Tennis - Encyclopedia

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TENNIS (sometimes called royal tennis, and, in America, court tennis), one of the oldest of ball-games, and one of the most difficult to learn. It is now played in a walled and roofed court, iio ft. by 38 ft. 8 in., the floor, however, measuring but 96 ft. by 31 ft.8 in., the difference being the width of a roofed corridor, the " penthouse," which runs along the two end walls and one of the side walls. Across the middle of the court a net is stretched, and the first object of the game is to strike the ball over this with a bat or racquet. The net is 5 ft. high at the ends, 3 ft. 6 in. at the middle, and divides the floor into two equal parts, the " service " side and the " hazard " side. The floor and walls are made of cement and should be smooth but not polished.

The court is lighted from the roof and sides. The height of the court to the tie-beam is 30 ft., the height of the play-line, above which the ball must not go, 18 ft. at the sides and 23 ft. at the ends. The roof of the penthouse, which is made of wood, slopes downwards towards the court, the lower edge being 7 ft. t 2 in. from the floor, the upper io ft. 7 in., the width 7 ft. The illustrations show that each of the walls has its own peculiarities. The "dedans " is an opening in the end wall on the service side, under the penthouse, where provision is made for spectators, who are protected by a net. It is 21 ft. 8 in. in width; the upper edge is 6 ft. 10 in. from the floor, the lower edge 3 ft. 3 in. The opening of the dedans is 4 ft. 6 in. from the main wall, 5 ft. 6 in. from the other side wall. Looking from the dedans (i.e. from the service side), the right-hand or main wall has one peculiarity, the " tambour," a sloping buttress to form which the wall is built inward, reducing the breadth of that part of the court to 30 ft. 2 in. In the right-hand corner of the hazard side end wall (as viewed from the dedans) is the " grille," an opening lined with wood, 3 ft. t in. square; and on this wall is painted a continuation of the " pass-line." The left-hand wall, along which runs the pent-house, is not continuous, being broken by a long opening between the floor and the penthouse similar to the dedans, and at the same height from the ground. The low walls under this opening and the dedans are called the " batteries." There is no wall in front of the " marker's box," through which the court is entered on either side of the net-post. This long opening in the left-hand wall is divided into " galleries " and " doors," the latter situated where the entrances to the court used to be in early times. The measurements in order from the dedans are as follows, the numbers of the galleries being counted from the net: Service side - last gallery, 9 ft. 6 in.; second gallery, 9 ft. 6 in.; door, 3 ft. 6 in.; first gallery, 5 ft. 8 in.; marker's box or line-opening, 7 ft. to in.; hazard side - first gallery, 5 ft. 8 in.; door, 3 ft. 6 in.; second gallery, 9 ft. 6 in.: last gallery (also called " winning " gallery), 9 ft. 6 in. The last galleries are 15 ft. i i in. each from their respective end walls. The galleries are marked by " posts " which also serve to support the penthouse. The galleries, dedans and grille are known as the " openings "; three of these - the grille, dedans and winning gallery - are " winning-in openings "; for if a ball in play is struck into one of these, the striker scores a point. In the earlier French courts were other " winning openings," Pais (the board), an upright board 9 ft. by i ft. in the left-hand corner of the dedans-wall, le petit trou or le trou, a hole 16 in. square at the bottom of the other side of that wall, and la lune, a round opening high up by the play-line, one at each end of the court. In the illustrations are shown certain lines painted on the floor, which are also continued perpendicularly on the walls. On the hazard side is the " half-court line," the pass-line " and the " service-line." The first is only required when one player gives the other the odds of " half the court " (ride infra, " Scoring and Handicapping "). The pass-line is drawn 7 ft. 8 in. from the main wall; the service-line 21 ft. i in. from the grillewall. The rectangle contained by the pass and service lines forms the " service-court." The other lines, both on the hazard side and service side, mark the " chases," which will be explained below. The cost of a tennis-court is about £2000.

