107 Best Facts About Tennis (Fully Explained Facts)

19 June 2023

Tennis, a popular racket sport, has a rich history and an array of interesting facts that many fans and enthusiasts may not know. With its origins dating back to the 12th century in northern France, tennis has evolved significantly over time. Played both indoors and outdoors on hard-surface, clay, and grass courts, tennis is enjoyed by millions of people worldwide, from amateurs to professional athletes.

The 107 Most Interesting Tennis Facts

In this article, several intriguing facts about tennis will be explored, shedding light on this captivating sport and providing readers with a deeper understanding of its history, rules, and prominent players.

Fact 1: Tennis origins

Tennis is believed to have originated in the monastic cloisters in northern France in the 12th century. The ball was struck with the palm of the hand, and the game was called "jeu de paume" (game of the palm) at that time. Rackets came into use during the 16th century, and the word "Tennis" is derived from the Anglo-Norman term "Tenez."

Fact 2: The serve

The tennis serve plays a crucial role in starting each point. The server stands behind the baseline and must hit the ball into the opponent's service box diagonally across the court. A tennis serve can reach speeds of up to 263 km/h (163 mph), as demonstrated by Samuel Groth in 2012.

Tennis player hits a serve

Fact 3: Wimbledon

Wimbledon, also known as The Championships, is the oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament in the world. Founded in 1877, it takes place annually at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, England. Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam tournament still played on grass courts.

Fact 4: Grand Slam

There are four major tennis tournaments, known as Grand Slam events: Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open. These prestigious tournaments are the most important events in the tennis calendar, and winning all four in a single year is called a "Calendar-Year Grand Slam." In total, 8 players have achieved this feat in tennis history.

Fact 5: Tennis ball

Tennis balls are made of a hollow rubber core covered with a bright yellow felt made of wool and nylon, which makes them more visible to players and spectators. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) sets the standards for tennis balls, ensuring they have a consistent size, weight, and bounce.

The ideal tennis ball should have a diameter between 6.54 and 6.86 centimeters (2.57 and 2.70 inches) and weigh between 56 and 59.4 grams (1.98 and 2.10 ounces). A key characteristic of tennis balls is their pressurized air interior, which can affect the bounce and performance during play.

Can of tennis balls

Fact 6: Tennis sets

In a typical tennis match, the winner must claim at least six games with a difference of two or more to win a set.

Players usually need to win two or three sets, depending on the competition or the players' agreement, to claim victory in the match. Understanding and tracking sets are essential to grasp the scoring and progress in a tennis match.

Fact 7: Tennis rackets

The evolution of tennis rackets has come a long way since the early days of the sport. The first rackets were made of solid wood, while modern rackets are crafted from lightweight materials such as graphite and carbon fiber.

These innovations have allowed players to generate more power and control in their shots, making tennis even more exciting and competitive.

Fact 8: The tennis net

The net is a key component of a tennis court, serving as the barrier that divides the court into two halves. Its height is 3 feet 6 inches (1.07 meters) at the posts and 3 feet (0.914 meters) in the middle. The depth of the net measures 3 feet 9.2441 inches, which extends and determines the width of the singles and doubles courts.

Fact 9: Tennis scoring system

Tennis has a unique scoring system, different from other sports. Each game score progresses from 0 (also called "love") to 15, 30, and then 40, followed by "game" on the next winning point. If both players reach 40, it is called a "deuce," and the winner must secure two consecutive points to win the game.

Fact 10: The longest tennis match

The longest tennis match in history took place at Wimbledon in 2010 between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut. The match lasted an astonishing 11 hours and 5 minutes, spanning over three days.

Isner eventually emerged as the winner, with a final score of 70-68 in the fifth set, showcasing the remarkable endurance, skill, and mental fortitude required in professional tennis.

Fact 11: Evolution of tennis rackets

Tennis rackets have undergone significant changes over the years. In the game's early history, players used wooden rackets with small, lopsided heads. By the 1980s, manufacturers began to use graphite instead of wood, giving players more power and control.

The racket head size also increased to allow for a larger sweet spot. Today, players use a variety of materials, including graphene and carbon fiber, to create lightweight, high-performance rackets.

