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The history of tennis
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The Ancient Pyramids in Egypt
French monks

Some historians date tennis as far back as Egyptian times.

They say the Arabic word for the palm of the hand, rahat, is the origin of the word racket.

But the most common view is that it was a crude courtyard ball game invented by 11th or 12th century French monks.

The name tennis is said to come from the French word 'Tenez!' (from the verb tenir meaning 'to take').

It means 'take this', which the monks would yell as they served the ball with their hand.

Roland Garros
Roland Garros: French tennis the modern way

The unusual word love, for zero, is also said to derive from the French 'oeuf', which means egg.

The game became popular as rich aristocrats learned the game from the monks.

The nobles modified their courtyards into indoor courts and developed gloves and then bats to hit the ball, which were made of cork wrapped in string or cloth and later, leather.

Some accounts say that by the 13th century there were as many as 1,800 indoor courts.

By 1500, a wooden frame racket laced with gut strings made from sheep's intestines was in common use - together with a cork ball weighing around three ounces.





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