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The modern game started in England in the late 19th century, as Lawn Tennis, but most historians believe that tennis originated in France in the 12th century, with a game that involved striking the ball with the palm of the player’s hand. Rackets appeared in the 16th century and the game became known as tennis gambling. Mainly played in England and France, it was an indoor game which involved hitting the ball against a wall, and we know it now as Real Tennis.

In 1872, Harry Gem and Aujurio Perera invented a game which was a cross between ‘Rackets’ and ‘Pelota’, and it was played on a croquet lawn in Birmingham during garden parties for their friends. This resulted in these two men and two of their friends setting up the first ever tennis gambling club in Leamington Spa.

In 1873, a man by the name of Major Walter Clopton Wingfield patented a very similar game, which became known as ‘Sticke’. The sports gambling game then spread across the Atlantic when a lady by the name of Mary Ewing Outerbridge met Major Wingfield in Bermuda in 1874, and when she returned home to America laid out a court at Staten Island Cricket Club in New York. This was the venue for the first American National tennis tournament in 1880.

The very first tennis gambling championships were held at Wimbledon in 1877, following considerable efforts to standardise the rules. In 1881 the United States National Lawn Tennis Association was formed, again with the objective of standardising the rules, and to organise tennis tournaments. This same year saw the first United States National mens singles championship, now the
US Open. This event was held in Newport, Rhode Island. The French Open was first played in 1891, followed in 1905 by the Australian Open. These four tournaments remain the most prestigious tournaments in the world of tennis and are known as the ‘Grand Slam’ events or the ‘Majors’.

The Rules of the modern gambling game were defined by the International Lawn Tennis Federation
(now known as the International Tennis Federation ) in 1924, and have changed very little since that time. The most significant change was the introduction of the ‘Tie-Break ‘, first used at Wimbledon in 1971 for all except the final set. In 1979, the Tie-Break started to be brought into play at 6 games all instead of the original 8 games all. Tie Breaks are now used throughout the professional tennis gambling game, including the final set. The exceptions are the French Open, the Australian Open, Wimbledon, the Olympic Games and the Davis Cup and Federation Cup. The only ‘Major’ to use Tie-Breaks in the final set is the US Open.

The Davis Cup was introduced in 1900 for Men’s International tennis teams, followed much later by the Federation Cup for Women’s teams in 1963.

The first professional tennis gambling tour was introduced in 1926, but any players turning professional were excluded from playing in the Grand Slam events, which remained amateur until 1968 when the Open era was born. All players could then compete in all tournaments and it was the start of the International Professional tennis circuit which spread the gambling game of tennis all over the world, with the result that professional tennis is now played for at least 11 months of the year and offers good scope for the sports gambler throughout the year.

The scoring system in tennis is somewhat unique, and the terminology may need some explanation. Matches are normally played on the basis of best of 3 sets, the exceptions being the Grand Slam events, the Davis Cup and the men’s Olympics, which are all played to the best of 5 set format.

A ‘set’ consists of a series of games with one player serving each game, and the next game being served by his opponent. To win a set, a player must win six games and at least two more than his opponent. If a player has won 6 games and his opponent has won 5, another game must be played. If this leads to a score of 7 games to 5, the set is won, but if the score is 6 games all, a Tie-Break must be played to determine the winner of that set. The winner of the Tie-Break is the first to 7 points, with a 2 point advantage over his opponent. If the score is 7 points to 6, the set continues until one player has a 2 point lead.

To win a game in a set, a player must win four points and at least two more than his opponent. Each point is scored according to its importance within the context of the game, as follows:-
Zero points is referred to as ‘Love ‘
One point is referred to as ‘15 ‘
Two points is referred to as ‘30 ‘
Three points is referred to as ‘40 ‘
Four points is ‘Game ‘, provided there is a 2 point lead.

If the score in a game reaches 40 all, this is called ‘ Deuce ‘, and the game continues until one player has a two point lead. If Player A has a one point lead after deuce, the score is called
‘advantage A ‘

Tennis gambling can be played as Men’s singles, Ladies singles, Men’s doubles, Ladies doubles, and at some tournaments, usually the Majors, mixed doubles is played.

The premier professional tennis gambling tournaments are the Grand Slams or the Majors.

January – Australian Open, played on Hard courts in Melbourne
May/June – French Open, played on Clay courts in Paris
June/July – Wimbledon, played on Grass courts at Wimbledon
Aug/Sept – US Open, played on Hard courts in New York

The next tier of tournaments is the Tennis Masters Series, played as follows:-

March – BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells on Hard courts
March – Sony Ericsson Open, Miami on Hard courts
April – Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, Monte Carlo on Clay courts
April – Internazional BNL d’Italia, Rome on Clay courts
May – Mutua Madrilena Masters, Madrid on Clay courts
August – Rogers Cup, Montreal/Toronto on Hard courts
August – Western and Southern Financial Group Masters,
Played in Cincinnati on Hard courts
October – Shanghai Masters, Shanghai on Hard courts
November – BNP Paribas Masters, Paris on Hard courts

In addition to these premier tournaments, the professional tennis circuit is played all over the world and throughout the year. There is almost always a tennis gambling match or tournament available for the sports gambler to follow.