Grass tennis is played on a rectangular court 23.7 m long by 8.2 m wide (for single play), divided into two equal parts by a net measuring 0.914 m high at the center and 1.07 m at the ends. The players, two for the single and four for the double, have to hit a rubber ball covered in cloth with a racket and send it to the other side of the net, to the other side of the net so that the opponent cannot turn it. Physical fitness and psychomotor skills of the elite players are remarkable. The game can be fast and feisty or fluid and graceful. A game usually lasts between an hour and two hours, but often a little longer. One of Canada’s Davis Cup games lasted more than six hours. In these tournaments, emotion is intense, and players must show exceptional concentration and mastery.
It is very likely that the ancestor of modern tennis is a ball game called “jeu de paume”, practiced in France since the 11th century. The game, also called “tennis on the court” or “real tennis”, is played with a ball on an inner court (formerly in a monastery). Around 1500, a snowshoe was used. The word “tennis” probably comes from “here”, which was shouted just before the service. The rather peculiar way of counting points comes from the Middle Ages when 60 was a basic number (like the number 100 today). The word “love”, which is equivalent to zero, may be derived from “the egg” (which has the shape of a zero), or from the English use of the word “love” to mean “nothing”. “Deuce” is a transformation of the French word “Deux” which indicates that the player must score two consecutive points to win the game. “Forty” is the abbreviation for “forty-five” originally used. The use of the word ” service “is most certainly related to the fact that the ball was put into play by a servant with no intention of winning the point, but to start the game.
Around the middle of the 19th century, in England, tennis was practiced outdoors. Major W. C. Wingfield, one of the first to popularize outdoor tennis, developed new rules and an hourglass-shaped court with a 1.5 m high net. In 1873, Wingfield hosted the first game at an open-air reception in Wales. In the following years, the court takes a rectangular shape, and the server must be placed behind the bottom line. At the first Wimbledon Championships in 1877, the game was about the same as today.
Tennis became popular in England and spread to Canada. J. F. Helmuth opened a club in Toronto believed to be the precursor of the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club (founded in 1875). The first Canadian tournament was held at the Cricket Club of Montreal in 1878, and the first indoor tournament was held in Ottawa in 1881. In the next decade, clubs are formed in Winnipeg, Manitoba; London, Ottawa, Niagara and Kingston, Ontario; Fredericton and Saint John, New Brunswick; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia; Regina, Saskatchewan; Lethbridge and Edmonton, Alberta in 1891. In 1890, The Canadian Lawn Tennis Association was formed, and the first Canadian championships were held in Toronto that year.
Over the last thirty years, tennis has completely changed. From a relatively small amateur sport, it has become a multi-million dollar industry. In 1968, 91 countries were affiliated to the International lawn tennis Federation, its name at the time. In 2002, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) had 198 members. Tennis is one of the most popular sports in the world. Three main bodies are involved in international tennis. : the FIT, the Association of professional tennis players (ATP) and the WTA Tour. The ITF, founded in 1913, is the regulatory body for International tennis and oversees the game at five levels : at the administrative and regulatory level, at the level of the organization of international competitions, including the Davis Cup and the Federation Cup, at the level of the structuring process of tennis by validating international events and circuits, at the level of the promotion of this sport through its development program and at the level of the international promotion of the game.
From 1990, the ATP Tour (a partnership of players and tournaments) organized the men’s professional circuit except for the four Grand Slam tournaments (the Australian internationals in January, the French internationals in May, Wimbledon in late June-early July and the US Open in September). The ATP Tour consists of nearly 70 one-week tournaments and a few two-week tournaments each year in more than 30 countries. It gives players a total of US $ 64.3 million. There are three levels of events: the Tennis masters series, The International Gold Series and the International Series. At the end of each year, the top eight players are invited to play for the Tennis Masters Cup and share a sum of US $ 3.7 million. The ATP Tour also has a double championship at the end of the year.
In 2002, Canada’s top player, Daniel Nestor, was slowed down by an elbow injury that kept him away from the singles tournaments. However, he is considered one of the world’s best doubles players. He and his partner Mark Knowles of the Bahamas, won the Australian Open in 2002. The WTA Tour also consists of 60 annual events in 33 countries, representing a total of US $ 51 million. There are five levels of competition with cash prizes. There are 9 Tier 1 events that bring together the best players in the world. Each year, the highlight of the WTA Tour is the Sanex WTA tournament where the top 16 players play for $ 3 million. In 2002, the top-ranked Canadian women were Jana Nejedly (107th) and Maureen Drake (114th), both of Toronto. The ITF, ATP Tour, and WTA Tour work together to establish the schedule and are also responsible for the effective anti-doping program.
In 1900, the first international men’S DAVIS Cup championship was held. In 1963, the Federation Cup named the best women’s team. In 1913, at Wimbledon, Canada made its first appearance at the Davis Cup but lost to the Americans in the final. In the years that followed, Canada continued to compete in international competitions, but with little success until the 2000 Sydney Olympics.