Table of contents

The Implements

The balls, for which there are no regulation dimensions, weigh 21 oz. and are 21 in. in diameter. They are made of strips of cloth, no twine being used except to keep the outside layer floor, and away from him if it is allowed to strike the end wall; the reverse being the effect of twist from a back-hand stroke. " Rest ": a series of strokes between the two players. " Service ": the first stroke of a " rest." The server may serve from any part of the court on the service side. The ball must strike the roof of the side penthouse, and fall within the service-court. " Fault " a ball so served that it either does not touch the side penthouse, or falls outside the service-court. " Pass ": a service in which the ball drops beyond the pass-line; the service in this case does not count, but a " pass " does not annul a previous fault, as was once the case. " Force ": to strike the ball hard; a hardhit stroke. " Volley ": to strike a ball in its flight (a la volee) before it has touched the floor. " Half-volley ": to strike a ball immediately after it touches, and before it rises from, the floor. " Nick ": the angle where the floor and walls meet. " Marker " the attendant who marks and calls the chases and other points scored in the game.

Scoring and Handicapping

A match consists of three or five " sets "; a " set " of eleven games. The winner of six games wins the set. If a player wins six games consecutively he wins a ` love set," even though his opponent may have won several games. The loser of a love set, by an old custom, gives the marker a shilling. Should the score be called " Five games all," the players may arrange to play a " vantage game," the set in that case not being won till one or other has won two games in succession. _ A game From the Hazard Side. From the Service Side. Tennis-court at Crabbett Park, Sussex, belonging to the Hon. Neville Lytton.

in place, and are covered with white Melton cloth. The American balls, made of layers of cotton and cloth alternately, are somewhat lighter and slower than the English. A set of balls consists of six or seven dozen; the same set should not be used twice in a day. The racquet is usually about 27 in. long and weighs about 16 oz. The head is about 9 in. long and 6 in. broad, but there are no restrictions as to size or weight. The head is somewhat pear-shaped, but its centre line does not correspond with the centre-line of the handle, as it is curved upwards to facilitate the stroke when the ball is taken close to the floor. The earliest racquets were strung diagonally, i.e. in diamonds; later the present vertical-horizontal stringing was adopted, then followed knotting at the points of intersection; but now the knotting has disappeared. The name racquet (or racket) appears in French as racquette and in Italian as racchetta. It is variously derived from Latin reticulata (netted), Dutch racken (to stretch), later Latin racha (palm of the hand or wrist), or the Arabian rdhat (palm of the hand): in favour of the two last derivations is the fact that tennis is a development of a game originally played with the hand, protected by a leather glove, and later on strings were stretched violin-fashion across the palm, to give more power to the stroke. Then followed a wooden bat (battoir), and then a short-handled racquet, either strung or covered with parchment, and finally the modern implement.

Technical Terms. - Some of these have already been explained, but the following may be added. " Bisque ": the privilege, given as a form of odds, of scoring a stroke during any part of the game, except after the delivery of " service " or after a " fault." " Boast ": to hit the ball on to the side wall first. Cut ": to strike the ball with the head of the racquet held at an angle to the ball's course instead of meeting it with the full face, thus causing backward rotation of the ball (similar to the " screw " in billiards), which alters its natural rebound from the wall. " Twist ": analogous to " cut," but the strings are drawn across the ball at the moment of impact, so as to make it rotate sideways. A ball so struck with a fore-hand stroke twists inwards towards the other player off the consists ordinarily of four winning strokes, called by the marker as " Fifteen," " Thirty," " Forty," " Game "; if the score is " forty-all," the marker calls " Deuce," and two strokes have to be won in succession by one of the players. When one has won a stroke his score is called " Vantage "; if he wins the next, he wins the game; if he loses it, the score reverts to deuce. The score of the player who won the last stroke or made the last chase is called first. In handicapping the usual odds are (I) bisques, which may also be given in addition to other odds, or to balance odds received; (2) half-fifteen, or one point to be taken at the beginning of the second and every alternate game; (3) fifteen, or one point in every game; (4) half-thirty, or one point in every odd game and twopoints in every even game; (5) thirty, or two points in every game; (6) half-forty, or two points in every odd game and three in every even game; (7). forty, or three, points in every game. Other handicaps are: - ` ` Round services," the giver of odds having to serve so that the ball hits both the side and end penthouse; " half the court, " the giver of the odds confining his strokes, except service, to one side of the court as divided by the half-court line, a stroke played into the other half counting to his adversary; " touch no walls," the giver of odds confining his play except service to the floor; " bar the openings," the giver of odds losing a point if his ball goes into a gallery or into the dedans or grille; " bar winning openings," which are closed to the giver of odds, who loses a point if the ball enters them; " side walls," the giver of odds losing a point if he plays the ball on to any side wall, the end penthouses being open to him, and the dedans and grille. In these " cramped " odds the rules do not apply if the ball goes out of limits after the second bound.

