The Language of Tennis
by Ossian Shine
Bagels, slices, open throats and chokers. Tennis terminology can be, at best, confusing and frequently simply bewildering to all but the most devoted ... Show synopsis Bagels, slices, open throats and chokers. Tennis terminology can be, at best, confusing and frequently simply bewildering to all but the most devoted of followers. Scratching beneath the surface, The Language of Tennis investigates and explains the origins of the sport's teminology, from it's genteel beginnings in the late 19th Century to it's multi-million dollar status today. Ossian Shine has compiled a rare dictionary drawing from the history and pre-history of the game as we know it. The modern game was developed in 1874 as a way to bring Real Tennis - a pastime requiring costly equipment - to the masses. Real Tennis itself has roots in the game of Jeu du Paume me which dates back to the fourteenth century. Shine's word list of 300 terms centres on the modern game, but its past keeps breaking through. The first attestation for deuce, for example, is 1598. Other words are of fresher growth. A seed, a player who has been seeded in a tournament draw, derives from the now obsolete sense of the verb "to seed", to stock with inhabitants. Sphairistike is the name Major Walter Clopton Wingfield chose to describe the game of lawn tennis when he applied, in 1874, to patent his "New and Improved Court for Playing the Ancient Game of Tennis". From the Greek "sphaira": ball. Wingfield quickly grew tired of the way the name was being abbreviated to "Sticky" and deemed "Lawn Tennis" are more appropriate description for his game. This is a book for anyone who has ever wondered from where did the sport get its name? Why is a player who has won nothing awarded a score of "love", and how can someone who has played "junk" prevail? These and hundreds more mysteries are revealed in "The Language of Tennis".