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Saturday, 17 June 2017


Records confirm that tennis was played in France in the twelfth century, at first with the palm of the hand only. Rackets then were still unknown.

The etymology of the word racket (or racquet), as in tennis, can be traced via the French raquette to the Arab rahat, a colloquial form of raha - the palm of the hand. That is why the logical Frenchman came to call the sport not tennis but "the game of the hand."

These early tennis players soon came to realize that striking the ball with their bare hands could hurt very much. Therefore, to soften the blow, players began to wear gloves. Not only did the glove guard against injury, it gave the ball greater impetus.

All that was further needed was to take off the improved glove and add a handle and strings to it. The first wooden-framed rackets, strung with sheep gut, appeared in the 15th century.

Early advertisement for tennis rackets, from an English newspaper.

Table tennis began, though not under that name, as a parlor game in Victorian homes. The equipment used in those early days was mostly improvised and home-made. The racket or bat was cut out of a piece of thick cardboard. The rubber-covered racket didn't come into play until 1905.

A badminton racket has a longer, thinner neck than a tennis racket with softer strings as the shuttlecock is hit up over a net.

Throughout most of tennis' history, rackets were made of laminated wood. In the late 1960s, Wilson produced the T2000 steel racket with wire wound around the frame to make string loops. It was popularized by the American tennis star Jimmy Connors.

A United States tennis racket from the 1970s

In the early 1980s, "graphite" (carbon fibre) composites were introduced, and other materials were added to the composite, including ceramics, glass-fibre, boron, and titanium. Composite rackets are the contemporary standard, the last wooden racket appeared at Wimbledon in 1987.

Source Europress Encyclopedia

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