The history of tennis, one of the favorite sports branches, dates back to 1873. Requiring two or four players and played on a rectangular field called court today, tennis was played on lawn courts and called “lawn tennis” in the early years. Played for pleasure at that time, the tennis turned into a sport appealing to large masses, which tournaments were played for, over time. This was first started in 1873 by British Walter C. Wingfield.
After the promotional activities of British Major Wingfield, lawn tennis started to attract much more attention. However, there was no standard set for the rules of the game and the court, and the tournament committee decided that the rules did not meet the needs. For this reason, Julian Marshall, Henry Jones and Charles Gilbert Heathcote, three members of the croquet club at that time, assumed the task to establish and regulate the rules. The rules established by this trio still constitute the basis of tennis today.
Looking back in the history, there was a game considered as one of the earliest versions of tennis, which was played by a bare hand, in the middle ages. Over time, as the strategy of the game required strength, the ball began to hurt the hands of the players. Then, the players wrapped their hands. However, as this method did not ensure requested protection, the rackets made of wood were developed. These wooden rackets eased the pain, but distorted the vibration that was transferred from the ball to the hand.
The book named On the Principles of the Ball Game (Trattato del Givoco della Palla di Messer), which is holder of the title of the first tennis book known, was written by Antonio Scaino da Salo in Venice in 1555. Antonio Scaino da Salo was also the first to make a string racket 13 years before the publication of the book. The string rackets made by Antonio Scaino da Salo were similar to the rackets used in 1970s in terms of their appearance.
The reason why tennis became so popular was that it was one of the rare games that men and women could play at the same time. Called as lawn tennis, this game was played not only on lawn, but on all kinds of surfaces and in indoor areas. However, the name of the game remained as lawn tennis until 1970s. Although the people started to call it tennis in short later on, the International Tennis Federation did not change the name of the game until 1977. The first tennis tournament was held in UK-Wimbledon in 1877.
In 1926, the first professional tennis tournament was held. The first tennis match was played by British people in Turkey. In the tournaments organized by British people in Istanbul among themselves in 1900s, those who won the matches for three consecutive years were awarded with the "Wreath Cup", and Officer Suat was the first Turkish tennis player who was awarded with this cup. In 1924, Turkish Tennis Federation was founded. When the increase in the interest to tennis was noticed, domestic and international tennis tournaments were started to be held.