It all starts with the serve — precise and spinning or flat and powerful — as the server tries to begin and end the point with one swing of the racquet. At the sport’s highest level, serves can approach 250 kilometres an hour, but tennis isn’t all about power. The speed of the players chasing down balls, the precision of passing shots that aim for and touch the line, the spins and variations used to keep opponents off balance are as impressive as any aspect of the game.
Men and women compete in singles and in doubles.
Past Pan Am Games have featured International Tennis Hall of Fame members such as Arthur Ashe, Maria Bueno, Pam Shriver and Althea Gibson.
Four different countries stood atop the podium (over five events) in Guadalajara; in 2015 the podium could see an interesting mix of countries represented.
Historians believe that tennis’ early beginnings originated in 12th century France. At that time, the ball was hit using the palm of the hand. It wasn’t until the 16th century when racquets were introduced, although the game was played indoors and the ball was hit off the wall.
The 18th and early 19th century saw the emergence of racquet sports in England, and in 1877 the world’s oldest tennis tournament, Wimbledon, was first played.
How it works
Tennis is contested in singles (one player per side) and doubles (two players per side) events and is played on a rectangular court. The objective is to hit the ball back and forth over a three-foot-high (.914 metres) net situated in the middle of the court using a variety of shots (spin, smash, lob, slice, volley, drop). The ball must land within the boundary lines on the court and must be returned within one bounce.
A legal serve that the opposing player fails to touch with his/her racquet.
The first point scored after deuce.
When the score is tied at 40 and the player/team must get a two-point lead to win.
A point that, if won, wins the match.