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Tennis as the modern sport can be dated to two separate roots. Between 1859 and 1865, Major Harry Gem and his friend Augurio Perera developed a game that combined elements of rackets and the Basque ball game pelota, which they played on Perera's croquet lawn in Birmingham, England. In 1872, along with two local doctors, they founded the world's first tennis club in Leamington Spa. The Courier of 23 July 1884 recorded one of the first tennis tournaments, held in the grounds of Shrubland Hall.
In December 1873, Major Walter Clopton Wingfield designed a similar game — which he called sphairistike, and was soon known simply as "sticky" — for the amusement of his guests at a garden party on his estate of Nantclwyd, in Llanelidan, Wales. He based the game on the older sport of indoor tennis or real tennis. According to most tennis historians, modern tennis terminology also derives from this period, as Wingfield borrowed both the name and much of the French vocabulary of real tennis and applied them to his new game.