Tennis by the Numbers
- 1874 Walter Clopton Wingfield patents his game of lawn tennis in Great Britain. His patent includes a short history of tennis, instructions and notes for setting up the court, and the six rules of the game.
- 1877 The first Wimbledon hits the grassy courts.
- 1881 The first U.S. National Lawn Association is founded and its Championships (the precursor to the U.S. Open) are played at Newport Casino in Newport, R.I. The stadium seats 4,000. (The U.S. Open's modern-day home -- Arthur Ashe Stadium -- has a capacity of 23,000).
- 1887 The first U.S. National Lawn Championships for women begins.
- 1891 The first French Open invites competition, but only for the French. Citizens of other countries aren't eligible to enter until 1925.
- 1938 American Don Budge is the first to achieve the Grand Slam, winning Wimbledon, the French Open, the Australian Open and the U.S. Open.
- 1953 American Maureen Connolly is the second to win the Grand Slam -- and the first woman to do so.
- 1962 Australian Rod Laver becomes the third tennis pro to achieve the Grand Slam; he becomes the first athlete to win it twice when he repeats the feat in 1969.
- 1967 Metal racquets take off with the Wilson T2000, first made popular by Billie Jean King and then by Jimmy Connors.
- 1968 International Tennis Federation officially ushers in the "Open Era" leaving the stodgy image of loving-cup competition behind and opening up the great tournaments to players who earn their living from tennis. This move also consolidates all five tennis championships: men's and women's doubles and singles, and mixed doubles.
- This same year, Arthur Ashe wins the U.S. Open.
- 1970 Australian Margaret Court Smith takes four championships to become the fourth Grand Slam winner.
- 1972 The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) is formed; it now runs professional men's tennis.
- 1973 The Women's Tennis Association (WTA), ATP's female counterpart, begins organizing professional women's tournaments.
- That same year at the Houston Astrodome, Billie Jean King takes on Bobby Riggs in "The Battle of the Sexes," defeating him 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 in front of a 30,000-plus crowd, and a television audience of 48 million.
- 1988 German Steffi Graff wins the Golden Slam: all four Grand Slam titles plus an Olympic Gold Medal.
- 1996 Disrupting the prestigious Wimbledon, a woman dressed only in an apron streaks past Malivai Washington and Richard Krajicek across the tournament's Centre Court.
- A regulation tennis court measures 78-feet long by 27-feet wide.
- A ball's diameter must measure no more than two-and-a-half-inches and no less than two-and-five-eighths inches. The ball must weigh more than two ounces, but less than two-and-one-sixteenths ounce.
In The Game
- 40 is the highest score in a tennis game before it's won.
- The Australian Open boasts more than 3,900 staff members, 320 umpires, 235 ball kids, 212 courtesy car drivers, 65 statisticians, 1,264 media from 42 countries... and sees northward of 300,000 Heinekens consumed by fans.
- At the 2002 U.S. Open, fans devoured 17,927 Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
- At Wimbledon, spectators consume more than 55,000 pounds of strawberries and 2,000 gallons of cream. On the court, the playing height of grass measures 8mm (or .31 inches) and 2,600 dozen tennis balls are used during the main draw.
- The U.S. Open prize money in 2003 totaled $17,074,000.
- The fastest serve ever at Wimbledon clocked in at 144 miles per hour, and was hit by American Taylor Dent in 2001.
- The WTA Tour has more than 1,100 players representing 76 nations competing for more than $58 million in prize money at the Tournament's 59 events in 31 countries.
- The ATP runs 64 Tournaments in 30 countries.
And Off the Court
- Andre Agassi's eighth annual Grand Slam for Children, benefiting the Andre Agassi Children's Foundation, raised $12.6 million in 2003.
- A boxed set of Serena and Venus Williams dolls, manufactured in 2000, currently sells for $179.99.