International Tennis Day Date in the current year: June 20, 2024

International Tennis Day Tennis is one of the most widely played sports in the world, so it is not surprising that there are not one, but two holidays celebrating it: World Tennis Day is observed on the first Monday of March, while International Tennis Day always falls on June 20. The catch is that the two holidays celebrate different kinds of tennis.

Tennis is a racket sport where players use a racket to strike a ball over or around the net into the opponent’s court. It has evolved from a French ball-and-court game named jeu de paume (“palm game” or “game of the hand”). Just like its name implies, jeu de paume did not involve rackets; players used their hands to hit the ball.

Paddles that eventually evolved into rackets came into use in the 16th century and became standard equipment by the late 17th century. The game became popular in England, where it began to be called “tennis”. This “old” version of tennis was only played indoors, where the ball could be hit off the wall.

The modern version of tennis evolved in the 19th century. It became known as lawn tennis or simply tennis, whereas the original version of the game came to be called real tennis or court tennis. Today, lawn tennis is the “default” kind of tennis, but its predecessor hasn’t been completely forgotten. Real tennis is still played by enthusiasts around the globe. Currently there are more than four dozen active real tennis courts in Australia, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as a number of disused courts in other countries.

International Tennis Day was founded in 2014 by the United States Court Tennis Preservation Organization (USCTPF), an organization that works to strengthen real tennis in the United States by building new courts, restoring historic facilities, and rejuvenating under-utilized courts. The celebration is directed by the United States Court Tennis Association (USCTA) and supported by other national court tennis governing bodies and associations around the world.

The date of International Tennis Day, June 20, was suggested by US-based squash and tennis historian James Zug to commemorate the Tennis Court Oath (Serment du Jeu de Paume), a notable event of the French Revolution. On June 20, 1789, members of the French Third Estate (in other words, commoners) congregated in an indoor tennis court near the Palace of Versailles and took an oath asserting that political authority derived from the people of France and their representatives.

The main goal of International Tennis Day is to raise the profile of the game of real tennis, motivate current players, and encourage people who have never played court tennis before to give it a try. On and around June 20, tennis clubs, schools, and other stakeholders around the globe organize matches, tournaments, workshops, demonstrations, parties, and other events to promote the game of court tennis, as well as spread the world about the holiday on social media with the hashtags #iTennisDay and #InternationalTennisDay.

International Tennis Day should not be confused with World Tennis Day. The latter, as we’ve already mentioned above, is celebrated on the first Monday of March. It was established by the International Tennis Federation to celebrate its founding anniversary. World Tennis Day celebrates lawn tennis, whereas International Tennis Day focuses on real tennis.

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