tournaments – the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open – are among the most prestigious events in the sport and attract top players from around the world.

The medium of scoring in tennis is points. A point is scored by the player that wins a rally, the points in tennis is counted as follows:

PointsTennis Term
0 PointsLove
1   Point15
2   points30
3   points40
4   pointsGame

Basic skills and techniques used in tennis

Tennis is a popular sport that requires a range of skills and techniques to be successful. Here are some basic skills and techniques used in tennis:

  1. Grip: The grip is the way a player holds the tennis racket. There are several types of grips, including Eastern, Western, and Continental grips. The grip a player uses depends on their playing style and the shot they want to execute.
  2. Footwork: Good footwork is crucial in tennis as it enables a player to get to the ball quickly and efficiently. This includes proper positioning, quick changes of direction, and the ability to move laterally and diagonally.
  3. Serve: The serve is the most important shot in tennis as it starts at each point. A good service is fast, accurate, and well-placed. It’s essential to have a reliable service to win points and keep the opponent off-balance.
  4. Forehand: The forehand is the most common shot in tennis. It is executed with the dominant hand and arm and involves a swinging motion across the body. A good forehand is powerful, accurate, and consistent.
  5. Backhand: The backhand is the shot hit with the non-dominant hand and arm. There are several types of backhand, including the one-handed and two-handed backhand. A good backhand is consistent and can generate enough power to put pressure on the opponent.
  6. Volley: A volley is a shot hit before the ball bounces on the court. A good volley requires quick reflexes, good hand-eye coordination, and the ability to move forward and backwards to the net.
  7. Overhead smash: The overhead smash is a shot hit when the ball is high in the air, usually after a lob from the opponent. A good overhead smash requires good timing, footwork, and upper-body strength.
  8. Slice: A slice is a shot hit with a downward motion that imparts a backspin on the ball. A good slice can keep the ball low and force the opponent to hit a difficult shot.
  9. Drop shot: A drop shot is a shot hit softly and placed near the net. A good drop shot requires good touch and deception to catch the opponent off-guard.
  10. Topspin: Topspin is a shot hit with a forward and upward motion that imparts topspin on the ball. A good topspin shot can generate pace and spin, making it difficult for the opponent to return.

Facilities and Equipment Used in Tennis

The Striking Games (Tennis)

Facilities and equipment used in tennis can vary depending on the level of competition and location. However, here are some common facilities and equipment used in tennis:

  1. Tennis Court: A tennis court is a rectangular surface made of a variety of materials, such as clay, grass, or hard court. It is 78 feet long and 27 feet wide for singles match and 36 feet wide for doubles matches. The court is divided into two halves by a net, which is 3 feet high in the centre and 3.5 feet high at the posts.
  2. Tennis Balls: Tennis balls are made of rubber and covered with felt. They come in various colours, but yellow is the most common colour used in professional tournaments. Tennis balls have a diameter of 2.7 inches and weigh between 2 and 2.1 ounces.
  3. Tennis Racquet: A tennis racquet is a primary equipment used to hit the ball. It consists of a handle, a frame, and strings. The frame is typically made of graphite, aluminium, or titanium, and the strings can be made of synthetic materials or natural gut.
  4. Tennis Shoes: Tennis shoes are specially designed for the sport, with features such as cushioning, support, and durability. They typically have non-marking soles to prevent damage to the court surface.
  5. Tennis Net: The tennis net divides the court into two halves and is typically made of braided nylon or polyester. It is supported by two posts, which are 3.5 feet high on the outside of the court.
  6. Scoreboard: A scoreboard is used to keep track of the score in a tennis match. It can be electronic or manual.
  7. Ball Machine: A ball machine is a device that feeds tennis balls to a player at a set speed and frequency. It can be programmed to simulate different types of shots, such as topspin, backspin, and slice.
  8. Court Covers: Court covers are used to protect the tennis court from rain, snow, and other weather conditions. They are typically made of a durable material such as vinyl or canvas.
  9. Umpire Chair: The umpire chair is used by the chair umpire, who is responsible for enforcing the rules of the game and making calls during a match. It is typically elevated above the court to provide a better view of the game.

