Trivia - the ultimate compilation of interesting tennis facts

Here at Sportch we’ve pulled together the ultimate compilation of interesting tennis facts and trivia.

1. The shortest ever grand slam final was 34 minutes – in the 1988 French Open final, Steffi Graf demolished Natasha Zvereva 6-0, 6-0 in a completely one-sided match.

2. The youngest player ever to become number 1 in the world was 16 year-old Martina Hingis in 1997.

3. Maria Sharapova’s on-court grunt or shriek has been officially recorded at a volume as high as 101 decibels. That is louder than a motorcycle, a lawnmower and a small aircraft landing. It is also about the same volume as an ambulance siren, and only five decibels quieter than a lions roar. And guess what, Sharapova is not even the loudest player! Michelle Larcher de Brito’s grunt has been recorded at 109 decibels.

4. Arthur Ashe was the first African American to win the US Open. He won the tournament for the first and the only time in 1968. His famous quote goes “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

5. The US Open was founded in 1881, the French in 1891, and the Australian in 1905. Together with Wimbledon (1877), these four major tournaments have been designated as “Grand Slam” tournaments.

6. A player is said to have won a Career Grand Slam if they win all four majors at any time during their career; a Non calendar-Year Grand Slam if they win the four majors consecutively, but not in the same year, and a Grand Slam if they win all four majors in a single year.

7. The longest tennis match took 11 hours and 5 minutes to complete. It was played between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut. Ultimately, John Isner triumphed with a score line of 6–4, 3–6, 6–7 (7–9), 7–6 (7–3), 70–68 (final set). John Isner served 113 aces in this historic match.

8. Tennis elbow is an inflammation of the tendons that join the forearm muscles on the outside of the elbow.

Facts about the rules and scoring in tennis

9. If an additional ball enters the court while a point is in progress, the point must be replayed.

10. If during a point, a player catches the ball or if the ball hits any part of a their body before it lands, the player forfeits the point (regardless of the ball’s position). In other words, the ball must hit the ground first for the ball to be ruled out before a player can catch it or stop it with his body.

11. If a doubles pair’s communication is audibly loud during a point, they forfeit the point.

12. If the serving player swings during the toss and misses the ball, it is considered a fault.

13. The term “Love” used in the scoring system of tennis is said to have originated from the French word for “egg,” l’oeuf, because a zero on a scoreboard resembles an egg. However, these claims are unsubstantiated.

14. The tiebreaker, or tiebreak, was invented by James Van Alen in 1965.

15. In 1971 the tiebreak was introduced in Wimbledon.

16. The French Open is the only major tournament to not use a tiebreak in the final set for singles.

Did you know?

17. Don Budge is the only male player in tennis history to have won six consecutive Grand Slam singles titles, from Wimbledon in 1937 to the US Open in 1938.

18. The fastest serve in men’s tennis came from the racket of Australian Sam Groth at 263.44 km/h.

19. Germany’s Sabine Lisicki hit a serve 210 km/h—the fastest ever recorded in women’s tennis.

20. The game of Tennis also became an indirect reason for the death of King James I of Scotland.

Whipped cream and strawberries served in a vintage glass with golden rim.

21. Players on the receiving side are allowed to stand anywhere during the serve except in the service box.

22. In the men’s game, Roger Federer has earned 20 Grand Slam singles titles (until January 28, 2018) while on the women’s side, Margaret Court has 24 singles majors. With 19 Grand Slam singles titles, Rafael Nadal stands second on the men’s list with the most singles Grand Slam titles. 

Wimbledon

23. Wimbledon, or the Wimbledon Championships, was founded in 1877 and is the oldest tennis tournament in the world

24. The inaugural Wimbledon Championship started on 9 July 1877 and Gentlemen’s Singles was the only event held. It was won by Spencer Gore, an old Harrovian rackets player, from a field of 22. About 200 spectators paid one shilling each to watch the final.

25. The average age of ball boys and girls who serve at Wimbledon is 15. Every year, 250 of these young kids are selected to serve at the tournament.

26. Rufus – a Harris Hawk – is stationed at Wimbledon to keep its sky clear of local pigeons. Rufus has more than 10000 followers on Twitter!

Rufus Hawk, ready for the 2016 season

27. Players must submit their clothing to the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club for approval before participating in the Wimbledon championships.

28. In 2007, the prize money for Wimbledon winners became equal for men and women.

29. Every year, 24 tons of strawberries are consumed during Wimbledon.

30. In the early years of Wimbledon, women wore full-length dresses.

31. At Wimbledon, the grass is cut to a height of exactly 8 mm during the event.

32. An estimated 54,250 tennis balls are used during Wimbledon each year.

Interesting facts about tennis balls, rackets and courts

33. One of our most interesting tennis facts is that the tennis ball is only in action (i.e. in a state of movement) for about 20 minutes in a standard 2.5 hour match.

34. As per The International Tennis Federation, the weight of a tennis ball must be between 56.0 and 59.4 grams.

35. Yellow tennis balls were introduced by Mike Davies in 1972 because they are more visible on (colour) television. Before then, tennis balls used were usually white in colour. In 1986, yellow balls were first introduced at Wimbledon.

ennis racket and ball placed on court ground.

36. The overall permissible length of a tennis racket is 29 inches.

37. Lawn tennis was originally played on an hour-glass shaped court with a net that was 4ft 8in high. A modern day net measures 3.5ft at the posts and 3ft in the middle. Rectangular courts were introduced in 1875 at Wimbledon.

38. A standard tennis court is 27 feet wide (for singles) and 78 feet long. The net is 3 feet, 6 inches high. For doubles, the width is 36 feet while the length remains the same.

39. Clay, Hard, Glass, Carpet, and Wood are the five types of court surfaces used in professional tennis.

Facts about players, matches and trophies

40. Roger Federer has hit over 12,000 aces to this day, placing him in the third spot on the list of most aces, while Ivo Karlovic tops the list with 13,599 aces.

41. Roger Federer leads all men’s tennis players in terms of the highest amount of career prize money. In 2020, he had collected over 130 million U.S. dollars.

42. Goran Ivanisevic is the only Wimbledon winner to have won having entered as a wildcard (in 2001). He is also the only winner whose name alternates consonants and vowels.

43. Boris Becker is the youngest player ever to win a Wimbledon title. He is also the only unseeded player in history to win the prestigious title. He was 17 years old in 1985 when he won it.

44. The shortest tennis match lasted a mere 20 minutes. It was played between Susan Tutt and Marion Bandy in 1969 at Wimbledon.

Court Philippe Chatrier of the French Open Grand Slam tournament.

45. Roland Garros which hosts the French Open, is named after a French aviator – Roland Garros.

46. The winner’s trophy at Wimbledon remains on display at the All England Club’s museum as winners do not take their trophies with them. However, they are given small replicas of the official trophies.

47. The golden cup given to the men’s winner  of Wimbledon dates back to 1887, while the trophy given to women, called the “salver”, dates back to 1864.

48. Tanking is a term in tennis for losing a match or “fixing” it for some benefit.

49. Jimmy Connors won the US Open on three different surfaces – grass at Forest Hills in 1974, clay at Forest Hills in 1976, and hard court in 1978 at Flushing Meadows.

50. In 1907, Austrian tennis player Mita Klima became the youngest player to have ever played at Wimbledon – aged 13 years old. Unfortunately, she lost in the first round.


We hope you enjoyed our interesting tennis facts! We’ll be sure to add more as we hear them.