Friday, July 11, 2014

Tennis Anyone?

by Martha Rogers
Not everyone is into sports, especially tennis. I played on my high school tennis team and so when Wimbledon comes around every June and July, I watch with great interest. Before the sports game that we enjoy today, our ancestors had little to attract their interest to such activities. Tennis seemed to be a sport for the wealthier class, and followed strict guidelines.

The phrase, “We’ve come a long way, baby” has been around a while and referred to everything from cigarettes to modern technology. It’s certainly a true statement for tennis. Considering the type of clothes worn by participants and the size of the stadium, a lot has changed since 1877. How would you like to play tennis in these outfits as seen in the first ladies tournament? Compare those to what is seen on the television screen today.

It all began when the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, founded in 1868, decided to have tournaments.  Lawn tennis, originally known as “Sphairistike” was invented by Major Walter Clopton Wingfied and was introduced to the club in 1875. Two years later the club  held the first ever lawn Tennis Championship with a new code of laws or rules, most of which still stand today.

The first tournaments were for men only with around 200 spectators watching the singles match on a court much like that pictured above. The increase in attendance led to a change in venue that eventually led to the present day site in 1920. The picture of the stadium in 1921 shows centre court with other tennis courts surrounding it. Today, in addition to the millions watching on television, thousands fill Wimbledon Centre Court to watch men and women compete in singles and doubles matches. The newest improvement is a roof that will close in case of rain which has been the cause of many a delay in the tournament over the years.

Wimbledon is laced with tradition including strawberries and cream served to patrons, the royal box for English royalty, a strict dress code for competitors, and ball boys and girls. As much as the British love the tournament and attend in droves, no British man has won a singles event since Fred Perry in 1936, and no British woman since Virginia Wade in 1877.

These are the trophies for which the men and women compete. Men traditionally kiss the cup for publicity shots after winning.

Not only is tennis a great individual sport for both men and women, it is great exercise for the body, and many adults are able to play well into their senior years.

A young woman of great faith meets a prodigal angry at God and sparks fly, but will her faith be enough to find love?

Hannah Dyer has just moved to Texas to help her brother-in-law in his medical practice. Despite her handicap of having one leg much shorter than the other, she is a great nurse whose skills help make the practice the most successful in the area.
When Micah Gordon returns home after some shady escapades, his father hopes he will settle down to ranch life. Hannah is smitten by his good looks and roguish ways, but because of her leg, she has no hopes of attracting his attention.

Martha Rogers is a free-lance writer and the author of the Winds Across the Prairie and Seasons of the Heart series as well as the novella, Key to Her Heart in River Walk Christmas and Not on the Menu in Sugar and Grits. Love Stays True, the first book in her third series, The Homeward Journey, is now available. She was named Writer of the Year at the Texas Christian Writers Conference in 2009 and is a member of ACFW and writes the weekly Verse of the Week for the ACFW Loop. In addition to fiction, Martha has contributed to compilations by Wayne Holmes, Debra White-Smith and Karen O’ Connor as well as various devotion books. Martha is a frequent speaker for writing workshops and the Texas Christian Writers Conference. She is a retired teacher and lives in Houston with her husband, Rex. Their favorite pastime is spending time with their nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. 

The history and information about golf was recently posted and now tennis. Both of these are individual sports. Our high school tennis team won several state championship trophies my senior year, but I only made the semi-finals. Still, it was fun. Did you ever play an individual sport or on a sports team?


  1. Love Finds Faith sounds like a wonderful book and I thoroughly enjoyed your post. I never played tennis but I did play basketball in jr. high and high school. I love the sport to this day. Thank you Martha!

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  2. Martha, I can't imagine anyone playing tennis is those outfits. What a sight that must have been! Thank you for an enjoyable post. Have a great weekend.

  3. Not only restricting the movement, but think how hot the ladies must have been in all that finery while playing.

  4. So Martha, you played on your high school tennis team! Good for you! I love tennis and it is my exercise of choice, but only started playing late in life. I love watching the major tournaments too, and record them now so we can watch them at night and I can work during the daytime. You said no British man has won the tournament since 1936. I thought Andy Murray broke that record last year when he won Wimbledon.

    1. You're right, Marilyn. When I checked back, my list went only to 2012, but another one I have does show Murray last year. Don't know why I didn't use it.

  5. I used to play tennis but not in competition. My father took our family to Wimbledon back in 1967 and we saw the Australians- Rod Laver was one of them- playing. We had standing room tickets for the whole day. It was rather a long day. My dad is 94 and still watches Wimbledon, which he is doing this very day. Thanks for your research and post. sharon wileygreen1ATyahooDOTcom