Rules and Regulations in Tennis

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) is the official governing body of tennis. The ITF is responsible for the rules and regulations governing the game of tennis. These rules deal with the following –

Tennis is a sport that follows a set of well-defined rules and regulations. Here are some of the main rules and regulations in tennis:

  1. Scoring: In tennis, points are awarded in a numerical sequence of 15, 30, 40 and game. A player wins a game by winning four points and leading by two points. If both players have three points each, the score is called a deuce. The next player to win a point after the deuce gets the advantage. If the player with the advantage wins the next point, he or she wins the game. If the player with the advantage loses the next point, the score returns to a deuce.
  2. Service: A player must serve the ball diagonally across the net into the opposite service box. The server has two chances to get the serve in, and if both serves miss, it is called a double fault, and the opponent gets a point. The server must serve from behind the baseline and cannot step on or over the baseline before making contact with the ball.
  3. Ball in and out: The ball must land within the court boundaries for it to be considered in. If the ball lands on the line, it is considered in. If the ball lands outside the lines, it is considered out, and the opponent gets the point.
  4. Let: If the ball hits the net during a serve but lands in the correct service box, the serve is considered a let, and the player gets another chance to serve.
  5. Foot faults: A foot fault occurs when the server steps on or over the baseline before hitting the ball. This is a fault, and the server loses the point.
  6. Time violations: Players are given 25 seconds between points to serve. If a player takes longer than 25 seconds, he or she may receive a warning, point penalty, or game penalty, depending on the severity of the infraction.
  7. Code violations: Players must follow a code of conduct during a match. Any violation of this code, such as abusive language or racket abuse, may result in a warning, point penalty, or game penalty.
  8. Tie-break: If the score reaches 6-6 in a set, a tie-break is played. The first player to reach seven points and lead by two points wins the tie-break and the set.
  9. Changeovers: After every odd-numbered game, players change the ends of the court. The time taken for changing ends is limited to 90 seconds.
  10. Coaching: Coaching during a match is not allowed except during the changeovers, and only if the coach is off the court.
  11. Warm-up: Players are allowed a maximum of five minutes for a warm-up before a match.
  12. Equipment: Players must use regulation tennis rackets and wear appropriate clothing and footwear. Any equipment that is deemed dangerous or distracting is not allowed.
  13. Medical timeouts: Players are allowed medical timeouts for injuries or illnesses. These timeouts are limited to three minutes per injury or illness.
  14. Rain delays: In case of rain, play may be suspended or postponed until the court is dry enough to play on.
  15. Let cord: If the ball hits the net during a rally and lands in the correct court, it is called a let. The point is replayed.
  16. Hawkeye: In some professional tournaments, Hawkeye technology is used to review close-line calls. Players are allowed a limited number of challenges per set to challenge a call they believe was incorrect.
  17. Service let: If a server makes a service but is not ready, the umpire may call a service let, and the point is replayed.
  18. Out of bounds: A ball that lands outside the court boundaries, including the lines, is considered out of bounds.

The officials in the game of tennis and their functions

The Striking Games (Tennis)

There are several officials in the game of tennis, each with its own specific functions. Here is a list of the most important officials and their roles:

  1. Chair Umpire – The chair umpire is the head officer of the tennis match. They sit in a high chair at the centre of the court and oversee the entire match, making all final decisions. They call out the score, announce faults and penalties, and make calls on close or disputed shots.
  2. Line Judges – Line judges are responsible for making calls on whether a ball is in or out of bounds. They stand at the corners of the court and call out when a ball lands outside of the lines.
  3. Net Umpire – The net umpire is responsible for checking the net during the match to ensure that it is not too high or too low. They also call out when a serve touches the net and when a player touches the net during play.
  4. Ball Boys and Ball Girls – Ball boys and ball girls are responsible for retrieving balls that are hit out of bounds or that come to a stop during play. They also provide fresh balls to the players when needed.
  5. Hawk-Eye – Hawk-Eye is an electronic system that uses cameras to track the trajectory of the ball and provide an accurate call on whether the ball was in or out of bounds. It is used to overrule the calls of the line judges and chair umpire if necessary.

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