In the U.S. in 1874 Mary Ewing Outerbridge, a young socialite, returned from Bermuda with a sphairistikè set. She became fascinated by the game of tennis after watching British army officers play. She laid out a tennis court at the Staten Island Cricket Club at Camp Washington, Tompkinsville, Staten Island, New York. The first American National championship was played there in September 1880. An Englishman named O.E. Woodhouse won the singles title, and a silver cup worth $100, by defeating Canadian I. F. Hellmuth. There was also a doubles match which was won by a local pair. There were different rules at each club. The ball in Boston was larger than the one normally used in New York.
Head size plays a very key role in a racket's performance characteristics. A larger head size very generally means more power and a larger "sweet spot". This is an area in the string bed that is partially more forgiving on off-center hits and which produces more ball-reflective power from string deformation, known as the trampoline effect. However, large head sizes can increase twisting, which makes off-center hits more difficult to control and can reduce a player's overall power production due to the playing compensating for the extra inherent power, typically with stiffer strings to reduce the increased string deformation of large heads. A smaller head size generally offers more control for many shots, particularly the service and groundstrokes aimed near the lines, but can lead to more shanks (wild misses, from hitting the frame or missing the sweet spot). This drawback is most common for professional players using single-handed topspin backhands, as well as for recreational and aged players at net. Shanking due to small racket head size is typically exacerbated by racket weight, which slows the reaction time, as well as, to a lesser degree, the racket's balance point. In professional tennis, currently-used racket head sizes vary between 95–115 square inches (610–740 cm2), with most players adopting one from 98–108 square inches (630–700 cm2). Rackets with smaller and larger head sizes, 85 and 120–137 square inches (550 and 770–880 cm2), are still produced but are not used by professionals currently. A very small number of professionals, such as Monica Seles, used 125 square inches (810 cm2) rackets during some point in their careers. Rackets with smaller heads than 85 square inches (550 cm2) have not been in production since the 1980s and rackets with larger head sizes than 137 square inches (880 cm2) are not currently legal for the sport, even though only elderly players typically choose to use rackets beyond 115 square inches (740 cm2) and it is nearly unheard-of for a serious player who is not elderly to choose a racket over 125 square inches (810 cm2). The WEED company, founded by Tad Weed, specializes in producing very large rackets, primarily for the elderly market. Rackets that are moderately higher in power production, moderately lower in weight, moderately larger in size, and which typically possess a slightly head-heavy balance are often called "tweener rackets." Rackets that have the smallest heads in current use, the highest weights in current use, and headlight or even balance are referred to as "players' rackets". Oversize rackets, typically 110 square inches (710 cm2) in size, were once pejoratively referred to as "granny sticks" but resistance to them being seen as illegitimate rackets for younger players decreased dramatically with the successful use of these rackets by a small number professionals such as Andre Agassi and Pam Shriver. Originally, even midsize frames (85 square inches (550 cm2)) were considered jumbo, and some top players, such as Martina Navratilova and Rod Laver said they should be banned for making the sport too easy. Later, these same professionals, including John McEnroe, signed a letter supporting a switch back to wood frames, or a limitation to the original standard size of approximately 65 square inches (420 cm2). Perhaps the last professional to use a standard-size racket in professional tennis was Aaron Krickstein, known for the strongly-contested match against Connors at the 1991 US Open. He used a Wilson Ultra-II standard-size graphite racket also used in the 1980s by the hard-hitting teen Andrea Jaeger. The first oversize, the fiberglass Bentley Fortissimo from Germany, was praised by racket designers but was considered too large to be taken seriously by the small number of players who were exposed to it.
It happened again the other afternoon. The thermometer on the side of the tennis house had reached 91 degrees, and there were just a few members playing on the club’s main upper courts. Down on the practice courts, where we were, there may have been a light breeze coming off the nearby westernmost reaches of Long Island Sound, but I couldn’t feel it, and the gray-green Har-Tru clay my sneakers grabbed for was powdery and uncooperative. Kirill was across the net from me, at the T between the service boxes, a wire cart at his side filled with hundreds of tennis balls. I was at the T on my side, already a little winded, trying not to fail.