Wooden tennis rackets

Fact 12: Clay-court tennis

Clay courts, made of crushed brick or shale, give the ball a slower, higher bounce compared to other court surfaces. The slower play on clay demands excellent fitness and endurance from players, as rallies tend to be longer.

The French Open, one of the four Grand Slam tournaments, is played on clay courts, showcasing players' exceptional skill, and stamina on this demanding surface.

Fact 13: Tennis in Australia

Tennis in Australia has a rich history, featuring legendary players such as Rod Laver and Margaret Court. The Australian Open, held annually in Melbourne, is one of the world's four Grand Slam tennis tournaments.

It features hard-court play, attracting the best players from around the globe and offering a unique sporting spectacle for tennis fans.

Australian Open flags

Fact 14: The French connection

The origins of tennis can be traced back to 12th-century France, where it was played indoors using the palm of the hand to hit the ball, and was called "jeu de paume" or "game of the palm." The modern game of tennis emerged from this early French sport, evolving to include rackets and an outdoor setting.

Fact 15: Tennis players and records

Many great tennis players have marked the sport's history with their impressive skills and iconic styles. Among the most legendary tennis players are Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, and Steffi Graf.

Numerous records have been set over the years, such as Serena Williams' 23 Grand Slam singles titles in the Open Era and Roger Federer's 20 Grand Slam singles titles, showcasing the incredible talent and dedication of these athletes.

Fact 16: Singles and doubles player styles

In tennis, players often specialize in either singles or doubles, developing unique skills and strategies for each mode. Singles players focus on playing one-on-one, using powerful serves and consistent groundstrokes to outlast their opponents.

Doubles matches, on the other hand, involve two pairs of players, emphasizing communication, teamwork, and volley skills in their gameplay.

Fact 17: Origins of lawn tennis

Lawn tennis originated in England during the 19th century, combining elements of earlier racket sports such as jeu de paume. The modern version of the game has evolved significantly since then, now played on various court surfaces such as grass, clay, and hard courts.

Fact 18: The US Open

The US Open is one of the four prestigious Grand Slam tennis tournaments, held annually in New York, United States. It is played on hard courts, testing players' endurance, and athletic abilities due to the surface's speed and bounce.

The tournament features singles, doubles, and mixed doubles events, attracting top competitors from around the world.

US Open brackets

Fact 19: Roger Federer's records

Swiss tennis player Roger Federer is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in tennis history. With numerous accomplishments, Federer currently holds the record for the most Wimbledon men's singles titles with eight.

He also spent an astonishing 310 weeks as the world number one, further solidifying his place in tennis history.

Fact 20: Grass courts

Grass courts, most famously used at Wimbledon, require a unique set of skills from players. The slippery, fast nature of the surface results in quick points and less predictable ball bounces. Players must adapt their strategies, focusing on touch, net play, and aggressive serving to be successful on grass courts.

Fact 21: Unique tennis court locations

Tennis courts can be found in various unique locations worldwide. For example, the floating tennis court in the Maldives allows players to enjoy a game surrounded by stunning ocean views. This unusual setting provides an unforgettable experience for both the players and spectators.

Fact 22: Tennis doubles strategy

In doubles tennis, teamwork plays a crucial role in the success of a pair. To defeat their opponents, doubles partners must communicate effectively, cover the court strategically, and support each other whenever necessary.

A key tactic for doubles partnerships is to occupy the net, enabling them to gain control over the game and keep the opposing team at the baseline.

Fact 23: The quickest Grand Slam final was only 34 minutes

In 1988, the final of Roland Garros was not nearly as long as you would expect of a final. In only 34 minutes, Steffi Graf beat her opponent Natasha Zvereva 6-0 6-0.

This was not the shortest tennis match ever, but it was the shortest Grand Slam final ever played.

Fact 24: Tiebreak rules

In the event of a 6-6 score in a set, a tiebreak ensues to determine the winner. In a tiebreak, players must reach seven points with a two-point advantage over their opponent. The tiebreak continues until a player achieves the necessary lead, and the winner is awarded the set.

