Vibration dampeners (also sometimes known as "gummies") may be interlaced in the proximal part of the string array, to reduce the percussive sound of the ball hitting the strings and/or to reduce perceived vibration. They do not, however, reduce impact shock significantly, so they are of no safety value. Some professionals, such as Andrei Agassi, used rubber bands instead of specialized dampeners. Dampeners come in two main types. The first uses the two central main strings to hold it in place. The second is sometimes called a "worm" and it is woven between many of the main strings. Dampeners are nearly always placed very near the bottom of the racket string bed.
A match consists of a sequence of sets. The outcome is determined through a best of three or five sets system. On the professional circuit, men play best-of-five-set matches at all four Grand Slam tournaments, Davis Cup, and the final of the Olympic Games and best-of-three-set matches at all other tournaments, while women play best-of-three-set matches at all tournaments. The first player to win two sets in a best-of-three, or three sets in a best-of-five, wins the match. Only in the final sets of matches at the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, the Olympic Games, Davis Cup (until 2015), and Fed Cup are tie-breaks not played. In these cases, sets are played indefinitely until one player has a two-game lead, leading to some remarkably long matches.
Nearly one hundred years after its construction, the Royal Tennis Court became symbolic of the brewing French Revolution. On 20 June 1789, the deputies of the Third Estate met there at the time of the Estates General, since the Menus-Plaisirs hotel, their usual meeting place, had been closed by order of the king. On that day, they took an oath not to separate until they had endowed France with a written constitution. This founding scene was immortalised by the painter Jacques-Louis David in a grand fresco, sadly unfinished, called The Tennis Court Oath, which joined the Palace collections in 1921.
If you've tuned in to the Australian Open to catch the action but are feeling a little confused by what's happening on the court, don't fret. Tennis scoring can seem complicated at first, but once you get the hang of it, you'll feel like a seasoned fan. Here's a primer on scoring as the tournament heads toward the finals — so you can keep up with the matches!
The rules of modern tennis have changed little since the 1890s. Two exceptions are that from 1908 to 1961 the server had to keep one foot on the ground at all times, and the adoption of the tiebreak in the 1970s. A recent addition to professional tennis has been the adoption of electronic review technology coupled with a point-challenge system, which allows a player to contest the line call of a point, a system known as Hawk-Eye.