From The History of Tennis Tournaments
The origins of tennis game, as any other game of racket and ball, are traditionally credited to 11th or 12th century French game paume which was played with the hand and later advanced into jeu be paume with the use of rackets. By the 14th century the game became so popular, both the Pope and Louis IV tried to ban it unsuccessfully. Tennis soon spread to England, where it obtained the "royal game" title. Both Henry VII and Henry VIII were keen players who ensured the building of more courts. One of them, Hampton Court, built in 1625, is still used today.
The first tennis championship was held in 1877 in Wimbledon, and is still considered the most prestigious one. US Open came into being a while later in 1881. Now there are four Grand Slam tennis tournaments: US Open, French Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon.
Walter Clopton Wingfield is usually given credit for the invention of modern tennis. He actually patented the game in 1874, pronounced a new set of rules and moved tennis from indoors to outdoors. The same year first tennis courts appeared in the United States, and shortly after that in Russia, India, Canada and China. 39 major tennis tournaments were held in the past year worldwide with over 78 000 tournament tickets sold.
Sony Ericsson Open was founded in 1985 by a tennis player Butch Buchholz with the aim to make it number one tennis tournament of the year, or at least second after Wimbledon. His attempt failed, although this championship is considered to be the 5th most important tennis event of the year. It is traditionally held in Florida in March-April, the prize money is $9 million, and Sony Ericsson tennis tickets can cost up to $2000.