Fact 25: The role of umpires

Tennis umpires are responsible for ensuring the smooth and fair conducting of a match. They oversee the match by calling out points, identifying rule violations, and mediating conflicts between the players.

Umpires play a critical role in maintaining the integrity of the sport by enforcing its rules and upholding the highest standards of sportsmanship.

Tennis chair umpire

Fact 26: The loudest grunt ever was 109 decibels

Grunting, some players love it, and other players hate it. Maria Sharapova is a well-known grunter, but she is not the loudest.

The loudest grunt of 109 decibels was by Michelle Larcher de Brito. One hundred nine decibels is louder than a small aircraft landing, an ambulance siren, or a lion’s roar.

Fact 27: The word "tennis" and its French Connection

The word "tennis" evolved from the French term "tenez," which means "to hold" or "to take." This term was commonly used as a call from one tennis player to another, indicating they were about to serve the ball.

Fact 28: Serena Williams' Grand Slam record

Serena Williams, a professional American tennis player, holds the record for the most Grand Slam singles titles in the Open Era, with 23 titles. She is regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time due to her incredible skill, strength, and determination on the court.

Serena Williams playing tennis

Fact 29: The width of the court is not the same for singles and doubles

78 feet (23.77 meters) long, but the width depends on the type of game. For singles, the court is 27 feet (8.23 meters) wide. For doubles, the court is 36 feet (10.97 meters) wide.

Fact 30: Wimbledon - the world's oldest tennis tournament

Wimbledon, which began in 1877, is the oldest tennis tournament in the world. It holds a special place in the hearts of tennis enthusiasts due to its rich history, unique traditions, and the significant prestige associated with winning the event.

Fact 31: Different surfaces in tennis

Tennis is played on a variety of surfaces, each with its own characteristics affecting gameplay. The main types are clay, grass, and hardcourt. Clay courts are known for their slower ball speed and higher bounce, making rallies longer.

Grass courts offer a faster game with lower bounce, favoring serve-and-volley players. Hardcourts provide a balance between the two, with medium speed and predictable bounce.

Fact 32: Ivo Karlović has the most career aces

Ivo Karlović has hit a total of 13.728 aces in his career. John Isner has the second most aces with 13288 aces, and Roger Federer has the third most career aces with a total of 11452 aces.

Fact 33: Tennis in Britain

Tennis has a rich history in Britain, with the prestigious Wimbledon Championships being the oldest and most well-known tennis tournament in the world. Established in 1877, Wimbledon is played on grass courts and is considered one of the four Grand Slam events, along with the Australian Open, French Open, and US Open.

Fact 34: Longest match in Australian Open history

The longest match in the history of the Australian Open took place in 2012, when Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal faced off in the men's singles final. The epic battle lasted 5 hours and 53 minutes, with Djokovic eventually emerging victorious, winning his third Australian Open title.

Fact 35: The scoring system is said to be based on the clock

Although the origin of the scoring system in tennis is lost in time, it is commonly believed that it is based on the clock. 45 would be too long to say, so that is why it’s 15-30-40 instead of 15-30-45.

Fact 36: French Open

The French Open, also known as Roland Garros, is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments and is played on clay courts. This prestigious event takes place annually in Paris, France, and is known for its challenging playing conditions due to the slow and high-bouncing court surface. As such, players require a great deal of stamina and endurance to excel in this tournament.

Fact 37: Novak Djokovic

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic is currently ranked as one of the top professional tennis players in the world. With numerous Grand Slam titles to his name, including victories at the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open, Djokovic is a force to be reckoned with on the court. In 2016, Djokovic also achieved a career Grand Slam by winning the French Open.

Fact 38: Tournaments

Tennis tournaments can be categorized into several levels, with the four Grand Slam events – the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open – being the most prestigious. Other noteworthy tournaments include the ATP World Tour Masters 1000, ATP World Tour 500, and ATP World Tour 250 events. Many of these competitions showcase the greatest talent in both men's and women's tennis.