The Game and Hints on Play

The players decide who shall serve by spinning a racquet on its head. One spins and the other calls " rough " or " smooth," the " rough " side of the head of the racquet showing the knots of some of the lower strings. The winner takes the service side, service being an advantage. He serves from any part of the court, and in any way he thinks best, and the ball must go over the net, strike the side penthouse, and fall into the service-court (see " Fault " and " Pass "). His opponent (" striker-out ") tries to return the ball over the net before it has touched the ground a second time; he may volley or half-volley it. For a stroke to be " good " it must be made before the second bound of the ball, and the ball must go over the net (even if it touches it), and must not strike the wall above the play-line, nor touch the roof or rafters. The first point to be attained is to be sure of getting the ball over the net, the next to do so in such a way as to defeat the opposing player's attempt to make a "good" stroke in return.

It often happens that a player, either intentionally or from inability, does not take or touch a ball returned to him over the net. In this event, chiefly on the service side, a " chase " (in Italian caccia, in French chasse) is made, the goodness or the badness of which depends upon the spot on the floor which the ball touches next after its first bound. The nearer this spot is to the end wall the better the chase. The chase lines are numbered, being one yard apart, the shorter lines representing the half-distance. The chases are noted and called by the marker. Thus if a ball fell on the line marked 4, he would call " chase four "; if between 4 and 3, he would call " Better than four " if it fell nearer to 4 than the short line, and " Worse than three " if it fell on the short line or between the short line and 3; for if the ball fall on a line the striker is credited with the better stroke. Strokes into the galleries and doors, with the exception of the winning gallery (last gallery, hazard side) count as chases. The making, or, in technical language, the " laying down" of a chase does not immediately affect the score: it has to be won first, i.e. the other player tries to make a better chase; if he fails, the original maker wins. For this purpose after two chases have been laid down (or one, if either player's score is at 40) the players change sides, e.g. if X has been serving and Y has laid down two chases, Y becomes the server and tries to defend them, X to win them by making the ball fall nearer to the back wall after its first bound than Y did. Either player wins the chase if he " finds " (i.e. hits the ball into) one of the winning openings, or if his opponent fails to make a good return. The winner of the chase scores a point. The chases are played off in the order in which they are made. Should X in trying to win a chase make the same chase as Y originally laid down, the chase is off and neither side scores. In France the chase is played again. The " rest " goes on till one of the players fails to make a good return, or deliberately leaves the ball alone in order that his opponent may lay down a chase (a procedure to be followed at the discretion of a player in whose judgment the chase will be a bad one), or lose a chase already laid down and in the course of being played off. Either player can score, there being no " hand-in " or " hand-out " as at racquets. A point is scored by that player whose opponent fails to make a good return stroke in a rest, or who strikes the ball into a winning opening, or wins a chase, or to whom two faults are served in succession. A player loses a stroke who strikes the ball twice, or allows it to touch himself or his clothes.

