101 Things Birmingham Gave The World. No 1. Tennis

Tennis, invented in Birmingham

Ever climbed Murray mount, “come on Tim”, or knocked a sponge ball against a wall while grunting? Then you have Birmingham to thank for the gift of the only sport that doubles the price of a certain fruit for two weeks every year. Yes, Cliff Richards’s favourite game was invented not in the white trousered environs of the Wimbledon croquet club, but up a back street in Edgbaston not a high lob from the old Firebird pub.

The rules of modern lawn tennis were drawn up by Harry Gem and his friend Augurio Perera who developed a game that combined elements of rackets and the Basque ball game pelota. The rest is, for the English at least, a posh and annually disappointing story.


Author: Jon Bounds

Jon was voted the ‘14th Most Influential Person in the West Midlands’ in 2008. Subsequently he has not been placed. He’s been a football referee, venetian blind maker, cellar man, and a losing Labour council candidate: “No, no chance. A complete no-hoper” said a spoilt ballot. Jon wrote and directed the first ever piece of drama performed on Twitter when he persuaded a cast including MPs and journalists to give over their timelines to perform Twitpanto. But all that is behind him.

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