Fact 39: Björn Borg has the best win-loss ratio, with 89.2%

Björn Borg is a name that pretty much every tennis lover has heard of. With a percentage of 89.2, he has a better win-loss ratio than anyone else. Still, he is closely followed by Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Roger Federer.

Fact 40: All lines are between 1 and 2 inches (2.54 and 5.08 cm) in width

The only line that is allowed to exceed this width is the baseline. The baseline can be up to 4 inches (10.16 cm) wide. Although, in reality, the baseline is usually as wide as the other lines.

Line on a tennis court

Fact 41: Grunting in tennis

Grunting is a common occurrence in tennis, as many players make loud noises while striking the ball. This is believed to help them release stress, improve their technique, and potentially distract their opponents. However, some argue that grunting can be disruptive and may have a negative impact on the game.

Fact 42: Steffi Graf's dominance

Steffi Graf is a former German tennis player who dominated the sport throughout the 1980s and 1990s. She holds the record for the most weeks spent as the world's number-one ranked female player and is the only tennis player in history to have won each of the four Grand Slam titles at least four times.

Fact 43: Tennis athletes' training

Tennis athletes undergo rigorous training schedules to maintain their physical fitness levels and technical skills. They often practice for several hours each day, focusing on various aspects of the game, such as serves, returns, footwork, and strategy.

Many players also engage in cross-training activities like running, swimming, and strength training to improve their overall athleticism.

Fact 44: Indoor tennis courts

Tennis can be played both indoors and outdoors, with many professional tournaments taking place on indoor courts.

Indoor courts offer a controlled environment, eliminating factors like sun and wind that can impact the game. They also allow for year-round play, regardless of weather conditions, providing a valuable resource for players living in colder climates.

Fact 45: A racket is usually 27 inches (68.58 cm) long

There are also rackets available at other lengths, such as 27.5 inches (69.85 cm) or 29 inches (73.66 cm). Rackets for children are usually between 21 and 26 inches (53.34 and 66.04 cm) long.

Tecnifibre tennis racket

Fact 46: Tiebreakers

Tiebreakers are an essential part of tennis matches, used to determine the winner of a set when the score reaches 6-6. The first player or team to score 7 points with a 2-point lead wins the tiebreaker and the set. Tiebreakers are particularly important in deciding close and competitive matches.

Fact 47: Davis Cup

The Davis Cup is an international men's tennis competition, often referred to as the "World Cup of Tennis." Established in 1900, it is one of the oldest and most prestigious tennis events. Countries compete in teams, with each team consisting of four players.

The competition consists of singles and doubles matches, with the winning team progressing through various stages until a champion is crowned.

Fact 48: U.S. tennis popularity

Tennis is a popular sport in the U.S., with millions of people participating both at recreational and professional levels. The U.S. Open is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments and attracts top athletes from around the world, contributing to the sport's popularity.

Fact 49: Outdoor and indoor surfaces

Tennis matches can be played on various court surfaces, such as grass, clay, and hard courts. While outdoor courts are more common, indoor courts also exist, providing an opportunity for tennis enthusiasts to play regardless of weather conditions. Some notable indoor tennis events include the ATP World Tour Finals and the WTA Finals.

Fact 50: The evolution of tennis balls

Over the years, tennis balls have evolved quite significantly. Originally made with a leather exterior and filled with hair or wool, modern tennis balls now have a rubber core and a felt covering. This evolution has improved the consistency and performance of the balls, adding to the excitement of the game.

Fact 51: Introduction of tiebreak

Tiebreak was introduced in the 1970s to regulate the duration of tennis matches by terminating prolonged sets. A tiebreak is played when the score reaches 6-6 in a set, and the winner is determined by reaching at least 7 points with a margin of two or more points.

Fact 52: Walter Clopton Wingfield's contribution

Walter Clopton Wingfield played a significant role in the development of modern tennis. In 1873, he patented a version of the sport called "Sphairistike," which was a precursor to today's tennis. His invention included an hourglass-shaped court and a net similar to the one used nowadays.

Fact 53: There are natural gut strings and synthetic strings

The strings in a tennis racket can be made from different types of materials. The strings can be made of cow intestines, facilitating increased power.

