History of Tennis


This blog was originally posted on Jonathan Nadler’s website here.

While there is some debate as to the origins of tennis, historians generally concur that the crude origins of tennis took place in northern France during the 12th century.  Back then, the ball was struck with the palm of the hand and called, “jeu de paume,” meaning, “game of the palm.”  Louis X of France was extremely fond of this game, and he is considered to be the first individual to have a version of today’s modern tennis courts created indoors.  This indoor court design caught on and spread throughout Europe, and Louis X is widely considered to be the first tennis player in history to be known by name.  However, others debate that King Charles V of France was the first known player.

The development of tennis took some time, as it was not until sometime during the 16th century that the use of racquets became commonplace and they began to refer to the game by the name of tennis.  This name stems from a French term, “tenez,” which, when translated, means “hold,” “receive,” or “take,” which was a  commonly used term between players.  The game was extremely popular throughout England and France, but was primarily played indoors and the ball was hit off of the walls.  Despite the sport’s developments into the game we know today, the aforementioned version is known as, “real tennis.”

The game began to develop differently in various areas throughout Europe, and allegedly the game was begun in the U.S by socialites who, while on vacation, had witnessed British army officers play the game.  These socialites set up a tennis court at the Staten Island Cricket Club, which was ultimately the location of the first ever American National Championship of tennis, played in 1880.  Originally, different racquet clubs had different rules/standards for the game.  For example, in Boston, the ball used was larger than the tennis balls used in New York.  On May 21, 1881 the United States National Lawn Tennis Association, which has since become the United States Tennis Association, was created in order to lay out the standardized rules and regulations for the game.  The first U.S. National Men’s Singles Championship was held in 1881 in Newport, Rhode Island.

Tennis has come a long way since then, and is still an incredible, energetic game that is played all over the world.


Similarities Between Tennis and NASCAR


This blog was originally posted on Jonathan Nadler’s website here.

This article is a summary of, “How Tennis Is Becoming More Like NASCAR,” written by Merlisa Lawrence Corbett. To read the full article, click here.

On the surface, professional tennis and NASCAR could not seem more different. Tennis requires a player, a racquet and a ball; NASCAR requires a driver, and a stock car.

But when one delves beneath the act of playing the sport itself, the two become more alike.

One major similarity between the two is individual sponsorships. Sponsorships have always been a huge part of NASCAR. Players start to become associated with the brands, such as Jeff Gordon and Dupont. Recently, tennis players  have joined this sponsorship bandwagon. Professional tennis players are usually representing two to four brands every time they step on the court. When Li Na won the 2014 Australian Open, she accepted her trophy while sporting a Nike shirt with a Mercedes Benz logo. People should definitely expect to see more brands associated with professional tennis players in the future.

Each player has their own team as well. NASCAR drivers have their pit crews, and tennis players have their coach, trainer, physical therapist, and psychologist.

The sports both have a points system that allows qualifying athletes to compete in competitions at the end of each year. In professional tennis, these competitions are known as Year End Championships. In NASCAR, if an athlete qualifies, they will be competing in the Race for the Cup.

Both NASCAR and professional tennis have a few stand out athletes that receive most of the attention. Players like Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Maria Sharapova and drivers like Jeff Gordon, and Jimmie Johnson are the ones who are featured in commercials, and get the best sponsorships. Often times, other athletes struggle to afford travel expenses.

The two sports really start their season with one main event. The Australian Open acts as an unofficial beginning to the new tennis season just as the Daytona 500 marks the beginning of the NASCAR season.

Another similarity between the two is – the season seems to last all year. In fact, the WTA tour lasts from January to October. This is similar in NASCAR. When one season ends, the next season begins. Many fans and players find the length of these seasons excessive.

New Film Recounts Tennis Match and the Fight for Women’s Rights


This blog was originally posted on Jonathan Nadler’s website here.

The struggle for women’s rights was marked by several high points, but few could be considered as pivotal as a sporting event that took place in September 1973. This exhibition tennis match between the legendary Bobby Riggs and women’s champion Billie Jean King is the topic of a major motion picture that was recently released and is appropriately titled “Battle of the Sexes.”

