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A short history of tennis

Tennis is one the most watched sports around the world. It is a sport full of global superstars, hometown favourites, underdogs and record-breakers. It is steeped in great tradition and yet features some of the most advanced technologies and progressive gender treatment. From Roger Federer and Serena Williams to Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova, tennis is not short on household names and adored players. Betting on tennis can make the most epic matches even more memorable. Love supporting a player? There are plenty of tennis betting sites where you can place money on them, including those listed above.

Popular opinion is that tennis can be traced back to 12th century France. However, the game played back then involved using the palm of a player’s hand to strike the ball. It was not until the 16th century that racquets came into use and the name ‘tennis’ was first used. The first step towards the game we play today came when Harry Gem and Augurio Perera developed a game combining rackets and balls, and then played outside on a croquet lawn. With their new game, they founded the first tennis club in Leamington Spa, England, in 1872.

The big milestone for tennis in the last century came in 1968. This saw the end of the amateur era. Commercial pressures and rumours of some players being paid to play saw the switch to the Open era of professional tennis that we have today.

The basics of tennis

Tennis is the world’s most popular racquet sport. It is played across the globe, from the manicured lawns of England to the red clay of Spain and down to the hardcourts of Australia. The three main formats of tennis are singles (two players), doubles (four players, same sex) and mixed doubles (four players, mixed sex).

Tennis is a game played on a rectangular-shaped court with a net in the middle. Players stand on opposite sides of a net and use a stringed racquet to hit a ball back and forth to each other. Each player has a maximum of one bounce after it has been hit by their opponent to return the ball over the net and within the lines of the court. The aim is to win enough points to win a game and enough games to win a set and enough sets to win a match. The first person to win six games wins a set. Matches are usually the best of three (most tournaments) or the best of five sets (the Grand Slams). When a player wins, you will hear the umpire say: “Game, set and match”.

What are the main tournaments?

Tennis has a high number of tournaments located in hundreds of cities around the globe. The four showpiece events in tennis are known as the ‘Grand Slams’ or ‘Majors’. These are the highest-ranking tournaments which the best players strive to win and have their names recorded in the history books and to be remembered among the greats of the sport.

  • The Australian Open marks the first tennis grand slam of the year in January. This is sometime referred to as the ‘Happy Slam’ and is played on the hard courts in Melbourne. This surface tends to favour those players who can play well on the baseline, such as Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams.
  • Played on clay (or terre battue as the French say), the French Open takes place at Roland Garros in Paris in late May running into early June. The clay courts of Paris tend to favour the defensive players and those with heavy top-spin, the prime example being the Spanish left-hander, Rafael Nadal.
  • The Wimbledon Championships take place just a month later at the ‘home of tennis’, the All-England Lawn Tennis Club at SW19 in London. This grass tournament can be dangerous in the early round as the surface is very quick and can even be slippery for the players! As the tournament progress, the grass thins and the court become harder and slightly slower. This tournament favours player who can serve and volley as the court is much quicker than the other surfaces. Roger Federer is the prime example of players who do well at Wimbledon, his game features attacking groundstrokes, clever serves and beautiful volleying.
  • The US Open is played at Flushing Meadows in New York City. This is the last Grand Slam of the season and the people of New York always make a loud and involved audience. Arthur Ashe Stadium has the largest audience capacity of any tournament venue on the Tour and playing under its lights is considered a real honour for the players.
  • The second highest ranking tennis events after grand slams are the ATP World Tour Masters 1000. This series of nine tennis tournaments sees each winner receive 1,000 ranking points, with the top eight players going on to compete in the London ATP World Tour Finals in November at the end of the tennis year. These ATP tour events are held annually throughout the year in various exciting and exotic destinations around the globe, including Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo, Madrid, Rome, Toronto, Cincinnati, Shanghai and Paris.

What is the Davis Cup?

While tennis is normally an individual pursuit, players can represent their country in the Davis Cup. In 2016, 135 nations entered Davis Cup by BNP Paribas, making it the world’s largest annual international team competition in the sports world.

How do the rankings work?

