The history of tennis in the countries of the Czech Crown
Games similar to tennis came to our country about in the middle of the 17.century, probably from Germany. It shows such as The ball room of Prague Castle and even a signboard a tone house in Jilská street, crossed rackets and a few balls.
The modern history starts at around 1870s, when there was appeard in the Austro-Hungarian press the first mention of the game, especially in the Spa´s press. Great article lawn tennis came out in April 1880, and by the end of the 1880s we can count a number of articles, including the publication of the rules. Tennis courts are founded not only on provate land, but also in public places. Not only in Prague but also in Teplice, Litoměřice or Plzeň and in Moravia. ¨
It was all German clubs, even if the truth is that the first officially registered club was 1.ČLTK in 1895. On the submitted by the statutes they started that was founded in 1891. At the same time , there were a number of German clubs in Prague. The leader among them was Lawn Tennis Prag(not to be confused with LTC Prague based on Letná), which was tasked with organizing the official 1. The Austrian Lawn Tennis Tournament in Autumn 1894 on Jewish Island in Prague.
The Prague German clubs were among the founding members of the Lawn Tennis Verband in 1902. Czech clubs hav set up their own Lawn Tennis Association in 1906.This competitivenus culminated in boycotting the Czech players in the years 1906-1910.
At the end of the 19.century were among the best players in particular members of the nobility. On the international stage they prevait at first 2 women, Prague –born Hedviga Rosenbaum and a player from Plzeň Hermina Kaslerová. More successful was Rosenbaum, which in 1899 and 1900 won German Championship in Berlin, whenthe participation of more than 10 players from all over the Europe. Her biggest success was the profit of two third places at the II.Sum
mer Olympics in Paris in 1900 in the singles and mixed doubles.
In the year 1897 is already issued for the whole calendar Austria-Hungary, clubs confront each other in friendly matches all over the Bohemia and Moravia.
What for Czech tennis and sports diplomacy meant Josef Rossler – Orovský , for the German part of the population meant Siegfried Rosenbaum a tireless organizer, and thanks to his work (the editor of thesports section of the journal Prager Tagblatt) and great connoisseur of sports, especially tennis . Among the other personalities in our tennis belongs Josef Cifka, co-founder of the 1. ČLTK, excellent player and promoter of tennis and also baron Alfred Ringhofer, founder of the Deutscher Lawn Tennis Verband in the newly created Czechoslovakia, also an excellent player and especially the patron of yound players.
After 1900 year, the second generation of our players grows up who promotes accross Central Europe. Among the Czechs are Hykš, Hammer brothers and Žemla brothers, from German mainly Kinzel and Wesely. In 1918 arises after the end of the World Wart I. The Czech Republic and now sits in 1919 ČSLTA at its inaugural meeting, and sets out the conditions of its operation. On the Executive Commitee are fairly represented by the number of inhabitants of all nationalities. In 1920, The German Lawn Tennis Verband, which develops its own international relations.However it is part of ČSLTA and it must be placed on all documents and all negotiations.
Since 1921, the new republic participated in the struggles of the Davis Cup with mixed success. In 1920 are beginning to appear the first Czech producers of tennis rockets, you can read about them in the section of the Producers of the Czech Republic.
The top ten players of 1920s were Koželuh brothers, especially Karel, Jan and Josef, Alfred Ringhofer helped them on the international scene. Karel Became 7 times the World Champion of proffessionals in line and with his brother Josef took over several times doubles. Jan, the only amateur in the family , was in the years 1925-1928 national champion and one of the 10 world´s best player.
Over the next decade was the king of Czechoslovak tennis German Roderich Menzel from Liberec, the world´s top ten player and a finalist of International Championship of France in Paris 1938. Our second player become from Žilina native Ladislav Hecht, he was among the leading Europian
players and doubles semifinalist at Wimbledon 1937 (with Menzel).
Among them i insinuated himself in the late 1930s young Jaroslav Drobný. After the departure of Menzel in 1938 to Germany and Hecht´s emmigrating to The USA before nazism, Drobný became ouf number one for ten years. Unfortunately, picked up the best years the World War II.. Right after he got into the world top ten players. Unfortunately for us, the biggest successes followed after his emmigration before communist régime. As the first Czech player he won one of the Grand Slam tournament and that in 1951 International CHampionship of France in Paris. He defended his title the following year. His greatest achievment was the victory at Wimbledon in 1954. More about these player you can read in the section of the Czech tennis legends.
Czech Tennis in Austria-Hungary, later Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic had since 1890s to the present days, always at least one player in the world top ten. It´s the balance in world of sport, not only in tennis totally unique.