There are many theories about the origins of Tennis, but the starting point would have been around the 11th century, when monks played a ball from one side to another inside monasteries. At the end of the 12th century and beginning of the 13th, the Jeu de Paume (“Palm Game") arose in France, in which participants used their hands to hit the ball against a wall.
Over the years, hands gave way to racquets, a playing area was established and, among other games, Real Tennis appeared, very popular among members of the British and French nobility. At the end of the 18th century, more racquet sports emerged in Europe.
But what really gave rise to Tennis as we know it today was so-called Lawn Tennis, played on grass and even in the gardens of houses. The sport shared space with Cricket in England around the 19th century, and even adopted some of its rules. Around 1880, championships were played not only in Europe, but also in the United States.
As a result, tennis was included in the Games programme in 1896, the first Modern Olympic Games, still known as Lawn Tennis, and women competed as of 1900. With the foundation of the International Lawn Tennis Federation in 1913, rules were standardized.
The sport was present until the edition of 1924 in Paris, and returned as a demonstration sport in 1968 in Mexico City and in 1984 in Los Angeles. The success of the exhibition tournament in the American city was so great that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to reinstate the sport, awarding medals in 1988 in Seoul.
Although Tennis started to be played on other surfaces, such as synthetic and clay courts, the Lawn in the entity's name was only removed in 1975, giving rise to the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
The sport is played in singles and doubles, male and female, as well as mixed doubles. Players hit the ball with the racket toward the opponent's playing area, over the net, and earn points if the opponent cannot return the ball.
In Tennis, matches are played in sets, which are subdivided into games. The first three points of the game are marked as 15, 30 and 40, and the next point wins the game. Whoever wins the first six games takes the set. If there is a tie at 6-6, another game is played to seven points, counted normally and called a tie-break.
Matches are won with the best of three sets - except for the men’s singles final, in a best of five sets. If the match goes to the final set, there will be no tie-break, and the winner will be the one who opens two games of advantage. In mixed doubles, after a 1-1 draw, there will be a match tie-break, that ends when a team reaches ten points.
Play format is similar to that of professional tournaments, with single elimination and the best of each bracket playing for gold. However, there is a contest for third place, for bronze, between the losers of the semi-finals, which does not occur in the Tennis circuit. There are 16 seeded players in singles tournaments, eight in doubles and four in mixed doubles, determined by the world rankings.