Players are ranked under the Emirates ATP Rankings according to how many points they accrue in a calendar year. A tennis player’s ranking is assessed on a 52-week rolling year basis with points being removed and added each week, depending on results. Many tennis fans and gamblers seem to incorrectly assume that ranking points are assigned to a certain event but this is not the case. A tennis player defends the ranking points they gained in the equivalent week of the previous year, not the actual tournament they were won from. This is important as there are a few occasions throughout the year that tournaments move the date from the previous year, and it would be incorrect to assume the player was defending points from that tournament.

Tennis players earn different levels of points depending on the event. The winner of a Grand Slam will earn 2,000 Emirates ATP ranking points. The next highest points a player can win is a unique 1,500 ranking points to an undefeated ATP Tour Finals champion (like Roger Federer in London 2011). As Novak lost to Federer in the round-robin stage of the 2015 ATP Tour Finals, he was awarded 1,300 points. The next highest points that singles champions can win are as indicated in the title of the Masters events, for example, winners of Masters 1000 event will be awarded 1,000 points.

The Olympics and the chance of the “Golden Slam”

Tennis is an Olympic sport, which means every four years the players will be involved in a small extra tournament called the Olympics. While historically players are more focused on the Slam events, the Olympics has grown in priority for the players. “Out of all of the things that happened to me in 2012, winning the gold medal was the proudest moment,” Andy Murray wrote in his autobiography, Seventy-Seven. Considering he reached a first Wimbledon final a month earlier and claimed his first Grand Slam title at the US Open a month later, that’s a powerful statement to make.

What types of tennis betting are there?

Tennis is a great spectator sport and even more enjoyable when having a bet, whether it be on the outright winner of a tournament, the match odds or betting in-play on set betting or who will win the next game. Tennis betting is thriving at the moment with thousands of bets being placed every day on selections from match winner to most aces, as well as specific set betting.

Generally in tennis betting, there are not many opportunities for the big price winners. The exception to this can be tennis outright betting. With more than 120 tournaments across both men’s and women’s tennis, there are plenty of opportunities to look to find the players that will lift the trophies and secure profits for the clever punter.

There are a number of factors to consider when it comes to deciding which players are worth backing in a tournament for your tennis betting. An important and not always obvious factor to look at is the court surface. Different players are suited to different surfaces, and while the top players are comfortable on all surfaces, they generally have a favoured surface. For example, Rafael Nadal has only lost on clay a handful of times in his entire career, Federer favours the grass and Djokovic loves the hard courts of Australia.

It is also prudent to then take a close look at the draw. Aside from the Grand Slams, bookmakers will almost always wait until the draw has been released to price up a tournament outright. Frequently, especially in some of the lower tournaments, you will find that one-half of the draw is significantly more dangerous than the other. This could mean that a lower ranked player, in the weaker half of the draw, could prove to be worth putting on your shortlist as an each-way pick. Even in Grand Slams, sometimes one-half of the draw can be ‘heavy’ and filled with three of the four of the top-ranked players.

As with many sports, it’s important to consider recent form when betting on tennis. Winning breeds confidence, and a confident player is more likely to play better, especially as tennis is a very mental game. A player that has had some big wins or a couple of good runs over the past month is certainly worth keeping an eye on. This applies even if the overall quality of their game might be slightly below the level that you think might be needed to win the tournament. However, you do need to be quite careful. Outside the top few players, it is quite rare that players win back-to-back titles. While they are clearly in good form from the first title, the amount of tennis, emotion at winning the title, plus travelling at the last minute can often result in a poor tournament the following week. Finally, it is certainly worth looking at a player’s recent history at a tournament. For whatever reason, certain players enjoy playing in certain tournaments.

The important thing is now to look at the odds and consider whether you feel a player has a greater chance of winning the tournament than the odds suggest. These logical steps should lead to a solid profit for your tennis outright betting. Tennis betting can be exciting and profitable, just ensure you do all of your homework. To help you get started, Best Deal Casinos have compiled a list of reputable sites, all of which have been checked and recommended by ourselves.