Everyone has heard of Wimbledon but how many people know that the game of lawn tennis was invented in the late 19th Century and was at first called Sphairistike?
This elegant little book, written by publisher Cameron Brown, a resident of Wimbledon since 1970, is packed with facts, figures, records and statistics, and its fun! It covers the history of the game, starting out with handball in the French monasteries of the middle ages, moving on to Real (or Royal) Tennis at the court of Henry VIII, to the modern game patented in 1874 by Major Wingfield.
The book also describes the history of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (Wimbledons proper name) and the development of the modern championships. There are anecdotes and information about many of the great names of the 125 years or so since the championships began and, finally, a bit of backgound on the "village" of Wimbledon where it all happens for 2 weeks a year.
A great gift for any tennis fan.
Some interesting facts:
Henry VIII had a servant to throw the ball up in the air for him because he was too fat to do it himself.
There is an entry in Hampton Courts accounts in 1531 recording the payment of five shillings (45 cents) to "one that served on the Kings side at Tennes", hence the word "service".
The US Lawn Tennis Association was formed in 1881 but the first US championships were held the previous year at the Staten Island Cricket and Baseball Club.
The first National Championship, precursor to todays US Open , was held in 1881. Until 1974 it was played on grass, switching then to clay courts, changing again in 1978 to hard court. Jimmy Connors won on all 3 surfaces.
"The Gullikson twins here. An interesting pair, both from Wisconsin." - Dan Maskell
"She comes from a tennis-playing family. Her father's a dentist." - BBC 2
"McEnroe has got to sit down and work out where he stands" - Fred Perry