Synthetic strings are often made of nylon, which is cheaper and more common among amateur players because of its all-around performance.

Stringing a tennis racket

Fact 54: Henry VIII's love for tennis

King Henry VIII of England was an avid fan of tennis, and he played the sport frequently throughout his reign. His passion for the game is evident in the creation of several tennis courts, including the one at Hampton Court Palace, which still stands today.

Fact 55: International Lawn Tennis Federation

The International Lawn Tennis Federation (now known as the International Tennis Federation) was established in 1913, aiming to standardize the rules and regulations of tennis worldwide. Today, the ITF oversees the organization and management of major tennis events and ensures the sport's continuity and growth.

Fact 56: Open Era in tennis

The Open Era in tennis began in 1968, which marked the end of the strict amateurism rules that previously dominated the sport.

This change allowed professional players to compete in major tournaments alongside traditional amateur players, profoundly impacting the world of tennis and leading to increased popularity and growth of the sport.

Competitions such as Wimbledon and the US Open became accessible platforms for both professionals and amateurs.

Fact 57: Billie Jean King's legacy

Billie Jean King is a trailblazer in women's tennis, having won a total of 39 Grand Slam titles. As an advocate for equality, King was instrumental in fighting for equal pay for women tennis players.

She famously defeated Bobby Riggs in the "Battle of the Sexes" match in 1973, which became a symbolic victory for gender equality in sports.

Fact 58: ATP and WTA tournaments require a ball change every nine games

Tennis balls can wear out quite quickly, which is why a ball change occurs every nine games. The first ball change takes place after seven games since those balls are also used for the warm-up.

An exception is made at the beginning of a tiebreak. In this case, the ball change will wait until the second game of the next set.

Fact 59: Tennis and the Olympics

Tennis was introduced as an Olympic sport in 1896 during the first modern Olympics. It was removed from the Olympic program in 1924 but returned as a demonstration event for athletes aged 21 and under in 1984 before making a full return in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Since then, tennis has been a regular feature in the Olympic Games.

Tennis with Olympic medals

Fact 60: Martina Hingis' early success

Martina Hingis had an extraordinary tennis career. In 1997, she became the youngest Grand Slam champion and World No. 1 at just 16 years of age.

Hingis had a successful singles and doubles career, winning a total of 25 Grand Slam titles. She ultimately retired in 2007 due to injury but continued to play doubles and mixed doubles until 2017.

Fact 61: Sphairistike

Sphairistike, the precursor to modern tennis, originated in the 1870s in England. Walter Clopton Wingfield developed this indoor version of the game, which featured similar rules and equipment to tennis, but with a smaller court.

Later, the game evolved into the well-known sport we recognize today, played both indoors and outdoors with a larger court.

Fact 62: Maria Sharapova

María Sharapova is a former Russian professional tennis player who achieved numerous accolades throughout her career. She held the world No. 1 ranking in singles five times between 2004 and 2012.

Sharapova is one of the ten women who achieved a career Grand Slam, which means winning all four major tennis tournaments: the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open.

Fact 63: ATP Rankings

The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) is the governing body of men's professional tennis and oversees the ATP Tour. The organization's ranking system calculates points based on a player's performance in various tournaments throughout the year.

This system determines the ranking of each player, which in turn can impact their entry into prestigious tournaments and affect their seedings.

Fact 64: Rafael Nadal

Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal is regarded as one of the greatest tennis players in history. Nadal has won 22 Grand Slam titles. Often nicknamed "The King of Clay," Nadal has dominated the French Open, winning the title 14 times, which is the most by any player in history.

Rafael Nadal playing at the Olympics

Fact 65: Olympic Gold

Tennis has been a part of the Olympic Games since the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens. However, tennis was removed from the Olympic program in 1924 and did not return until the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.

Winning an Olympic gold medal is considered prestigious, and only a few tennis players have achieved the remarkable feat of winning all four Grand Slam titles and an Olympic gold, a rare accomplishment known as the "Golden Slam."

Fact 66: Technology in tennis

Tennis has seen significant advancements in technology over the years. From the development of new racket materials to the introduction of electronic line-calling systems, technology has played a crucial role in the evolution of the game.