The film features Steve Carell, known primarily as a comic actor, and Emma Stone, who is fresh off her win of an Academy Award for “La La Land” and is today the world’s highest-paid actress. In terms of their ages, the two stars are an almost exact match for the two athletes at the time, with 55-year-old Riggs facing off against 29-year-old King. However, Stone had to consume high-calorie protein drinks to gain the weight needed for her to physically resemble the tennis star.

Played in Houston, the match was seen by an estimated 50 million television viewers throughout the world. King took the match 6-4, 6-3 and 6-3, and also won the prize of $100,000. The movie recounts the game, the struggles of King, of women athletes and of women in general. King’s situation was not helped by the attitude of Riggs, who once stated that women belonged “in the bedroom and the kitchen,” adding that these responsibilities should be dealt with “in that order.”

Stone had little experience in the game of tennis and needed help from both King and professional coach Vince Spadea. King spent plenty of time discussing the basics of the game with Stone at the final women’s match of the U.S. Open and lauded the young actress for her “amazing” performance, which she said captured both her “essence” and her “vulnerability” when she was a young athlete. Stone noted that, in addition to being entertaining, King’s victory over Riggs had some positive effects on the issue of gender equality. The event also helped to promote the game of tennis in general.

The battle for equality has moved into other areas, with the emphasis today on equal opportunity and equal pay. Quoting a recent study, King noted that women are today less likely than men to me hired and promoted for their potential to be successful. Sexism is still present in the field of sports, with tennis star John McEnroe recently stating that women’s champion Serena Williams might be ranked 700th as a male player.

King emphasized that female superiority was never an issue, noting that women never claimed to be better at tennis than men. Women were superior, at least on that late summer day in 1973.

What’s the Likelihood that the Eagles Will Win the Super Bowl?


This blog was originally posted BEFORE the Super Bowl on Jonathan Nadler’s         website here.


There was a time when the Philadelphia Eagles were considered to be the favorite to win the Super Bowl, but that all changed when quarterback Carson Wentz got injured against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 14. The team still finished with the best record in the NFL, but the odds of Philadelphia reaching its first Super Bowl victory are significantly less than they were a few weeks ago.

The quarterback is easily the most important position on the football field, and the Eagles now have a huge question mark at the position. The previously unstoppable Philadelphia offense has consistently struggled with Nick Foles as the starting quarterback. They even got shutout by the Dallas Cowboys in the final week of the regular season. Foles will have to step up his play if the Eagles want to compete in the playoffs.

After getting a bye in the first week of the playoffs, the Eagles will start their journey to the Super Bowl with a game against the Atlanta Falcons. While this is not the same team that made the Super Bowl last year, Atlanta is playing really well at the moment. The Eagles have the distinction of being the first top seed in NFL history to enter the Divisional Round as underdogs, but this is undoubtedly going to be a close game. The Eagles can pull off a narrow victory with a decent game from Nick Foles.

The most significant problem for the Eagles will come if they advance to the NFC Championship round. Whether they play the New Orleans Saints or Minnesota Vikings, the Eagles will be big underdogs. Unless Foles transforms into an entirely different quarterback in the playoffs, it is hard to see Philadelphia beating either of these two teams. It would have been a tough win even if they still had a healthy Carson Wentz.

While everything can change in an instant in the NFL, the Philadelphia Eagles have virtually no shot to win the Super Bowl right now. They would have to pull off three big upsets to hoist the trophy. Escaping the NFC is going to be extremely difficult, but the path to a championship would only get harder with a game against the New England Patriots or Pittsburgh Steelers. The Eagles just do not have enough talent to win three big playoff games without a great quarterback.

Andy Murray Late to Meet the Prince


This blog was originally posted on Jonathan Nadler’s website here.

It was a big day for professional tennis player, Andy Murray.  Early int he morning, he was preparing to hop in a cab at 8:30 am to travel to meet Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge.  However, a slight hurdle was thrown in his path, when before he could get out the door, an unexpected visitor showed up at his door.

recent article discusses how Andy Murray’s schedule was thrown by the issuing of a random drug test that same morning, just minutes before he was supposed to be on his way to his formal meeting with the Duke.  Ever the good sport, Murray tweeted, “In the middle of a drug test hahaha I’m goin to be late!!!” according to the article.

