Local Connection: The International Tennis Hall of Fame
Tennis is a sport enjoyed by millions of people today that originated in Europe in the 12thcentury. Tennis was considered an evolution of earlier lawn games such as croquet and bowls rather than a new invention, receiving its start in medieval monasteries and other walled spaces. In the 12thcentury Northern Europeans were playing a similar game to tennis involving bare hands sometimes covered with a glove used instead of a paddle. Eventually the glove became a paddle and then evolved into a “battoir”. The game was played in France and called Jeu De Paume.
The sport’s global expansion is credited to Major Walter Clopton Wingfield, a British Army officer who started playing tennis in 1874 and spread all over the world, including New England.
The International Tennis Hall of Fame is located in nearby Newport, Rhode Island a town famous for traditional lavish mansions. The Hall of Fame takes the place of the former Newport Casino, where Jimmy Van Alen turned into a tennis complex in 1954. New England is also the birthplace of basketball and volleyball, with the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA and the Volleyball Hall of Fame in Holyoke, MA.