The song's lyrics address Lorde's newfound fame. In an interview with Spotify in May 2013, Lorde explained that "Tennis Court" was inspired by her friends and daily life in her hometown Auckland, saying that the song was a summary of the events she witnessed during the previous months of her life. On her Tumblr account, she elaborated on the tennis court imagery as "a symbol of nostalgia" that embodied memories of her hometown. Lorde also elucidated that the track reflected the changes in her life at the moment, when she had ventured into a career in music. She also took inspiration from "how superficial people can be" after having perceived the mechanism of the music industry. Paul Lester from The Guardian opined that the song criticises the extravagant lifestyle of the rich and shares the same sentiment with "Royals" and "Million Dollar Bills" from The Love Club EP. During the songwriting process, Lorde explained that she took an interest to the works of American photographer Gregory Crewdson due to his depictions of human life, suburbia and sense of loneliness.
Weights of a racket also vary between 7 ounces (200 g) unstrung and 12.6 ounces (360 g) strung. Until the 1980s, rackets weighted at "medium" were produced. "Heavy" rackets were produced during the height of the wood era (e.g. the 1960s), very sparingly. The "medium" weight is heavier than any of the rackets produced since it was discontinued by companies. Many professionals added weight to their rackets to improve stability. Many continue to do so. Pete Sampras added lead tape to make his racket have a 14 ounces (400 g) weight and Venus Williams is known for using a frame modified to be quite heavy, in terms of the recent times average. By contrast, Andy Roddick surprised many when he said he used a stock Pro Drive series model, series of racket which was light when compared with the rackets used by most top professionals. In both recreational and professional tennis, the trend has been away from heavy rackets and toward lighter rackets, despite the drawbacks from light rackets, such as increased twisting. Lawn tennis rackets originally flared outward at the bottom of the handle to prevent slippage. The rounded bottom was called a bark bottom after its inventor Matthew Barker. But by 1947, this style became superfluous.[clarification needed] More mass gives rackets "plow through", momentum that continues once the player has managed to get the racket into motion and which is more resistant to stoppage from the ball's momentum. This can give the perception that the racket produces shots with more power, although this is complicated by the typically slower stroke production. Higher mass typically involves a slower swing but more energy to execute the swing. More mass also provides more cushioning against ball impact shock, a source of injuries such as tennis elbow. However, high racket mass can cause fatigue in the shoulder area. Typically, it is safer for the body to have higher mass. More mass, additionally, provides more stability. It makes the racket more resistant to twisting forces and pushback. The drawbacks are that heavier rackets have lower maneuverability (reducing reaction time) and require more energy to move. As a racket gets heavier, the player finds it increasingly difficult to do fast reaction shots such as quick volleys and returns of serve. However, the additional mass can help with return of serve, in particular, by making the racket much more resistant to twist from a high-powered service. Light rackets have the additional drawback of making it easier for beginning players to use inappropriate wrist-dominant strokes, which often leads to injury. This is because poor stroke mechanics can be much easier to produce with a lightweight racket, such as in using one's wrist to mostly swing the racket. An extremely typical mistake beginning players make is to choke up heavily on the racket (to try to compensate for twist from a light racket, as well as too high racket angle upon impact) and use the wrist too much. The only professional well-known player to have had success with a strongly choked-up grip is Zina Garrison.
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The drill went like this: He began feeding balls to me, rapidly, 20 or so a minute, to my left, to my right. They arrived close to my body at first, then farther away, then farther and harder. At the moment his racket was about to make contact with the ball, I did my split step, a reaction maneuver that entails hopping in place, spreading my legs shoulderwide and landing on my toes, ready. I stepped toward the net, taking the coming ball out of the air with a volley. Then I backpedaled once more to the T, volleying forehand, then backhand, forehand, backhand, on and on for three, four minutes — an eternity.
The impetus to use some kind of a tie-breaking procedure gained force after a monumental 1969 struggle at Wimbledon between Pancho Gonzales and Charlie Pasarell. This was a 5-set match that lasted five hours and 12 minutes and took 2 days to complete. In the fifth set the 41-year-old Gonzales won all seven match points that Pasarell had against him, twice coming back from 0–40 deficits. The final score was 22–24, 1–6, 16–14, 6–3, 11–9 for Gonzales.
Further, the patenting of the first lawn mower in 1830, in Britain, is strongly believed to have been the catalyst, worldwide, for the preparation of modern-style grass courts, sporting ovals, playing fields, pitches, greens, etc. This in turn led to the codification of modern rules for many sports, including lawn tennis, most football codes, lawn bowls and others.