The Tennis Page is about links to Professional Tennis. Association of Tennis Professionals - ATP and Women’s Tennis Association - WTA are the Pro Sports Links shown. The current top 20 players, by points for the men and by earnings for the women, are the players listed. They are updated weekly; after the tournament(s) finish. Also, the logos for the ITF, Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and other major events are shown.
The sport of ‘Tennis’ is played by many all around the world, and is popular in North America, too. Played on ‘Hard Surfaces‘, ‘Grass’ and ‘Clay’ courts, tennis professionals must adapt to changing conditions, as they tour the ‘Pro Circuit‘. There are different series’ for men and tiers for women. Grand Slam Tournaments, where the men’s and women’s associations play for 2 weeks, are the Major Events.
Professional men’s tennis is run by the Association of Tennis Professionals - ATP, and Professional women’s tennis is run by the Women’s Tennis Association - WTA; they are both international tennis leagues. The governing body for tennis is the International Tennis Federation - ITF. Tennis Canada governs the game in Canada, while the U.S. Tennis Association - USTA - governs the game in the United States. Two terms are common in Professional Tennis and the sport in general: Rankings are determined by points a player collects for each of their place finishes at the tournaments entered - only the best ‘so many’ finishes are used and they must be within a certain time frame, eg. like the last 52 weeks; Love is a term used to mean Zero - when a score of 15 - 0 is posted the announcer may, or will, say “Fifteen - Love". 0 - 0 is 'Love All'. Rankings determine ‘Seeds’! A seed is awarded to a top player - equal to their Ranking position - in pairing them with lower, or newer, players to conduct the earlier elimination matches of a tournament. It is also a measure of respect the players keep as they advance in a tournament. Seeds are the rankings of only the players present at that tournament and it prevents the best players from having to play each other in the early matches. Eliminating the best players early is not what the players, organizers or spectators want.
The ATP has a 69 event 2006 season that runs from the beginning of January to the middle of November with the final tournament in Shanghai, China: The Tennis Masters Cup. Not all the tournaments run in succession, as, some events run the same week as 1 or 2 others. There are 3 series’ and they have events all season long: The International Series, The Masters Series and the Grand Slam Events. The ATP uses a points system to determine their rankings. The WTA has a 71 tournament 2006 season running from the beginning of January to the beginning of November, ending with the Sony Ericsson Championship in Madrid, Spain. Not all of these tournaments run in succession, either, as some events run at the same time as 1 or 2 others. The tournaments are categorized into ‘Tiers’: I - IV, and Grand Slam Events. Grand Slams and Tier I events are mandatory and a point total of ‘0’, with the tournament counting as a ‘best finish', could result if missed. The WTA has a point system to determine rankings, but, the Pro Sports players above are listed by prize money.
Each association name and players’ national flag is linked to their home page. Each players’ name is linked to their page at the ITF web site. Each player portrait is linked the player’s biography, at the association web site, and each league Logo is linked to the league standings page. Each Event Logo is linked to that event’s home page and each Wimbledon current Champion is shown with their trophy - linked to information about it. All of the images have captions to explain what they are and where they link. From a player or league web site, their store can be viewed to see tennis gear and equipment for fans and players. Tennis Logo’s on shorts, sweat bands and shirts are often worn by fans. Players’ insignias on clothing and many other items can be purchased for gifts or collecting a special item. Advertisements, are also shown and, can be a source for just that right item to enhance your enjoyment of tennis or your favourite player. There is no cost in linking with an ad or any web site.
The Game Of Tennis.
Tennis is played on a tennis court that is 36 feet wide and 78 feet long, usually green, in a rectangular arena 120 feet long and 60 feet wide, often surrounded by seating. However, the singles court is only 27 feet wide. The end seating is elevated far above the court - so the line judges can stand there. The tennis court is set up with white lines to play doubles or singles matches on. The lists of Pro Tennis Players, above, are mainly singles players and it is the singles match that will be described. The end lines are the same for both, but, the side lines are not. The service boxes are the same. The doubles lines are the outside perimeter of the court while the singles side lines are inside of there. The playing surface is divided by a ’Net’, 3 feet high, running the full width of the court. This net is what the players must hit the ‘Tennis Ball’ over to land in the court area on the other side. Within the singles area there are two ‘Service Boxes’ on each side of the net. They are half of the singles width, each, and run from the net 21 feet back to a line running the width of the singles court. The ‘Serve’ must land in one of these boxes to start a ‘Rally’.
