WikipediaHow Tennis Got Its Start Ron McDaniel October 9, 2014 Lifestyle Tennis is one of the most played and watched games in the world. Not a weekend goes by without a tennis match being televised while tennis pros are treated as worldwide celebrities. The history of tennis is the subject of much debate among historians. Some believe a modified version of the game began with ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans playing even before recorded time. However, most historians accept the theory that French monks actually began playing a form of tennis using their hands instead of a racket in the 11th or 12th century. These inventive Monks most likely played against the monastery walls or, using a crude rope as a net, in their courtyard. Originally, the game was called “jeu de paume” which translate to “game of the hand”, and the word tennis is said to have derived from the French word “tenez” which loosely translates to “take this.” Historians of today believe this is due to the act of one player serving the ball to the other player. The original game was played exclusively with the hands, and the evolution of the racket took many, many years. As the game become more popular, players began to look at new ways to decrease the painful play with bare hands. Many began to wear gloves with webbing between the fingers and, eventually, used a small paddle board. This quickly evolved into a paddle with webbing attached and, ultimately, the racket was born.During the evolution of the racket, the ball took on its own changes. The most primitive ball played in the first games was made of hair. It took centuries for the modern tennis ball to be developed. Wool, cork, string, cloth, and leather were all used at some point as tennis balls. As the popularity of tennis grew it was played throughout France and England in the 13th and 14th century. Reportedly, there were as many as 1800 tennis courts in France during this time and royals played on a regular basis. For centuries, tennis was played in its primal form with only minor tweaks. However, in 1850 Charles Goodyear created a new form of rubber, and the bouncier tennis ball was eventually introduced to the game. From there the game took off in popularity, and in 1874 the first set of rules and equipment was patented by Major Walter C. Wingfield. Tennis courts began to pop up all over the world in countries such as India, Canada, Russia, China, and the United States. The modern game that is known throughout the world today, was fashioned by the All England Club in 1877 when the first Wimbledon tournament was played.