" He who would excel as a tennis-player must learn to serve," is the dictum of an amateur champion, but the necessary variations, the difference between the " railroad " and the " giraffe," &c., can only be explained by an experienced player and in the court. Variety is all-important, as is the knowledge of what sort of service is most valuable in defending a particular chase. All service should be heavily " cut." For the winning of hazard-side chases, indeed for all purposes, the " nick " service is useful, the endeavour being to make the service drop at the nick of the grille-wall and the floor. In attempting this service it should be remembered that it is better for the ball to hit the floor first than the wall, as this allows the cut to act. It is wise to cultivate one sort of service to perfection, if possible, with a reserve of others to suit the occasion. Again, the tennis " stroke," differing essentially as it does from the racquet stroke, can only be learnt in the court from a good teacher; but it is an axiom that tennis is not a game in which hard hitting necessarily tells, though force may be usefully employed in trying to " find " the winning openings. This, however, is an important point of etiquette - it is not " correct " to force for the dedans when the striker is close to the net, unless the force is " boasted " or there is no danger of hitting his opponent. In some clubs such a stroke is forbidden by a by-law. Some modern players play a faster and harder game than their predecessors, who considered strokes " on the floor," i.e. carefully judged chases, to be the true feature of the game; but in any case the beginner should remember that it is better to save his breath and to trust to winning an easy chase by-and-by than to run after a hard-hit stroke, which if left alone would leave " chase the door " or " second gallery " to be played for afterwards. Similarly in defending a chase, he should remember during the rest what that chase is, and not endeavour to return a stroke which would have lost it. Chases act as breathing-spaces, especially to the player who can trust to his skill " on the floor," and these, together with good service, form the reason why men can play tennis, and play it well, at a time of life when cricket, racquets and other active games have to be abandoned.


Tennis may well be called a royal game, having been popular with various kings of England and France, though it is fanciful to connect it with Homer's Nausicaa, princess of Phaeacia (Odyss. vi. 115), who is represented by him as throwing, and not as hitting the ball to her maids of honour. In the ball-games of the Greeks and Romans we may see the rudiments of the French jeu de paurne, which is undoubtedly the ancestor of modern tennis in a direct line. The origin of the name is quite obscure. Some give a numerical derivation from the fact that la longue paume was played by ten players, five on each side; others regard it as a corruption of tamis (sieve), for in a form of la paume the server bounced the ball on a sieve and then struck it: there is no possible reason for connecting " tennis " with the term Tenois, or Senois; most probable is the derivation from Tenez! (Take it! Play!), especially when we remember the large number of French terms that adhere to the game, e.g., grille, tambour (drum, from the sound on the board that formed the face of that buttress) and dedans. Further, a poem dealing with the game, written in Latin elegiacs by R. Frissart, makes the striker cry " Excipc!" (Take it!) after each stroke: this seems to correspond with the custom which enjoins the racquet-marker to call " Play " whenever a legitimate stroke has been made. Tennis Racquet.

In the " Alexiad " of Anna Comnena (about A.D. 1120) is a reference to a game played on horseback in which a staff, curved at the end and strung with strings of plaited gut, was used. This game was played in a court called " a court for goff (sic)" (according to the Lexicon of Alexandrine Greek), and some similar game, corrupted through tchangan into chicane, was played in France. In A.D. 1300 the game was also known as La boude. Throughout the century indeed it was played in France and by the highest in the land: thus Louis X. died from a chill contracted after playing; Charles V. was devoted to the game, though he vainly tried to stop it as a pastime for the lower classes; Charles VI. watched the game from the room where he was confined during his attack of insanity, and Du Guesclin amused himself with it during the siege of Dinan. In England the game, or some form of it, was known, Chaucer possibly alluding to it in the words " But canstow playen racket to and fro "; and hand-ball, which may have been either tennis or cricket, was proscribed with other games by Edward III. in 1365. In France the game was prohibited to priests in A.D. 1245, and also in 1485, 1512 and 1673. In 1427 we hear of a woman named Margot, who was a skilful player, both her forehanded and backhanded strokes being commended; hence we may infer that the racquet had now been introduced. Tennis was at this time frequently played in some crude form in the moats of castles, where Charles VIII. used to watch the game. Henri II. is described as the best player in France, and worthy of the silver ball given to the finest players. Later, Henri IV. and Louis XIV. (who kept a regular staff to look after his court) were patrons and players of tennis; indeed, in Henri IV.'s reign so popular was the sport that it was said that there were " more tennis-players in Paris than drunkards in England"; in the 16th century Paris alone could boast of 250 courts, yet it is stated that in 187 9 there were only six courts in the whole of France. The word " tennis " - the game having hitherto been described as luens pilae - is first found in Gower's "Balade unto the worthy and noble kynge Henry the fourth " (1400), but Shakespeare's allusion to tennis as known to Henry V. must not be omitted. In reply to messengers from the dauphin, who had sent him a present of tennis-balls by their hands, Henry says: " When we have match'd our rackets to these balls.

