For right-handed players, the backhand is a stroke that begins on the left side of their body, continues across their body as contact is made with the ball, and ends on the right side of their body. It can be executed with either one hand or with both and is generally considered more difficult to master than the forehand. For most of the 20th century, the backhand was performed with one hand, using either an eastern or a continental grip. The first notable players to use two hands were the 1930s Australians Vivian McGrath and John Bromwich, but they were lonely exceptions. The two-handed grip gained popularity in the 1970s as Björn Borg, Chris Evert, Jimmy Connors, and later Mats Wilander and Marat Safin used it to great effect, and it is now used by a large number of the world's best players, including Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams.
Advanced players improve their performance through a number of accoutrements. Vibration dampeners may be interlaced in the proximal part of the string array for improved feel. Racket handles may be customized with absorbent or rubber-like materials to improve the players' grip. Players often use sweat bands on their wrists to keep their hands dry and head bands or bandanas to keep the sweat out of their eyes as well. Finally, although the game can be played in a variety of shoes, specialized tennis shoes have wide, flat soles for stability and a built-up front structure to avoid excess wear.
The tennis scoring system is a way to keep track of tennis matches (including pick-up games). Some tennis matches are played as part of a tournament. (Tournaments may have various categories, such as singles and doubles.) The great majority are organised as a single-elimination tournament, with competitors being eliminated after a single loss, and the overall winner being the last competitor without a loss. Optimally, such tournaments have a number of competitors equal to a power of two in order to fully fill out a single elimination bracket. In many professional and top-level amateur events, the brackets are seeded according to a recognised ranking system, in order to keep the best players in the field from facing each other until as late in the tournament as possible; additionally, if byes are necessary because of a less-than-full bracket, those byes in the first round are usually given to the highest-seeded competitors.
Hit the ball with an “up and over” action as if you were throwing the racket at it — and, after hitting the ball, follow through with your swing. This follow through will propel you forward into the court, prepared to hit the returned shot. Good! You’re progressing well in your efforts to learn to play tennis! If you’re unhappy with your serve — perhaps even miss the ball when you swing — don’t worry; this is common when you first learn to play tennis.
In 2004, the ITF implemented a new rankings scheme to encourage greater participation in doubles, by combining two rankings (singles and doubles) into one combined tally. Junior tournaments do not offer prize money except for the Grand Slam tournaments, which are the most prestigious junior events. Juniors may earn income from tennis by participating in the Future, Satellite, or Challenger tours. Tournaments are broken up into different tiers offering different amounts of ranking points, culminating with Grade A.
The third and fourth tier of men's tennis tournaments are formed by the ATP World Tour 500 series, consisting of 11 tournaments, and the ATP World Tour 250 series with 40 tournaments. Like the ATP World Tour Masters 1000, these events offer various amounts of prize money and the numbers refer to the amount of ranking points earned by the winner of a tournament. The Dubai Tennis Championships offer the largest financial incentive to players, with total prize money of US$2,313,975 (2012). These series have various draws of 28, 32, 48 and 56 for singles and 16 and 24 for doubles. It is mandatory for leading players to enter at least four 500 events, including at least one after the US Open.
Steffi Graf is considered by some to be the greatest female player. Billie Jean King said in 1999, "Steffi is definitely the greatest women's tennis player of all time." Martina Navratilova has included Graf on her list of great players. In December 1999, Graf was named the greatest female tennis player of the 20th century by a panel of experts assembled by the Associated Press. Tennis writer Steve Flink, in his book The Greatest Tennis Matches of the Twentieth Century, named her as the best female player of the 20th century, directly followed by Martina Navratilova.
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The next item on your racquet checklist is string. Pre-strung tennis racquets are great for beginners and recreational players. More advanced players may opt to customize their string material, gauge, and tension to their personal playing style. Natural gut tennis strings are considered the best, which is why many advanced players use them, but they tend to require frequent changing. Synthetic strings are great for recreational players as they achieve a happy medium between durability and playability. In terms of gauge: Thicker strings last longer but thinner strings feel better to most players. Experienced players tend to prefer lower string tension in their tennis racquets because it yields more power, while greener players benefit from the increased control of high-tension stringing. Regardless of your preference, be sure to adhere to the racquet manufacturer’s tension guidelines. Plan to have your racquet restrung at least once per year, and a good rule to follow is: However many times you play per week is the number of times per year you should restring your racquet. So if you play twice per week, have your tennis racquet restrung twice per year. If you play seasonally, make sure to time your restringing so that it occurs just before the season starts.
"The contractor the homeowner chooses should be aware of all the different surface types, speed of play, and the size and slope requirements for court construction," stresses Kolkmann. The contractor should also pay close attention to special considerations, he adds, such as the desired surface texture, the finish of the concrete required to ensure good bonding of the color coating, and provisions for fencing and net posts.
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.
Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society and at all ages. The sport can be played by anyone who can hold a racket, including wheelchair users. The modern game of tennis originated in Birmingham, England, in the late 19th century as lawn tennis. It had close connections both to various field (lawn) games such as croquet and bowls as well as to the older racket sport today called real tennis. During most of the 19th century, in fact, the term tennis referred to real tennis, not lawn tennis.