In my mind, the true history of tennis does not begin until the 1850’s, when the first “modern” tennis balls were invented and used. Before this point, the history of tennis is the history of a completely different game – “real tennis.”Real tennis is played on indoor courts. In fact, real tennis cannot be played outside – the players use the angled walls of a real tennis court to strategically hit and return the ball to their opponents. Yes, real tennis his very similar to today’s modern tennis, or “lawn tennis,” but only in the same way that handball, badminton, croquet, and racquetball are similar to lawn tennis!That is why I choose to start my history of tennis at the point in which lawn tennis diverged from real tennis, and this happened in the 1850’s. It was in the 1850’s that Charles Goodyear, of Goodyear tire fame, invented vulcanized rubber. Vulcanized rubber is a process that prevents natural rubber from deteriorating so quickly (without the vulcanization process, natural rubber could deteriorate within just a few days.)So, with the vulcanization of rubber came rubber tennis balls. The rubber tennis balls could be used outdoors on lawn courts. These rubber tennis balls… Read full this story
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