A brief history of sport in Australia
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A brief history of sport in Australia
Australia’s sporting culture is deeply affected by history as a British colony formed. Early colonizers from Britain and Ireland transported with them attitudes and views about sport, and they also transported with them the games which were popular in Britain.
What is tennis?
Tennis is a sport which played on a rectangular court by two players or two pairs of players armed with rackets, in which a ball is driven back and forth over a low net that divides the court in half.
History of tennis
Tennis became popular as a public game from its arrival in Australia in the late 1870s, and courts sprang up everywhere in community and private grounds. It was a game that was taken up enthusiastically by both men and women, both for fun and as an elite sport. Since 1900, Australian men and women tennis players have been classified as some of the world\'s best.
Australia\'s first international champion was Norm Brookes who was the first Australian to win the Wimbledon Singles titles in 1907. In the same year Brookes was the first outsider to break the dominance of the UK and USA with his win in the Doubles of the Davis Cup, the international men\'s championship. Australia then hosted international championship events in 1908 and Brookes went on to dominate tennis administration in Australia for the next 50 years.
Across the four major Open titles, known as Grand Slam tournaments – the Australian, French and United States Open and Wimbledon, UK – there have been five Australian Grand Slam winners. The first Grand Slam winners were Ken McGregor and Frank Sedgman for the Doubles in 1951. Rod Laver, who won it twice, in 1962 and 1969, is arguably the greatest tennis player in the world. Margaret Court also won all four tournaments in one year when she completed the Grand Slam in 1970, one of only three women in the world to achieve this.
From its early days, tennis was extremely popular with women in Australia even though there was no financial support for them to travel to overseas tournaments. Never-the-less, with fund raising, made the finals of Wimbledon in 1928. In 1938, Nancy Bolton became the first Australian woman to play in a US Championship final when she was 22. Lesley Bowrey was the first Australian women to win two French Open singles titles in 1963 and 1964, and the Mixed Doubles at Wimbledon in 1961 and 1967.
From the 1920s onwards, there was such an increased demand for tennis racquets, balls and equipment that an Australian industry began exporting to both the UK and USA in the 1930s. The images of well-known players were featured on Australian made racquets which made their way into overseas markets. This arrangement of sporting companies endorsing players helped support the amateur status of Australian players competing in the Davis Cup and Grand Slam tournaments until 1969.
Australian players ruled the world amateur tournaments until the 1960s. In 1969 a wider group of players could contest when the Grand Slam tournaments consented to permit professionals and amateur players. Still, even after Australia\'s domination of world tennis was broken in the 1960s, tennis stayed popular as a sport for both contributors and audiences. Australian tennis troops hold their own world archives for watching single live tennis games.
Tennis fashion – a fashionable freedom
The deficiency of an identified uniform in tennis has given players a fashionable freedom. In the 1800s, players generally dressed white clothing as it reversed the heat. Men would dress long trousers and a shirt which was long sleeved but could be rolled up to the elbow, and a hat or cricket cap would accompany the outfit. Women wore an everyday dress (ankle length) complete with petticoat, stockings, a corset, and a wide-brimmed hat.
Ultimately fashions started to change and men dressed short sleeved shirts and shorts, with women wearing lighter cotton dresses without the stockings and corset. These changes however were not always met with encouragement.
At Wimbledon in 1905, the US player May Sutton swapped the popular tight sleeved blouses for her father\'s button-up shirt and shocked the crowd when she rolled her sleeves up. Sutton went on to win the women\'s Singles. During the 1920s, the French champion Suzanne Lenglen shortened her skirt to mid-calf and
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