11 bits of tennis trivia ahead of ATP World Finals at The O2 in Greenwich (From This Is Local London)
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11 bits of tennis trivia ahead of ATP World Finals at The O2 in Greenwich
6:00am Monday 4th November 2013 in News
TODAY IS ... the start of the ATP World Finals, the tennis season finale for the world’s very best players at The O2 in Greenwich.
The annual week-long showpiece is billed as the ‘biggest indoor tennis event on the planet’.
Among the eight-player singles field will be world number one Rafael Nadal, defending champion Novak Djokovic and six-time winner Roger Federer.
Andy Murray qualified, but was forced to withdraw after undergoing back surgery.
To celebrate the start of the finals, here are some facts and trivia about the event and tennis in general:
- Tennis originated in France in the 12th century and was called paume (meaning palm). It was a court game where the ball was struck with the palm of the hand, evolving into jeu de paume when rackets were used.
- The game spread and evolved in Europe. In 1873, Major Walter Wingfield invented a game called Sphairistikè (Greek for "playing ball) from which modern outdoor tennis evolved.
- Wingfield’s game was played on an hour-glass shaped court with a net that was 4ft 8in high. A modern net is 3.5ft at the posts, 3ft in the middle.
- Yellow tennis balls were used at Wimbledon for the first time in 1986.
- Sewing a tennis ball into the back of a person's pyjamas is a recommended remedy for snoring.
- Lawn tennis grew out of the older game of Real (or Royal) Tennis, played on an enclosed court.
- Rectangular courts were introduced in 1875 by the All England Croquet Club at Wimbledon when it decided to add tennis to its repertoire.
- It is thought the word love to represent a score of zero may come from the French for 'the egg' (l'oeuf) because an egg looks like a zero, and when English-speaking people adopted the sport, the word stuck. The French instead now use “zero” while we still use the mispronunciation of egg ... talk about irony.
- The ball is only in play for about 20 minutes of an average two-and-a-half-hour tennis match.
- The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals has welcomed more than one million fans to The O2 since moving to London in 2009.
- There is a $1.9m purse awaiting an undefeated singles champion.
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