We will, in France, by God's grace, play a set Shall strike his father's crown into the hazard.

Tell him he hath made a match with such a wrangler That all the courts of France will be disturb'd With chases." - (Henry V., Act i., sc. 2.) Even if it be an anachronism that the poet should put these technical terms into the king's mouth, yet the fact is established that the terms were familiar in Elizabeth's time. Henry VII. indeed both played the game and revoked the edicts that forbade it; there was a court at Windsor Castle in his time, an open court with four bare walls, no penthouse, &c., being visible, and connected with the palace by a covered way. This court still existed in 1607. It was in that reign, possibly in that court, that the king of Castile played a match with the marquis of Dorset, the king, who used a racquet, conceding " fifteen " to the marquis, who played with his hand. The king won the set. Henry VIII. probably built the court at Hampton Court Palace. In 1615 there were further courts in London of various sizes, and a picture of James II. as a boy represents him standing in a tennis-court holding a shorthandled racquet, strung diagonally. Pepys frequently alludes to tennis at a time when there were two courts at Oxford and five at Cambridge. Though the game flourished in the 19th century, it lost some of its popularity, mainly through the demolition of courts as building operations increased; moreover, courts complete in every detail alone were built, the play being consequently confined to the members of the clubs that could afford the expense. The last of the old courts to disappear stood in Windmill Street, at the top of the Haymarket, London. King Edward VII., when prince of Wales, frequently played tennis at " Prince's " Court.

The evolution of the court as now built is not easily traced, but courts undoubtedly existed side by side which differed from each other both in detail and in dimensions. It is generally assumed that such details as the penthouse, grille, galleries, &c., were deliberately planned to elaborate the game, but it is not unreasonable to suggest that the game, played, as it must often have been, in extemporized courts, took some of its modifications from them: it is at least significant that in an old illustration of la paume a miniature penthouse appears (from which the ball is rolling), apparently a shelter for a bell. The net does not appear till the 17th century, a rope, fringed or tasselled, being stretched across the court: further, the racquet was not in universal use in 1527, since Erasmus in his Colloquies says, " Reticulum (net, or racquet) piscatoribus relinquamus: elegantius est Palma uti." An Italian, Antonio Scanio de Salo, is the first bibliographer of tennis. In his Trattato della Palla (treatise on the Ball) he mentions a large court for the game as played with a racquet, and a small court for the hand-game. The large court was 121 ft. long; it was entered by two doors, one between the first and second galleries on either side of the net; there were four galleries on each side; the dedans W extended across the whole width of the court: the tambour was there and two grilles. He also mentioned chases, but these were decided by the place where the ball finally stopped, the spot being marked by a small movable standard. In another kind of court he says that there was no tambour, but two grilles.