Players and spectators can now have a better experience, and match results are becoming more accurate and consistent.

Fact 67: Court Types

Tennis can be played on various court surfaces, each having its own impact on the style and speed of play. A rectangular court is commonly used and can be made from clay, grass, or hard surfaces like concrete or acrylic.

Each surface affects the ball's bounce and players' movements in distinct ways, allowing players to adapt their strategies accordingly.

Fact 68: Tennis services

There is an extensive range of services related to tennis, from coaching and training programs to equipment sales and maintenance. These services cater to players of all levels, from beginners to professionals, helping them improve their skills, obtain the necessary gear, and maintain their playing facilities.

Fact 69: Tennis dictionary

As with any sport, tennis has its own set of unique terminologies. Terms like "ace," "break point," "crosscourt," and "volley" are part of the tennis dictionary, and understanding them is essential for players, coaches, and avid followers of the sport.

Familiarizing oneself with these terms enhances the overall understanding and appreciation of the game.

Fact 70: Match summaries

Match summaries play a vital role in tennis, as they provide a concise overview of the key moments, statistics, and outcomes of a match.

They allow fans to quickly catch up on the latest events in the tennis world, while players can use them to analyze their performance or study their opponents' playing styles. These summaries are usually available on sports websites, news outlets, and tennis tournament pages.

Fact 71: There are eight main shots in tennis

These eight shots are the serve, forehand, backhand, volley, half-volley, overhead smash, drop shot, and lob.

Fact 72: Open stance is the most common stance

There are several stances in tennis, such as the neutral stance and the closed stance. The open stance is the most common. An open stance means the player stands parallel to the net and allows for plenty of torso rotation.

Fact 73: Deuce

In tennis scoring, when both players have reached a score of 40, the game is said to be at "deuce." To win the game, a player must now earn two consecutive points, with the first player to achieve this winning the game.

If the players continue to alternate points after reaching deuce, the score will remain tied until one player finally secures the necessary two-point lead to claim the game. The term "deuce" likely comes from the Old French word "deus," meaning "two."

Deuce on a tennis court

Fact 74: Federation Cup

The Federation Cup, now known as the Billie Jean King Cup, is an annual international women's tennis competition. Established in 1963, it is one of the world's largest and most prestigious tennis events, with women's national teams from around the globe competing in a knockout-style tournament.

The format of the Federation Cup is similar to the men's Davis Cup, comprising singles and doubles matches in a team format.

Fact 75: National Championships

Tennis has a rich history of national championships that predate the modern, internationally recognized tournaments. Many countries have their own national tennis championships, where top players compete for national honor and recognition.

One of the oldest and most renowned national championships is the US National Championship, which began in 1881 and later evolved into the US Open, one of the four Grand Slam events we know today.

Fact 76: The Arthur Ashe Stadium is the biggest tennis stadium in the world

Not including multi-purpose arenas, the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York is the biggest tennis stadium in the world. This is where many US Open matches occur.

The stadium is named after the first tournament winner: Arthur Ashe. The stadium can hold over 23.000 people.

Fact 77: Birth of modern tennis in Birmingham

The modern game of tennis was created by Major Walter Clopton Wingfield in the late 19th century. He secured the patent for the game in February 1874, and the sport has since evolved into the popular racket sport we know today.

Interestingly, tennis was first played in the U.S. on a grass court set up on the Estate of Col. William Appleton in Nahant, Massachusetts, by James Dwight, Richard Dudley Sears, and Fred Sears in 1874.

Fact 78: A tweener is quite common in exhibition matches

A tweener is when a player hits the ball in between their legs. Several players try and execute this trick shot in exhibition matches, as it’s a real crowd-pleaser. In actual matches, it is often used as a last resort.

Fact 79: Rafael Nadal plays left-handed, while born right-handed

Rafael Nadal learned to play tennis with his left hand because it can cause a real inconvenience for right-handed players, which most players are.

It can be a little confusing if someone uses the other hand. Making the side that would usually result in forehands now results in backhands and the other way around. It also allows him to make the ball whirl, making it difficult for right-handed players.