A tennis court has side lines, end lines, service boxes and a net - each of which requires a judge to make ‘Calls’ concerning where the ball hits them. The tennis ball must not touch the net on a 1st serve. If it does, and it falls into the appropriate service box, then there is a re-serve of 1st service: called 'Let'. If the ball misses the service box, straight off or after hitting the net, then the server can make a 2nd serve. The tennis ball may touch the net, on a 2nd service, but, still must land inside the service box or the point is awarded to the opponent; then the players move on to play the next point. First serve always has a second serve to back it up.
The ball is ’In’ if it touches an outside line or lands within the perimeter of the court - singles or doubles markings apply. The line judges determine close calls: if they were touching the line or landed outside of the area. Today, an electronic, computerized machine collects data from triangulating beams of light that floods the court area to accurately determine the exact location of the tennis ball at all times. On television, an animation created from the data collected by this machine, reveals the shot, it’s trajectory and where it landed - even the ball mark! When the actual ball mark is shown - on clay surfaces - it is exactly the same. This machine could be made to make a warning sound when the ball lands ‘Out‘. Remember, a tennis ball is ‘in’ even if it is only touching the extreme outside of the line.
The players have a sitting area; a couple of chairs, each, where they keep extra racquets, refreshments, towels and anything they might need during a match. The ‘Umpire’ sits between the sitting areas, up on an elevated chair looking down the length of the net. The net has an electronic sensor to determine if the tennis ball touches - ‘Ticks It’ - or not. Each line has a judge on each half of the tennis court: the two outside lines, the centre service line, the back lines and the back service lines - on each half of the tennis court. The judges stand against the back walls and outside of the court area along the sides. There are, also, people to retrieve and deliver the tennis balls to the players.
The court surface is a major factor in Professional Tennis. The ‘Hard Surface’ would be made of concrete, cement or asphalt and would not permit sliding or diving onto it to reach the tennis ball. The players would wear footwear to keep their legs springy and stay on their toes. The ‘Grass Surface’ does allow some sliding and would be forgiving in an event where the players leave their feet. The grass wears down, however, often leaving a dirt patch in the high traffic areas for the final matches. The changing conditions must be overcome by the tennis players who advance into the later rounds. The ‘Clay Surface’ is more forgiving than the hard, but, not enough for players to leave their feet on purpose. It does allow sliding, but, prevents instant acceleration. All these surfaces are a challenge on their own and the best tennis players have mastered them all!
The game is played by two opponents who stand on either side of the net. They each have a tennis racquet; a flat, rounded paddle like stick with a wide hole at one end, that has a heavy, high tensioned mesh strung around a wooden or metal frame. The other end has a handle with a grip. The mesh allows air to flow through it and not interfere with the player’s ‘Swipe’ at the tennis ball. The flat wide mesh area is used to ‘Strike’ the ball and send it back over the net. The tension in the mesh gives it spring; propelling the tennis ball with more velocity. The mesh, also, gives the racquet grip on the ball allowing spin to make the ball curve through the air, and also, bounce off in a different direction, after landing. The tennis ball is air filled, hollow, thin walled rubber and covered in a felt like hair. It is usually yellow for high visibility. It bounces very well and springs off of the tensioned mesh to become a shot: control of the tennis ball is essential to the sport of tennis.
The game begins with a meeting at centre court, with the ‘Umpire’ and both players. Once determining who will start, they each shake hands and proceed to the back of their half of the tennis court. The Umpire climbs into the officiating chair and indicates readiness. One player ‘Serves’ and the other player ‘Receives’. To serve the ball, the ‘Server’ tosses the tennis ball up into the air in an appropriate location so as to ‘Smash‘, or ‘Strike‘, the ball very hard, with the tennis racquet at an appropriate angle, that propels the ball over the net into the service box on the other side. A serve must be ‘Overhand’. The server may do this anywhere outside the back line on one half of the court only. Servers generally stand as close to the centre of the court as possible. The service is from the back line, on one side of the court, to the service box on the opposite side - width wise - and other side of the net. If the ball lands there it is in play and the opponent must hit the ball in a ‘Return’ to land in the court, back on the server’s side of the net. The tennis ball is hit back and forth until it lands outside the perimeter, bounces twice on one side of the net or gets caught in the net. A ball may touch the net and go over after the initial serve is made. First and second service are allotted to start a ‘Rally’. The first service is usually hit very hard to give it the velocity for an ‘Ace’; a serve that lands good, but, can not be reached to be returned. A second service is a less confident event, by the server, and is struck more purposefully to land the ball in the service box. Should both serves be ‘out’ the point is awarded to the opponent. After the point is played, the server moves to the other side of the centre line and serves the next point. The same player continues to serve for the whole game and then the Opponent serves for a Game. After 2 Games, the Players take a break at their sitting areas before switching ends and continuing.
