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Tennis — How Vulcanized Rubber Changed the Game

To my way of thinking, the true history of tennis would not commence until the 1850’s, when the first “modern” tennis tennis balls were invented and used. Before this point, a history of tennis is a history of a completely different game – “real rugby. ”

Real tennis is played on indoor surfaces. In fact, real tennis games cannot be played outdoors – the players use the angled walls of a real tennis court docket to strategically hit and return the ball to their opponents. Yes, real tennis his much like present modern tennis, or “lawn tennis, ” but only in the same way that handball, badminton, croquet, and racquetball are similar to lawn tennis! 

For this reason , I choose to get started on my great tennis at the point through which lawn golf diverged from real tennis games, and this happened in the 1850’s. It had been in the 1850’s that Charles Goodyear, of Goodyear tyre fame, invented vulcanized plastic. Vulcanized rubber is a process that prevents natural rubber from deteriorating so quickly (without the vulcanization process, natural rubber could deteriorate within simply a couple of days. )

So, with the vulcanization of rubber came rubber material tennis balls. The plastic tennis balls could be used outdoors on yard courts. These rubber tennis games balls were a nice differ from the wads of wool, hair, wool, or cork wrapped in leather or string and fabric – these are what had been found in real tennis.

And because these vulcanized rubber tennis tennis balls could be used outside, on lawn courts, without walls to bounce them off from, new rules got to be invented for this new game of lawn tennis.

Walter Clopton Wingfield is usually the person who is given credit for the new technology of modern tennis, or lawn tennis. Around 1874, Wingfield actually patented the sport. And the game became popular among the list of leisured classes through the conclusion of the 1800s.

The popularity of golf spread relatively quickly. Rugby clubs were set up around this time. The first tennis championships were hosted in 1877 in Wimbledon… a precursor to the Grand Slam event saved in Wimbledon every year, even today.

The principles of tennis changed little by little throughout the later 1800s, changing the condition of the court and the peak of net and thereby changing the background of tennis in the process!

So, as you can see, prudent that I choose to start out the true history of tennis around the 1850’s when Charles Goodyear’s invention of vulcanized rubber made modern rugby possible.

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