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Birth of Tennis (1874-1910)

More an evolution than an invention, lawn tennis originated from court tennis, a game played in medieval monasteries and other walled spaces. Major Walter Clopton Wingfield, a retired British Army Officer, obtained a provisional patent for his invention of a portable court for playing tennis in 1874. Soon thereafter the game spread around the world.

In 1877, Wimbledon hosted its first championship, and in 1881 the first U.S. National Championship was contested here at the Newport Casino. Tournaments sprang up around the globe, and tennis was an original sport in the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. In the early decades of the new century, tennis enjoyed widespread popularity.

1882 United States National Lawn Tennis Association U.S. National Championships First Prize for Pairs presented to James Dwight
1885 United States National Lawn Tennis Association Men’s Singles Championship Trophy presented to Dick Sears
1885 Championships of Scotland Gentlemen’s Doubles Championship Trophy
1887-1898 Wissahickon Cup for the United States National Lawn Tennis Association U.S. National Women’s Singles Championship Challenge Trophy
1890-1901 United States National Lawn Tennis Association U.S. National Pairs Championship Challenge Trophy
1904-1923 Surrey Championships Ladies’ Singles Challenge Trophy
1898-1901 The Magnolia Men’s Singles Challenge Cup
1906 Orange Lawn Tennis Club Middle States Championships Men’s Doubles Runners-Up Trophy presented to Theodore Pell
1906-1908 Coronado Country Club California Ladies’ Challenge Trophy presented to May Sutton