I started this morning with breakfast, coffee and a broadcast of the Australian Open finals. It was supposed to be a five-set challenge of the titans, but Rafa Nada was obviously not in the shape for war. And so, Novak Djokovic won the first grand slam tournament of the year for the seventh time. As I was watching the final game I thought I might tell you a few fun facts about the world of tennis.
White tennis attire at Wimbledon
White sports clothing was once mandatory at all courts but today, the only grand slam tournament that requires white is Wimbledon. The tradition of playing tennis dressed in white most likely dates back to Victorian times. Tennis used to be the pastime of the elite, especially women. As any sport, tennis causes increased perspiration. In other words, one could sweat while playing a game, which is not something that becomes ladies. Perspiration stains are more visible on coloured clothes than on white. Speaking of clothes, female players had to wear maxi skirts to be eligible to play in the first tournaments. I am glad this rule has been lifted 😉
Ball and racket
There are roughly 300 million tennis balls made every year. This is not surprising since one ball is usually used for some 20 minutes during a 150-minute-long game. The most expensive (and most prone to wear and tear) part of a tennis ball is the felt that it is covered with.
The contact of the ball with the racket lasts some 5-6 milliseconds each time. The stringing of a racket is usually made of plastic but top tennis players prefer natural stringing made from cow or bull intestines. Allegedly, such stringing is more flexible. Of course, it is also slightly more expensive as the manufacturing process is time-consuming.
Sport equals health?
Although most contemporary tennis players are fully-fledged athletes enjoying perfect health, this was not always the case. Tennis had always been popular among royals and turned out to be a lethal game for some. This was actually the case with Charles VIII of France who died after hitting his head on the doorframe of a door leading to the tennis court. Louis X passed away after an exhausting “jeu de paume”. Interestingly, “jeu de paume” is an earlier version of tennis where palms were used to hit the ball instead of rackets. Rackets were not invented until late 16thcentury.