Tennis is a sport played with a felt-covered rubber ball, a racket, and a court.
First, early in the 11th century, players in France played this sport with their hands. It was called “Jeu de Paume”. In the 15th century the sport came to Poland and the players played with rackets. Now it is called “tennis”. It became popular in England and France. King Henry III was a big fan of the game.
There are many different kinds of courts, like grass, clay or hard court. The goal of tennis is to hit the ball over the net into the other player’s court. When the other player cannot return the ball, a point is won. The game is played with two or four people. When it is played with two people, it is called “singles”, and when it is played with four people, it is called “doubles”. The court has "alleys" on each side, which are "fair" territory when playing doubles.
A tennis game has a number of sets. Each set has a number of games, and each game has points. The points are counted love (0, after the French l'oeuf), fifteen (15), thirty (30), and forty (40). If both players get to forty, the score is deuce from which 2 more points are needed to win the game. When one player reaches six games, it is one set. If it is a three-set match, the player who wins two sets first is the winner. If the game count reaches 5–5, the set must be won with two more games than the other player, like 7–5 or 8–6. If the game count gets to 6–6, a "tiebreaker" is played. In a tiebreak, players have to get at least seven points while getting two more points than the other player to win the set. In tiebreak points are called “one,” “two,” etc.
The game started in Germany during the 1700s. Tennis is now a sport that is played at the Olympics. They also have big tournaments like the U.S. Open, Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon. These four are known as Grand Slam events. Tennis’s official name is "lawn tennis". Since 1998, every September 23 has been called "Tennis Day".
There is also soft tennis. Soft tennis is different from regulation tennis. For example, the racket, ball and rules are much different. Soft tennis is popular in Japan. Thousands of people play soft tennis. Tennis is quite a popular sport which lots of people enjoy watching.