Tennis Decorum

“Lawn tennis, rooted in the 16th-century game of royal courts and patented in England in 1874 by a retired army cavalry officer, was from the start bound up with notions of character-building. It was a means for the men and women of the English upper class and their American emulators in Boston, Philadelphia and Newport to not only while away summer afternoons (the mixing of the sexes itself requiring a certain decorum), but soon enough to also create competitions in which young men could learn and apply the physical and mental toughness, the robust stamina and self-restraint, that the Victorians saw as the embodiment of gentlemanliness. Players were to congratulate opponents on their winning shots and call any balls they hit near a line “in”; were to apologize when they won a point on a poorly struck ball; were to shake hands with a smile at the net after a match, win or (especially) lose.” – Gerald Marzorati [August 2011 NY Times Sunday Magazine]

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