Tennis Timeline

  • Modern Tennis Introduced

    Modern tennis is officially created by Major Walter Wingfield. Wingfield patented tennis equipment and rules for the game on grass courts.
  • Wimbledon Tournament Begins

    The first Wimbledon Championship, the most prestigious tennis tournament, is created. It results in Spencer Gore defeating William Marshall in 3 straight sets.
  • Birth of the Overhead Smash

    The overhead smash, a shot played above the head hit hard, fast, and downwards at the opponent is introduced by the Renshaw brothers. They went on to dominate the sport for a decade.
  • Renshaw Brothers Dominate

    Renshaw Brothers Dominate
    Twin brothers Williams and Ernest Renshaw dominate the game throughout the 1880s. William is a 7-time Wimbledon champion, and Ernest once. Together they dominated the doubles championships.
  • Olympic debut

    Olympic debut
    Tennis becomes a staple of the olympics, making its mark in the very first olympics in Athens, Greece.
  • Women Participate in Olympic Tennis

    Paris, France hosts the olympics, with women being able to compete in tennis. Charlotte Cooper of the United Kingdom takes home the gold.
  • International Lawn Tennis Federation is Formed

    Four major tennis tournaments which are still active today are created. These include the U.S Open, Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon.
  • Tennis meets broadcasting

    For the first time tennis is broadcasted on the radio. This helped the world gain significant exposure to tennis.
  • Maureen Connolly makes history

    American Maureen Connolly becomes the first women to win all four grand slam tournaments in a single year. Unfortunately, following her fourth title win, she broke her legs falling off a horse.
  • Rod Laver Debut

    Rod Laver Debut
    Australian Rod Laver, one of the most decorated tennis players of all time makes his debut. Laver goes on to win a record 200 tournaments.
  • Open Era is Formed

    The Open Era, which is also the current era of professional tennis is formed. This allows professional players to compete with amateurs, ending the division that had persisted since the dawn of the sport in the 19th century.
  • Wilson Introduces Metal Racquet

    The first Wilson metal racquet, the T2000 is released and is unlike any other. It has a 67 square inch head, allowing for maximum power.
  • Tie breaker rule

    The tie breaker rule is created by James Van Allen. With this rule, the winner of the tie-break is now the first person to reach five points.
  • Battle of the Sexes

    World No. 2 Billie Jean King takes on 55 year-old chauvinist and former tennis professional Bobby Riggs who claimed that he could beat any female tennis player. She defeats Riggs with ease and earned a prize of $100,000.

    Women’s International Professional Tennis Council is formed. The council formed and operated under a joint secretariat shared between the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and Women’s Tennis Association (WTA).
  • First graphite and fiberglass racquets

    Howard Head becomes the first person to play with a fiberglass and graphite racquet. It becamos a staple for the sport, mainly due to its light weight.
  • Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum is created

    WLTM is the largest tennis museum in the world. It was inaugurated at The Championships centenary event in 1977. The museum exhibits artifacts dating back to 1555.
  • Yellow tennis balls introduced

    Yellow tennis balls introduced
    Previously balls were black or white in color. International Tennis Federation (ITF) introduced yellow tennis balls as research had shown these balls to be more visible to television viewers.
  • Invention of the clay court

    William Renshaw, a 7 time Wimbledon champion invented the clay tennis court. Grass tennis courts often burned out because of the sun, so to prevent this Renshaw applied a layer of red crushed brick and melted clay from pots over the grass and thus, clay courts were invented.
  • Davis Cup

    Davis Cup
    The Davis Cup is created by Dwight Filley Davis when he challenges British tennis players to compete against his Harvard team. The cup is currently known as the Premier Trophy.
  • New Fashion Trend

    Tennis adopted a new fashion trend, thanks to Benny Austin of the U.S, as he became the first player to wear shorts during a match
  • Serena Williams Debut

    Williams makes her professional debut at the age of 13 at the Bell Challenge in Quebec City. She lost in the first qualifying round to Annie Miller.
  • Arthur Ashe Stadium

    Arthur Ashe Stadium
    Arthur Ashe Stadium was built in 1997 in Queens, New York. It is the largest tennis stadium in the world, and holds a capacity of 23,771 people.
  • Roger Federer Tournament Debut

    Federer makes his tournament debut in the ATP Gstaad where he faces Lucas Arnold Ker and is defeated. This was the beginning of a legendary career.
  • New Double Tie Breaker Rule

    The ATP introduces a new scoring system for doubles matches, which includes a sudden death points at deuce and a first-to-ten-points tiebreak in place of a final set.
  • Longest tennis match

    The 1st round match between American John Isner and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut became the longest match in tennis history. The match lasted over 11 hours and spanned across 3 days. It concluded with Isner winning with a final score of 70-68.
  • Andy Murray Wins Wimbledon

    Andy Murray takes home the Wimbledon, becoming the first British man to win a Grand Slam Title in 77 years.
  • Serena Williams Wins 6th Wimbledon Title

    Serena Williams Wins 6th Wimbledon Title
    Serena Williams defeats Garbine Maguruza in thrilling Wimbledon title. Possibly the most monumental victory of Williams’ career, she wins her 21st grand slam title and her fourth in a row. Exemplifying how immense this win was, following the match, Williams says “At the beginning of the year, this is the one I really wanted to win.”
  • Covid-19

    Covid-19 put major tennis tournaments to a halt throughout 2020. However, the recreational activity of tennis actually became more popular in the U.S and all around the world during the pandemic as people enjoyed getting outside and playing the socially distant sport.
  • Tennis today

    Tennis has become one of the most played and watched sport worldwide, with approximately 1.17% of the world’s population playing the sport. Big names are still competing at the highest of levels on the men's and women's side. In a speech #1 ranked Novak Djokovic said “The Next Gen of young people? Me, Rafa (Nadal) and Roger (Federer) are reinventing the Next Gen.” Meanwhile Serena Williams is still the most dangerous player in the world, even at 39 years old.
  • Unh club tennis

    Unh's competitive co-ed tennis club consists of 15 men and women who compete with schools across the country.