Tennis is a racquet sport that can be played individually against a single opponent (singles) or between two teams of two players each (doubles). Each player uses a racquet that is strung with cord to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over or around a net and into the opponent’s court. The object of the game is to play the ball in such a way that the opponent is not able to play a good return. The opponent who is unable to return the ball will not gain a point, while the opposite opponent will.
Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society and at all ages. The sport can be played by anyone who can hold a racquet, including wheelchair users. The modern game of tennis originated in Birmingham, England, in the late 19th century as “lawn tennis”. It had close connections both to various field (“lawn”) games such as croquet and bowls as well as to the older racquet sport of real tennis. During most of the 19th-century in fact, the term “tennis” referred to real tennis, not lawn tennis: for example, in Disraeli’s novel Sybil (1845), Lord Eugene De Vere announces that he will “go down to Hampton Court and play tennis.”
The rules of tennis have changed little since the 1890s. Two exceptions are that from 1908 to 1961 the server had to keep one foot on the ground at all times, and the adoption of the tie-break in the 1970s. A recent addition to professional tennis has been the adoption of electronic review technology coupled with a point challenge system, which allows a player to contest the line call of a point.
Tennis is played by millions of recreational players and is also a popular worldwide spectator sport. The four Grand Slam tournaments (also referred to as the “Majors”) are especially popular: the Australian Open played on hard courts, the French Open played on red clay courts, Wimbledon played on grass courts, and the US Open played also on hard courts.
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Tennis is arguably the most popular and most storied racquet sport in the world. Other racquet sports such as ping pong and paddle ball have taken the rules and equipment found in tennis and modified them slightly.
In 1881, the United States National Lawn Tennis Association created an official rule book, solidifying the rules that would govern tennis over the next 100 plus years. That organization is now known as the U.S. Tennis Association and is in charge of promoting the sport and hosting tournaments all over the country.
Fifteen years later, tennis made its first appearance in the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, where an Irishman named John Pius Boland won the first Olympic medal in singles tennis.
Throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, the game was dominated by a few top names: Germany’s Boris Becker and United States’ John McEnroe, Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras. Sampras and Agassi traded No. 1 rankings in the world regularly from 1993 to 2003, popularizing the sport and drawing significant viewership throughout America in the process.
The current top player in the world is Spain’s Rafael Nadal, a 24 year old who took the top spot from Switzerland’s Roger Federer after Federer held the position for more than four years between 2004 and 2008.
The women’s game has much more parity. Currently, the top female player in the world is Serbia’s Jelena Jankovich, while the top players in the United States are the well known Williams sisters (Serena and Venus). Eastern Europe is considered a hot bed of tennis talent, as nine of the top 11 women’s tennis players are from Russia, Serbia or Poland.
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Tennis is a unique sport; the surface the game is played on changes over the course of the season. Both the WTA and the ATP move from hard courts to clay to grass and then back to hard courts during the year, offering tennis bettors more chances to cash in during those surfaces’ respective tournaments.
tennis betting can be a profitable play if bettors do their homework. Coverage is always abundant during the four Grand Slam tournaments, but it is watching and studying the small events in between that separate the squares from the sharps.
Here are some handy tips to consider when making a play on an upcoming tennis tournament . . .
Just like betting on any other sport, current play is the first thing oddsmakers look to when setting prices for a tennis tournament. It should also top the to-do list when wagering on tennis.
Players can find their form and lose it during the run of the tennis schedule, so keeping an eye on past events and matches is a must. Look for players that have gone deep into tournaments or have faced top-ranked competition.
How a player does under pressure, whether in a semifinal or final situation or against a better opponent, will give insight into how they will perform with money on the line.
The women’s French Open final was a prime example of a good player cracking under pressure. Top-seeded Dinara Safina was a favorite to win her first Grand Slam at Roland Garros, but buckled in two sets much like she did the previous year.
Surfaces and conditions
All tennis players have a favorite surface.
Top-ranked Rafael Nadal was untouchable on clay until his recent knee injury. Roger Federer has dominated grass courts like Wimbledon during his storied career. Power players like Serena Williams find themselves at home on the hard court, where they can maximize their strength.
Finding which players prefer which surface is a great way to weed out value in outright and head-to-head betting matchups. Also, consider how quick a player is when wagering on slick clay court surfaces or how powerful their shots are when looking at tournaments on hard courts.
Weather can also play a huge factor into how a wager performs. In tournaments like the Australian Open the heat can suck the energy out of players, giving more value to younger, more fit talents.
Rain can also impact players, especially those coming off or nursing injuries. Inclement weather usually causes delays, making it harder for nagging injuries to get warm and stay warm over the course of a match.
A great way to draw a plan of attack when betting on tennis is to study the tournament’s seeding and draw. Looking ahead to possible tough matchups is not only a smart play for that particular match, but also provides fade value in the winner for the following contests if the match goes the distance and is exceptionally grueling.
Roger Federer capitalized on a drained Rafael Nadal at the Mutua Madrilena Masters Madrid this year. Nadal was involved in a classic battle with fellow clay-court stud Novak Djokovic in the semifinals, and after advancing to the final was sluggish and worn out against Federer.
Injuries and other factors
A knee injury to Nadal shook up the Wimbledon betting odds just a day before the tournament started. If the Spaniard had decided to play through the injury, there would have been great fade value in one of the tournament’s top players.
Keeping a eye on recent ailments is a valuable practice when betting tennis. Players coming off or dealing with injuries are great play-against wagers or should be left alone entirely.
Just recently, Maria Sharapova was eliminated in the second round at Wimbledon. Sharapova, a former Wimbledon champion, was playing in just her fourth tournament since having shoulder surgery and is still finding her form after a extended layoff.
Also, noting any coaching or technique changes before a tournament can prove profitable. Player sometimes take time to adjust to new practices and should either be faded or left alone by bettors.