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    Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #112982: Vocabulary: what about a little game of tennis...
    > Other English exercises on the same topics: Speaking | Find the word [Change theme]
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    Vocabulary: what about a little game of tennis...

    What about a game of tennis ?  It's the right time for it... The important tournaments have started and are arriving in our latitudes...

    Tennis , a typically British activity in its initial solemnity (and its complexity)  appeared in Birmingham, in England, at the end of the 19th century: it was lawn tennis ( lawn being another British speciality!... ) 

    The rules of the game are very precise; they may vary very slightly in the different countries where tennis is played also depending of the surface where the games are played. The weather has here a very important role!

    These rules have changed very little with time, except for two "details": 

    ·           - from 1908 to  1961, the server had to keep, at least, one foot on the ground. 

    ·           - In the 1970s a "tiebreaker" was introduced: (after a draw - at 6 games to six-  a12 point tiebreaker is used) ( minimum 7 points and 2 points difference)

    The chair umpire announces the scores (adding 15 at a time, first: 15 (15-0 = 15-love), 15-15, 15-30. Then 30- 40=> game OR 30-30= deuce, then  "advantage X or Y"  till one of the players wins the game. 

    The origin of this way of scoring would come from the French 'jeu de paume"! Others prefer the image of the clock and its quarters...(15-love , "deuce" = 2 points away from the game.) these are only suppositions, but funny ones!



    A set is won when one of the opponents reaches 6 games  with at least 2 games difference. The outcome of the match is determined after being three sets in a "best of five" for male players in a Grand Slam tournament, Davis Cup  and the Olympic games, and the best of 3 for all other tournaments.  

    Female players play the best of 3 sets in all cases. 


    In order to play correctly, you'd better get a racket or raquet, tennis balls, a net,  and, of course a court.  For singles (2 players), never use the Doubles sidelines, which are only played for Doubles (4 players). 




     1) The necessary equipment (or gear) and the main actors




    A (tennis) racket /raquet

        The grip (of the handle)
             A tennis shoe
              Ball boys/girls         The Line judges

                 The umpire on his chair          

     The tournament has a referee, coordinating the different umpires.


    2) The different surfaces you can play on: 




    a) "Real tennis"... lawn tennis: (Grass courts)

    The grass Court  is normally associated with the prestigious Wimbledon Championships, which take place in July. This surface is the fastest one and is quite slippery. The ball has a lower and unpredictable bounce as the soil is softer and not regular at all, thus favouring players with a good serve and net players  such as Roger Federer, Pete Sampras and John McEnroe.

    b) The Hard courts are made of concrete or synthetic material:

    They are commonly available courts and are easy to maintain. On those surfaces, the ball travels at a speed slower than on Grass Courts, but faster than Clay Courts. The bounce of the ball is high and predictable. They're referred to as the Democratic courts and favour all styles of play, from the "Serve and volley Player" to a Baseliner.


    c) Clay longs: the deep red coloured Clay Courts are synonymous with the French Open Championships. It's the slowest surface, as the clay slows down the speed of the ball, reduces its skid and causes a high bounce. A ball played by "hard hitters" makes it easier for the opponent to return the shot. Clay courts are favoured by baseline players who spin their balls : Michael Chang et Rafael Nadal.



    3) "The Big Tournaments"=> the Grand Slam:

    The Grand Slam Tournaments are composed of the Australian Open (mid-January), the Paris Open (in May and June), of Wimbledon, (in June and July) and of the US Open in August and September. Each tournament lasts two weeks. In Australia and in the United States, they're played on hard surfaces. The French tournament on clay, and Wimbledon on « grass ».


    When did they start? 

    Wimbledon : 1877, then The US Open : 1881, The French Open in 1891 and the Australian one in 1905. Before1924/25, Wimbledon only was an important tournament, the moment when the Grand Slam was created.


    4)  Introducing some shots:


     a serve= the starting stroke
     "fault" =a missed serve
     an ace = a winning serve "double fault" = Two faulty serves

     a dropshot = a light way of hitting the ball

    "serve and volley" = serve and volley

     a passing shot passes by the player
     a back spin = a sliced ball
     the warm-up= the final training a left-hander plays with his left hand
     the mark = (left by a ball) a bounce /to bounce


     4) Some world-known stars  thrill us thanks to the extraordinary performances they achieve during matches.


    All the champions below have been photographed in action by YA and JM (2 excellent classified and passionate players). Great thanks to them.

                      A lefthander's serve

                           A righthander's serve                 

                           RAFAEL NADAL                        ROGER FEDERER
                     Lefthanded forehand

                      Righthanded forehand             

                         RAFAEL NADAL                        Roger FEDERER

                      A lefthander's backhand                    

                              RAFAEL NADAL

                   A righthander backhand(2 hands)      

                     NOVAK DJOKOVIC ("Nole")

                A smash    RAFAEL NADAL

                     Backhand (with an only hand!)

                        STAN WAWRINSKA


                    Lefhanded forehand volley

                            RAFAEL NADAL

                  Righthanded forehand volley      

                       ROGER FEDERER


              Another lefthanded forehand volley      

                          RAFAEL NADAL

                Righthanded backhand volley

                          ROGER FEDERER

    Roger FEDERER  has won the greatest number of Grand Slam tournaments= 17.

    Rafael NADAL ("the King of Clay): has won 46 tournaments,  14 Grand Slam ones  (9 of which are Roland-Garros)

    Novak DJOKOVIC ("nole") has won 9 Grand Slam tournaments.

    Stan WAWRINKA has won 2 Grand Slam tournaments.

    Andy MURRAY has won 2 Grand Slam tournaments too. 

    Roland-Garros started this Saturday May 21st 2016 and it was said that 66,000 balls are used during the tournament! In your opinion, which of the two will win it ?






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    When Lucy arrived on the Suzanne Lenglen court, she was surprised to see all the , running and kneeling as for a very well orchestrated ballet; The height of the was checked. The players had quite a friendly warm-up together. Lucy liked this simple and clear game where you could see series of and executed with such perfect technical gestures. Suddenly, there was absolute silence: the players were concentrating and choosing the right , comparing weight, tension, and ,etc.

    When Rafa served, he did , and the supporters cheered. Lucy thought: 'Wow ! Why do I make so many ? Serving looks so easy!' The other player, Lucas, was right-handed and it was easier to observe his . There was bright sun, and the was protected by a huge dark green umbrella. Several times, he went down his chair to show a ball and speak to his ...
    At the end of the , the players' socks and were red with , although both had kept hitting them with their rackets. (Lucy loves doing that, even if she mostly trains on , mini ones, I mean!) This is what little girls, and future tennis champions are like! See you at a in a few years, Lucy !

    I hope you did great in the test! To thank you, here's a big smile: David FERRER's !


                                                                                                     ENJOY !

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