Tennis is a racquet sport that can be played individually against a single opponent (singles) or between two teams of two players each (doubles).
Each player uses a racquet that is strung with cord to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over or around a net and into the opponent's court. The object of the game is to play the ball in such a way that the opponent is not able to play a good return. The opponent who is unable to return the ball will not gain a point, while the opposite opponent will.
Tennis is played by millions of recreational players and is also a popular worldwide spectator sport. The four Grand Slamtournaments (also referred to as the "Majors") are especially popular: the Australian Open played on hard courts, the French Open played on red clay courts, Wimbledon played on grass courts, and the US Open played also on hard courts.
Historians believe that the game's ancient origin lay in 12th century northern France, where a ball was struck with the palm of the hand.
Between 1859 and 1865 Harry Gem and his friend Augurio Perera developed a game that combined elements of racquets and the Basque ball gamepelota, which they played on Perera's croquet lawn in Birmingham, England, United Kingdom. In 1872, along with two local doctors, they founded the world's first tennis club in Leamington Spa.