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A Royal Score for All

In 2008, during an afternoon marred by rain, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal participated in one of the greatest tennis matches in the history of the sport. For almost five hours the two rivals volleyed and traded leads, keeping their opponents on their toes. Federer, just two points from victory (and a consecutive sixth Wimbledon Championship) had trouble returning Nadal's serves, and Nadal went on the claim the title. 

Professional tennis is the culmination of agility, speed, nuance, reaction time, and precision. It is one of the world's most beloved sporting spectacles. The famed Wimbledon Championship takes place at Center Courte, housed in the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club,  which seats almost 15,000 spectators. Every year, millions more watch and listen to broadcasts of the oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament in the world.  

During the 12th century, Louis X of France was an avid participant to a game that was the precursor to tennis. Jeu de paume or "game of the palm," was an indoor ball, in-court game that required no racquets. Louis X became the first tennis player known by name under unfortunate circumstances. After a particularly exhausting match at Vincennes, Louie X drank a copious amount of chilled wine and suffered from either pleurisy or pneumonia—or possibly assassination by poison. Still, his  championing of the sport spread, and tennis courts were constructed across royal palaces throughout Europe. 
The International Tennis Federation, (ITF) founded March 1, 1913, sanctions the Grand Slam tournaments, organizes events at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and governs the body of world tennis. The ITF works conjunctively with the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) and the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) to help govern professional tennis. For the last 105 years, it has helped to position professional tennis as a premiere sport. 

Tennis has had a long history in society and culture. It is used mockingly in Henry V, written by William Shakespeare, where the king's playfulness and youthfulness are brought into question as he's presented "tennis balles."  In "The Turke and Gawain," included in The Percy Folio of Old English Ballads and Romances, the protagonists plays tennis against 17 giants. More recently, Maurice Evans McLoughlin, a former U.S. Open champion (part of the heralded Grand Slam tournaments), chronicled his experiences during tennis' growing popularity in the early 1900's in Tennis As I Play It.

The legacy of tennis has been documented for centuries. But the game has changed drastically from its royal beginning and now registers with people all across the world. 

By Logan Williams

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