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Roger Federer @ BNP Paribas 2012 Open vs Federer. Credit: Mike McCune from Portland (CC BY 2.0)

The origins of tennis can be traced to a 12th–13th-century handball game called jeu de paume (“game of the palm”), played in the monastic cloisters in northern France. One day about a century later, someone ingeniously suggested keeping score with a device that was already sitting right there in the room - a clock. The game was scored by moving the hands to 15, 30 and 45 minutes.

Though the 45—for reasons unknown—later became a 40, this traditional scoring scheme has been used ever since.

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