Fact 80: Worldwide popularity of tennis

Tennis has become a popular sport across the globe, with the ITF reporting over 200 participating countries. Some of the most prestigious tennis tournaments include Wimbledon, the US Open, the Australian Open, and the French Open.

These events make up the "Grand Slam" of tennis and attract top talent and international attention each year.

Fact 81: Chris Evert's clay court dominance

Chris Evert, an American tennis player, dominated the clay court surface during her career, winning a record of seven French Open titles. Evert was known for her exceptional consistency and strong mental game, which contributed to her incredible success on clay.

Fact 82: The Battle of the Sexes

The Battle of the Sexes was a famous tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs in 1973. Billie Jean, a top female tennis player, accepted the challenge from Riggs, a former men's singles champion who claimed that even at the age of 55, he could still beat any woman in the sport.

King emerged victorious, winning in straight sets and effectively making a significant statement for gender equality in sports.

Fact 83: The Golden Slam achievement of Steffi Graf

In 1988, Steffi Graf achieved the Golden Slam, a rare accomplishment in tennis history. Graf won all four Grand Slam titles (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open) and an Olympic gold medal in the same calendar year, making her the only tennis player to have ever achieved this feat.

Fact 84: Hampton Court Palace's historic tennis court

Hampton Court Palace, located in London, England, is home to the world's oldest tennis court still in use. The court dates back to 1625 and was built for King Charles I. The historic court is a fine example of the evolution of the sport and its longstanding popularity among royalty.

Fact 85: There has been a half clay, half grass exhibition match

In 2007, the ultimate exhibition match occurred between Rafael Nadal, the king of clay, and Roger Federer, the king of grass.

The court for this match was made of clay for one side and grass for the other. The players had to change shoes every time they changed sides. Eventually, Rafael Nadal ended up winning.

Fact 86: The most-attended tennis match had 48.000 visitors

The match with the biggest live audience was between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer at the Cape Town Stadium. This match had about 48.000 visitors, making it the match with the biggest live audience ever.

The match was won by Federer and played to raise money for the Roger Federer Foundation, which helps poor children in Africa get an education.

Fact 87: Tim Henman

Tim Henman, a former British tennis player, is well known for his appearances in Wimbledon's semi-finals. He played professional tennis between 1993 and 2007, with six career titles and a highest ATP singles ranking of World No. 4. Henman became one of the most popular tennis players in the UK during his career due to his competitive spirit and all-around skill.

Fact 88: Arthur Ashe

Arthur Ashe was a pioneering tennis player who became the first African-American man to win a Grand Slam title. He achieved this historic feat in 1968 when he won the US Open.

Ashe's illustrious career included three Grand Slam titles, as well as a victory in the first-ever ATP Finals in 1970. In 1985, Arthur Ashe was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Fact 89: Career Grand Slam

A Career Grand Slam refers to a tennis player winning all four major Grand Slam tournaments - Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open - throughout their career. This prestigious accomplishment is a testament to a player's versatility and skill in different court conditions and environments.

Only a handful of tennis players have achieved this feat, including legends such as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Serena Williams.

Fact 90: Spencer Gore

Spencer Gore was the first-ever Wimbledon men's singles champion in 1877, thereby securing his place in tennis history. At that time, the championships were called the "Gentlemen's Singles Championship" and were played on grass courts. Gore's victory in the inaugural Wimbledon marked the beginning of the oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament in the world.

Fact 91: Venus Williams' junior tournament accomplishments

Venus Williams, an accomplished tennis player, started her journey in junior tournaments. She won her first national junior title at the age of 10.

As a junior, she participated in various championships, including the Southern California Junior Sectional Championships, where she gained recognition as a promising tennis prodigy.

Fact 92: The fastest tennis serve

Sam Groth, an Australian tennis player, holds the record for the fastest tennis serve ever recorded. During a challenger event in South Korea in 2012, Groth hit a serve at an astonishing speed of 263 km/h (163.4 mph). This incredible achievement remains unbroken to date.