A tennis ‘Match’ is divided into ‘Sets’. In Pro Sports a match is the best of 3 or sometimes 5 sets. A set is divided into ‘Games’. To win a set a player must win at least 6 games. A game is won by a tennis player winning 4 rallies while the opponent only wins 2 rallies or less; the winner must win by two points. The game is scored uniquely to tennis: the count is from old days when a clock was used to keep score. Today, the score is 15 - 30 - 40 and game, or win. A game can tie at 15-15 or 30-30, but, at 40-40 it is called ’Deuce’. Two points are required to win from deuce and if the opponent ties the game up, after a 1 point lead, it is deuce again. When a server wins a point it is ‘Advantage’ to the player’s name, eg. Advantage ‘server’. When the opponent goes ahead it is ‘Break Point’ and this term applies throughout the game: when the opponent is ahead 15-40 it is double break point as the server needs two points to bring it to deuce, but, the opponent only needs one point to win. To win a tennis set, a player can win 6 games to zero or up to 6-4, required to win by two. If one player wins 5 games, the other player would need 7 games, 7-5, to win the set. At a score of 6 games to 5, a player can win the next game to win the set or, it could be tied at 6-6; which requires a ’Tie Breaker’. A tie breaker is played to 7 points and is played until one player has won by two points. The set is then awarded to the winner: 7-6.
The terms belong to tennis; break point, advantage, deuce, tie breaker, etc. A common oration by the Umpire is to label a winning point; ’Game Point’, ’Set Point’ or ’Match Point’, but, the call tennis players are after is ’Game, set and match ’ announced with their own name!
Tennis is played with rally after rally until the necessary points are scored to win the games and sets that win the match. A typical rally has the first serve returned to the centre of the server’s court and the tennis ball is smashed back where the opponent returns it again; having the server ’Place’ the ball where the opponent can not get to it - before it makes a second bounce. The original serve was so hard and deep in the service box that it is all the opponent can do to get the racquet face in front of the tennis ball so that it bounces off of the racquet and lands back over the net. The ‘Return’ often has no direction or control put into it - it is barely a shot but, keeps the ball in play. The server then makes a controlled smash with the correct spin and velocity to hit the ball to where the opponent is taken far out of position. The volley back to the server was a repeat of the return, with little or no control, direction or velocity - it just puts the ball back in play at the expense of court position. The opponent was off to one side and a wide open court was left available, to the server, to win the point.
Often the ball is served out of the service box and a second service is required. This greatly reduces the advantage to the server: having to make a shot that is more accurate. The return could be just as controlled as the server’s volleys and the point could go either way. And, too, a miss hit on the smash, to the first service return, could give the opponent a chance to make a shot that is well placed and unreturnable. Players put spin on the ball: ‘Top Spin’ makes the ball bounce low while bending it’s flight down to the court early; ‘Backspin’ makes the ball float over the net and then drop, popping up to bounce again right near the first bounce, where the opponent is back deep in the court; and ‘Sideways Spin’ makes the ball curve in an arc and, as well, kick right or left after it bounces - fooling the opponent. A player charges or, runs up to, the net when a well placed shot is made as the belief is the opponent must ‘Lob’ the tennis ball back to the centre. Playing at the net, after a deep shot, increases the reach as the player fills up the angle space the opponent has to work with. If the opponent returns with a lob over the players head, it can be tracked down, as it bounces up high, allowing a controlled shot to be made: making the charge to the net a good gamble. Playing deep allows more time to get to a high velocity shot and is a defensive move, but, it makes a player more vulnerable to short, back spin shots that are shallow in the court. Occasionally, a rally continues volley after volley, as neither player can set up a winning shot, until a mistake or an exceptional play is made and an exhausted opponent just can not reach the ball.
Tennis is a Pro Sport enjoyed by many as they watch their favourite players compete and make shots spectators can not accomplish - thrilling the crowd and often stunning them with shot making, playing position, talent, athletic speed and agility.
Pro Sports Official Team Sites Tennis Page can link you with all the action, right to the Tennis source; the Professional Players and Associations. Their tennis news and events pages will keep you up to date.