Tennis is a racket sport that can be played individually in singles competition or between two teams of two players each in a double’s competition.
Tennis was first played between 1859 and 1865 in Birmingham, England and was originated as ‘lawn tennis.’ It had close connections to various lawn sports like croquet and bowls however during most of the 19th century, the term ‘tennis’ referred to real tennis and not lawn tennis.
Tennis is an Olympic sport and has not undergone major change since the introduction of the sport in the 19th century. Two additions to the modern game of tennis that we’ve witnessed since its introduction is the adoption of the tiebreak in the 1970s, as well as the introduction of Hawk-Eye in 2005.
Hawk-Eye is an electronic review technology that allows a player to contest the line call of a point. It was passed in 2005 by the International Tennis Federation, who is Tennis’ highest governing body after several errors in Serena Williams’s quarter-final loss to Jennifer Capriati at the 2004 US Open.
Hawk-Eye has been lauded globally for its accuracy and dismissing any contentious umpire calls that remain an issue in other sports. It’s now an established part of the game and is regularly used in television coverage of the game’s major tournaments such as Wimbledon, the US Open, the Australian Open, the French Open and the Olympics.
Tennis is one of the world’s most popular sports and is played globally by millions of recreational players.
The History of Tennis’ Greatest Players
In any sport, you need trailblazers who do things in the sport nobody has seen before which ultimately drives up the popularity of the sport. You also need star players who affect the game on a global level. Tennis has had both and an abundance of them.
The likes of Billie-Jean King, Rod Laver, and Margaret Court were huge pioneers for the sport in the 1960s and 70s when Tennis became a more global game. We started to see much more diverse competition in professional tournaments in the Open era and this was a direct result of the effect of the aforementioned players.
Another staple in sport is the discussion on who’s the greatest. It’s a debate that’s always exciting to have due to the many different perspectives it has and the fact that it can never be quantified. However, there can be a ‘de-facto’ greatest built from the consensus opinions of the tennis world and its fans. Roger Federer, the 20-time Grand Slam winner is seen as the consensus greatest tennis player of all time; at least in the modern game.
Federer’s game is the most complete of any player that’s ever played, and he’s amassed more Grand Slams and World Tour Finals than any other male player. His greatest competitor in Rafael Nadal, who’s won 19 Grand Slam titles and is seen as the greatest fighter on the tennis court for his unrivaled never say die attitude and passion that he exerts when competing.
In the women’s game, that discussion is a touch more difficult. Margaret Court, a winner of 24 Grand Slam titles, the most of any man or woman in tennis is not seen as the consensus greatest of all time. The likes of Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova are correctly part of the discussion.
One woman who may surpass Court’s record and mystique once she retires is Serena Williams. Williams has won 23 Grand Slams and has unequivocally dominated women’s tennis since her first Grand Slam title in 1999. She’s cemented her status as one of the best tennis players of all time and one of the greatest athletes of her generation.
The global attract of Tennis continues to grow each day and while the sport will undoubtedly go through a rough patch when the likes of Federer, Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams in the not too distant future, there are always future tennis stars ready to take their place in tennis history.
How to Bet on Tennis: the Tennis Moneyline
Tennis betting is another straightforward betting sport with plenty of options that get more and more intricate. The most popular way to bet on tennis is through the moneyline, which is merely a way to choose which player (or team) is going to win and which team is going to lose in reference to $100.
If Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are playing at the French Open, you might see a line of Roger Federer +240 and Rafael Nadal -540. In this case, because the match is on clay, Roger Federer is the underdog as denoted by the plus (+) sign next to his name while Rafael Nadel is the favorite as denoted by the minus (-) sign next to his name. The numbers indicate how much you will get back in reference to $100. If you bet on the underdog Federer, and he somehow wins, you would get back $240 plus your original $100 bet. If you want to bet on the favorite Nadal, you would have to bet $540 in order to win $100.
The Tennis Over/Under or Tennis Total Games Played
There are other ways to bet on tennis including the fun tennis over/under, which takes a look at how many different games are going to be played. However, tennis betting can get really intricate with the tennis over/under (or tennis total games) because fans have to decide what type of match they expect. If the match is at a Grand Slam on the men’s side and the over/under games is set at 29.5, that should tell you the oddsmakers do not expect an even match.
The reason being, that total could easily hit (go over) in just three sets (6-4, 6-4, 6-4), so oddsmakers are expecting a quick match. Most of the time in later portions of slams, you will see a total in the 30s as the matches are usually more hotly contested. Remember, a major difference between the men’s and women’s draw is the men playing five sets in slams while the women will only ever play three sets at most. One last thing when discussing tennis betting; you can bet on the tennis total games by match, but also by individual set.
Betting on Tennis Spreads
While some like to bet on the moneyline and total games, other people like to bet on tennis spreads. Tennis spread betting is simply a bet as to which player is going to win by how many games. In this scenario, you might see something like “Federer -5.5 vs. Dominic Thiem.” In our scenario here, if you bet on Federer you are hoping for something like that (6-4, 6-4, 6-4) score from earlier because Federer would win this match by six, thus beating the spread.
Finally, in tennis it is important to remember that at the highest levels of the game, there are fewer upsets on the men’s side as Novak Djokovic, Federer, Nadal (and for a while Andy Murray) were in and winning pretty much every single one of the Grand Slams for the best decade. On the women’s side, the draw is much more open, especially with Serena Williams winding down her career while still looking for the elusive record-breaking Grand Slam victory.