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A men's singles event during the Dubai ChampionshipsA men's singles event during the Dubai Championships Tennis is played between individuals (singles) or pairs (doubles)—which can include mixed pairs of men and women. The first tennis tournament was at Wimbledon, England, in 1877. Championships began in the USA in 1881, in France in 1891 and Australia in 1905. These four events are today’s top tournaments, known as the Grand Slams or majors. Tennis is also an Olympic sport.


A form of tennis existed in France as long ago as the 13th century. Players struck a ball with their hands in a game called jeu de paume (game of the palm). Racquets were introduced in the 16th century in an indoors game in which the ball bounced off walls. Known as real tennis, it is still played today.An 1887 illustration of lawn tennis in the USAAn 1887 illustration of lawn tennis in the USAThe modern game, more properly known as lawn tennis, dates from 1873 with a game called Sphairistike (from the ancient Greek, meaning "skill at playing the game"), soon abbreviated to "sticky". The court was hourglass-shaped and players used wooden racquets to hit a rubber ball over a high badminton net. The rules and scoring were similar to those of real tennis. Soon the court became a rectangle, and the balls were covered with white felt. 

The word "tennis" may come from the French word tenez, which means "be ready"—a warning from the server to the receiver.

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