Murray explained to reporters that he was completely unaware of the drug test being that day.  While he has had to take them before, being a professional athlete, it was almost comical that the day for the random test had to be the day he had such big plans.

“It’s part of the job,” Murray said, “but when you have a day like today you are looking forward to, it’s the last thing you need.”

Murray hurriedly carried out the drug test and departed immediately for Buckingham Palace, where he was honored by Prince William with a medal declaring him an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.

It would seem that Andy Murray is not the only professional athlete to be faced with a random drug test while in the middle of an important or personal event.  This same article noted that the professional skier Lindsey Vonn was confronted with a, “random,” drug test while she was at a formal gala.  Similarly, Olympic hurdler and bobsledder, Lolo Jones, was approached for a drug test right in the middle of her own birthday party.

Looking at situations like these, its hard to wonder how, “random,” these situations really are.  Then again, as a professional athlete, you’re always on the job, and for someone like them, random days may coincide with bigger events than the rest of us face in our day-to-day.

Is The Pro Tennis Season Too Long?


This blog post was originally published on Jonathan Nadler’s website here.


This article is a summary of, “It’s Called a Season; It Lasts 11 Months,” written by Juliet Macur. To read the full article, click here.

The season unofficially begins with the Australian Open in January, and continues on for eleven months. For the players this means traveling, training, playing, and inescapable injuries. This eleven month season is physically and emotionally taxing on the athletes.

Rafael Nadal said, “You can’t make your body go to the limit for the whole year. It’s just not possible.”

The players do not have enough recovery time. They are not able to heal their injuries or recharge their bodies. Instead of responding to the pain in an appropriate fashion, e.g., rest, and relaxation, these players are suffering through it.

“Because of it, we will all have to retire when we are young,” said Nadal.

Jim Courier had to retire at age 29 due to sheer exhaustion, “If I had been given a proper schedule and stopped the season in October, could have played three, four or five years more.”

Many people attribute the increase of injuries to the increase in the speed of the game.

Since there have been significant increases in racquet technology, these racquets allow players to hit the ball at a fast-pace even when they are not trying too hard.

Twenty years ago, a hard-hit ground stroke was usually 60 to 70 miles per hour for men. For women, it was usually 50 to 60 miles per hour. Today, hard-hit ground strokes are often 90 to 100 miles per hour for men and 80 to 90 miles per hour for women.

Shoulder, knee, ankle, hip, pelvis and back injuries are all prevalent in professional tennis these days. Twenty years ago, the most common injury in professional tennis was tendonitis.

At this rate, professional tennis will be losing many key players too soon. If the schedule could somehow be changed, this may be able to be stopped. Like Courier said, “You’d rather change the schedule and, for the good of the game, see iconic players stick around longer, wouldn’t you?

Tips to Improve Your Tennis Game


This blog was originally posted on Jonathan Nadler’s website here.


Tennis is a great sport.  Not only is it great exercise, but it allows you can play it indoors or outdoors and it is a great deal of fun.  Although a somewhat simple game, it takes extreme hand-eye coordination and a great deal of fine-tuning your skill in order to improve at tennis.  Here are some of the easiest, but most effective ways to improve your tennis games and feel more confident on the court!

1.  Be ready for the ball:  Sounds like common sense, and it is, in a way.  But you can never be too early for squaring up your stance for the oncoming ball.  Get your hips and shoulders rotated back before the ball whizzes past you and get your racquet pulled back, ready to return.

2. Follow ALLLL The way through: You have probably heard that follow through, in any sport, is important.  But in really exaggerating your follow through, you can really take control of the game.  Move your feet, move your arms, twist your torso, and really hit the ball back with your entire body.

3. One bounce only:  Even if you’re just playing a casual volley with a friend, you should keep the rule in your mind that the ball can only bounce once.  Even if you think you have no possible chance of returning that shot, you should run for that ball! Chances are, you’ll end up returning those shots you never thought were possible, and your game will start to improve.

4.  Be Ready for Return:  So many players will make an incredible shot, only to stand back like a spectator and admire their awesome shot.  It is so important to get back into position after every shot.  You have to be ready for them to return your shot so you can keep up with the volley.  Recover immediately after your shot- you will find yourself returning more and more and making better shots over time.

For more easy tennis tips, check out this article, which was the inspiration for this post.