Fact 93: Wheelchair tennis has its own professional tour

Wheelchair tennis is quite popular and even has its own professional tour. This tour consists of over 160 tournaments worldwide and offers over 3 million dollars (2.6 million euros) in prize money.

Fact 94: Importance of junior tournaments

Junior tournaments play a crucial role in shaping the careers of budding tennis players. They provide a nurturing environment for players to develop skills, build confidence, and gain experience on the court.

They also offer scouts and coaches the opportunity to identify talented players who show promise for success on the professional circuit. Notable junior championships include the Les Petits As and the Orange Bowl.

Fact 95: The ball is allowed to bounce twice in wheelchair tennis

Tennis for non-disabled people and wheelchair tennis are pretty similar in rules. The main difference is that in wheelchair tennis, the ball can bounce twice, but only the first bounce has to be between the lines.

Wheelchair tennis

Fact 96: Lleyton Hewitt's impressive career

Lleyton Hewitt, an Australian tennis player, was a force to be reckoned with during his career. He has won two Grand Slam singles titles - the 2001 US Open and the 2002 Wimbledon Championship - and held the world No. 1 ranking for 80 weeks. Hewitt is known for his tenacity on the court and strong baseline play.

Fact 97: A tennis elbow is not always caused by tennis

When you experience pain at the outside of your elbow, you likely have a tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis. It is caused by overuse of the forearm muscles, which are close to the elbow joint.

These muscles get used in tennis a lot, hence the name tennis elbow, but it can also happen to people who do not play tennis.

Fact 98: The lines on a tennis court all have names

The line at the end, where the players serve, is called the baseline. The line on the edge of the box where a serve has to land is called the service line. The lines at the side of the court are called sidelines.

All lines on a tennis court

Fact 99: Andy Murray's achievements

Scottish tennis player Andy Murray has reached the top of the tennis world, winning three Grand Slam titles and two Olympic gold medals in singles.

Murray became the first British man since Fred Perry in 1936 to win a Wimbledon singles title when he triumphed in 2013. He has also secured the coveted world No. 1 ranking during his career.

Fact 100: Tennis' popularity and accessibility

Tennis is a globally popular sport that can be played at all levels of society and at all ages. It is accessible to anyone who can hold a racket, including wheelchair users. The sport's worldwide appeal makes it an event not only for professional players but also for recreational enthusiasts.

Fact 101: There are 489 thousand tennis courts in the world

According to the International Tennis Federation, there are about 489 thousand tennis courts worldwide, based on data from 195 countries.

Fact 102: Men play a different number of sets than women at Grand Slams

During Grand Slams, the men play best of 5 sets. Females play best of 3 sets, just like during all other matches and tournaments. The men also play a best of 3 sets format during all other tournaments.

Fact 103: 16/19 is the average string pattern of a tennis racket

16/19 means there are 16 main strings and 19 cross strings. An open string pattern (16/18) is ideal for spin and power, whereas a closed string pattern (18/20) is ideal for control.

Fact 104: A player is allowed three unsuccessful challenges per set

Hawk-eye technology helps make the match fair. If a player calls for a challenge, a digital system checks if the ball is in or out.

Players can call a challenge when they disagree with an umpire’s call. They are allowed three unsuccessful challenges per set. Challenges cannot be carried into the new set.

Hawk-eye system for tennis

Fact 105: Women used to wear full-length dresses while playing tennis

A long time ago, women used to play tennis in full-length dresses or skirts that reached the ground. Nowadays, tennis clothing allows for more flexibility. Women still wear dresses and skirts, but they are way shorter.

Fact 106: When a serve hits the net, the point is replayed

If a serve hits the net and then lands in the service box, the point is not considered faulty or valid. The point gets replayed without the server losing one of its service turns.

Fact 107: In between points, there is a 25-second time limit

In tennis, there is a time limit for serving. The serving player has a time limit of 25 seconds between each point. If a player takes more time, a warning will follow first; a subsequent violation will result in a penalty.


Hopefully, through this article with tennis facts, you have gained more knowledge about this wonderful sport! As you have read, the sport has a long history and has some pretty strange rules. All this makes it a highly interesting sport to play and follow.

Written by

Neil Taylor

Tennis is my passion

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