10 Places to Get in the Wimbledon Spirit - Atlas Obscura Lists

10 Places to Get in the Wimbledon Spirit

A tour of all things tennis, from famous rackets to hidden courts to wax figures.

Historians believe the origins of tennis date back to the 12th century. Inside monastic cloisters in northern France, players would smack balls back and forth, using their hands instead of rackets. The early sport was appropriately called  jeu de paume, “game of the palm.” 

Rackets were introduced to the sport in the 16th century in Europe, in a form of tennis now referred to as “real tennis” or “royal tennis,” which is played indoors with a solid ball like the ones used in cricket. The tennis we know today was an offshoot of the sport that came about in Wales in December of 1873. This variation was called sphairistike, or “lawn tennis.”

As the name implies, lawn tennis is traditionally played on grass. While many players have diverted to courts of clay or concrete, today, Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam tennis tournament still played on grass

Whether you’re an avid tennis player, a super fan, or just working on your backhand, get inspiration for the sport by taking a tour of these places celebrating all things tennis.