The penthouse was sometimes confined to two walls, sometimes to one, the end wall service side. In the hand-court one side was open all its length, with the exception of the battery and some pillars that perhaps gave variety to the stroke. The Latin poem to which allusion has been made shows the similarity of the 17th-century game to the modern: the racquet is spun; the marker (signator) is there to mark the chases (metae) with the movable standard; there is the grille (fenestra); the scoring by " 15, 30, 40, game "; the volley (volatu ludere); the nick (pedi ludere, French au pied); the appeal to the spectators; the board (tatella, French Pais); deuce and vantage, and the penthouse. In the 15th and 16th centuries tennisballs were so largely imported from France that the Ironmongers' Company, who were the English manufactures, twice petitioned - the last time in 1591 - for " protection " in the matter of balls. The term " bisk " (bisque, originally bi_squayel does not appear in English tennis till 1697 (Shadwell's True Widow), nor is the winning gallery mentioned before 1767. In the 17th century tennis became a spectacle in France, and the professional player came into existence, the most famous of that time being Le Pape, Clerge and Servo, and about the same time was formed the gild of Paulmiers-racquetiers (manufacturers of tennis material) with its arms, " Sable, a tennisracquet proper; in a cross four tennis-balls of the same." De Garsault, writing in 1797, says, " La Paume is the only game that can take rank in the list of Arts and Crafts," and his book, L'art du Paumier-Racquetier, was adopted by the Academie Royale. In France very large sums of money were wagered on the game, especially at the end of the 16th century, the stakes being deposited under the cord or net, while in England, about 1750, there was so much betting and swindling, especially by professional players, that the game as played in the public courts fell into disrepute. In the middle of the 19th century, tennis-courts were rare indeed in England, the best known being those of the Marylebone Cricket Club (built in 1838), of the Messrs Prince in Hans Place, S.W., besides one at Brighton, one at Hampton Court, two at Cambridge, and one at Oxford; but the game progressed so fast that in 1910 there were between thirty and forty courts in England, one each in Ireland and Scotland, five in America, six in France, one in Melbourne (Australia) and one in Tasmania. The game has disappeared in Italy, Germany, Austria and Spain, though in Spain it was popular in the days of Philip III. (1578-1621) who was himself fond of playing.

The great French players mentioned above were followed by others - Cabasse (who invented the " boasted force " known as the coup de Cabasse), Barcellon, Farolais and Barneon, and in the 18th century the Charniers, Bergeron and Masson, the last-named a really great player who could give fifteen to any of his contemporaries. One of his feats was to stand in a barrel before receiving the service, spring out of it and into it before and after each stroke. Other good players of later date were C. A. Delahaye, and greatest of all, J. E. Barre, who in 1855 re-opened the Versailles court, famous for the meeting of the Tiers Etat on the 10th of June 1789, which body there assembled and took the celebrated " Oath of the tennis-court." Masson is supposed to have visited England in 1792 and to have played against Messrs Hawkins and Price, and a professional called Pillet (or Pilet); but of Barre's visit there can be no doubt, as he played on the new court of the Marylebone Club in 1839, meeting " Peter " Tompkins, the English champion, and beating him so severely that when they met again next year Tompkins received the odds of thirty and a bisque. As an instance of the meagre interest taken in tennis at the time, Julian Marshall in his Annals of Tennis states that in Bell's Life, the leading sporting paper, Barre is reported as playing Cox and Tompkins " giving 72 for a bisque," the tennis term " half fifteen " being arithmetically rendered. C. G. Taylor, the great cricketer, was one of the best amateurs, about this time. Barre eventually resigned the championship in favour of George Lambert, who was beaten in 1885 by T. Pettitt, of Boston U.S.A. Athletic Association, an Englishman by birth, who learnt all his tennis in America. Charles Saunders beat Lambert in 1886, thereby becoming champion of England. Pettitt and Saunders met for the championship of the world at Dublin, Pettitt winning by seven sets to five. The match took place in May 1890, and during the autumn, Pettitt declining to defend the title, Saunders assumed it, but five years later he was challenged by Peter Latham and beaten, Latham thus becoming the champion of the world both at racquets and tennis. An American, George Standing, challenged him in 1897 for the racquets championship, but was beaten, and next year Pettitt challenged Latham at tennis. In 1904 C. Fairs (" Punch ")") challenged Latham for the championship, but was beaten; but in 1908 Latham resigned his title, and Fairs then issued a challenge to any other player in the world to contest his right to the position of champion. The challenge was taken up in 1910 by G. F. Covey, the match for the championship, played at Brighton in the summer of 1910, being won by Fairs after a close contest, in which the younger player secured six sets to his opponent's seven, and fifty-three games to fifty-nine won by the champion. Among amateurs a formal championship was not established till 1889, the recognized champion being the winner of the gold prize annually given by the Marylebone Cricket Club to its members, the competition not being made " open " till 1896. For fifteen years, from 1867 to 188r, J. M. Heathcote held the title, among those whom he defeated during that period being such fine tennis-players as Julian Marshall, G. B. Crawley, the Hon. C. G. Lyttelton (afterwards Lord Cobham), R. D. Walker, C. E. Boyle, and the Hon. Alfred Lyttelton. In 1882 A. Lyttelton defeated Heathcote, only to be beaten next year by him, and to beat him in turn in 1884 and 1885; but in 1886 Heathcote (then fifty-three years of age) was again champion. From 1887 to 1895 inclusive the Hon. A. Lyttelton was champion, defeating during that time (besides Heathcote) A. J. Webbe, Sir Edward Grey and H. E. Crawley. Grey's perseverance - he won the silver prize on six occasions - was rewarded with the gold prize in 1896, but he was dispossessed in 1897 by E. H. Miles, who won for the next ten years, with the exception of 1900 when he was beaten by J. B. Gribble. On six occasions during this series Sir Edward Grey was second to the winner.


