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Tennis is a popular sport that is played worldwide by either two single players or two sets of two players. The variation that involves two single players is called singles and the variation that involves two sets of partners is called doubles. IIsn each case, players gather on a regulation sized, rectangular court that is a flat surface with white lines painted on it. In the middle of the court there is a net that is about 91 cm high. Each player stands on either side of the net and hits a bouncing yellow ball across the net with a racquet, while keeping the ball within the painted lines.
Tennis is said to have originated in England in the late 1900's. Tennis was originally played on grass lawns and was called lawn tennis. Although tennis has not changed significantly since its origins, the game is now considered to be more accessible to players of all ages and backgrounds, whereas in the past it was enjoyed primarily by the high class.
Tennis is both a huge recreational sport that attracts millions of amateur players, and an extremely popular spectator sport, rivaling football as one of the most popular sports in many nations. As far as the rules go, many of the rules that the game was played by in the late 1800's remain the same today. One notable exception to the rules is an electronic line calling system which allows professional players in large tournaments to challenge a certain number of line calls. Each player is afforded a certain number of challenges to use at a point of their discretion during a match.
The scoring system of tennis is quite unique. It was designed so that certain points, while having identical values, would be more important than other points. This creates a situation where pressure increases and decreases at different points throughout the match. Additionally, points are split into games, games are split into sets, and matches are made up of a number of sets. A player cannot win a game without winning at least two points in a row. Another rule that has changed since the early days of tennis is the tiebreak. The tiebreaker was created to shorten matches that could conceivably go on forever. If in a set, both players each reach six games apiece, a tiebreaker will decide the winner of the set. Instead of continuing with normal games, this 13th tiebreak game is final, thus shortening potentially endless tennis matches considerably.