Sir E. Grey.


E. H. Miles.


E. B. Curtis.


E. H. Miles.


Sir E. Grey.


E. H. Miles.


H. E. Crawley.


E. H. Miles.


H. E. Crawley.


V. Pennell.


H. E. Crawley.


E. H. Miles.


Sir E. Grey.


E. H. Miles.


Sir E. Grey.


Jay Gould.


J. B. Gribble.


Jay Gould.


Sir E. Grey.


E. H. Miles.


E. H. Miles.


E. H. Miles.

In 1889 the amateur championship, open to all amateurs, was instituted at Queen's Club, West Kensington. The following list shows the winners: - It may be mentioned that Heathcote and Lyttelton, who monopolized the Marylebone Club's gold prize for twenty-nine years, were strict adherents to the old-fashioned classical game, the winning and defending of chases and the clever placing of the ball being the leading feature of their game. A different and less attractive style of play, consisting of harder hitting, asserted itself in Miles's first success, ,which was followed by many others; but Jay Gould, an American amateur, who beat Miles for the championship in 1907 and again in 1908, owed his success to the perfection of his style in the older and more scientific tennis. He did not defend his title in 1909, when Miles again became amateur champion in his absence, a title which Miles again retained in 1910.

The universities of Oxford and Cambridge have played two matches, two-handed and four-handed, ever since 1859, with the exception of 1864 when neither match was played. The games are played at the court of the Marylebone Club.

Tennis in America

Few tennis-courts existed in America before 1880, about which time the buildings of the Boston Athletic Association and the New York Racquet and Tennis Club were built. There are now also courts at Chicago, Tuxedo, Lakewood and several other places, but the game is naturally played by comparatively few persons. Tom Pettitt, mentioned above as for several years champion of the world, was for many years in charge of the Boston courts. Other first-class men are Alfred Tompkins of New York, Boakes of Chicago, and Forester. Richard Sears first won the American championship in 1892, and it has been won since by F. Warren, B. S. de Garmendia, L. M. Stockton (four times), Eustace Miles (champion of Great Britain), Joshua Crane, and Jay Gould (amateur champion 1907 and 1908). The older courts at Boston and New York are rather low and small, but the newer ones are perfect.

See J. M. Heathcote, Tennis, Lawn Tennis, Rackets, Fives, in " The Badminton Library," new and revised edition (London, 1903); Racquets, Tennis and Squash, by Eustace Miles (London, 1902)

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This page was last modified 29-SEP-18
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