Tennis exists for a long time now, since the reign of Henry VIII who built a tennis court at Hampton Court in 1530, which still survives today. However, in England women started playing the game later, in the last third of the nineteenth century when the Lawn Tennis Association was founded. At that time, tennis was a popular middle class entertainment.
Most amateur female players wore ordinary summer outdoor outfits, playing tennis before afternoon tea. The only specific garments to aid play were aprons used to hold the tennis balls and to protect the dress below from grass stains, although occasionally a ball pocket would be incorporated into an over-tunic. Straw boater-style hats, as worn on the coast or for yatching, were the preferred headwear, although bonnets and hats were also used.
Luckily, women’s tennis fashion has changed a lot. These outfits seem totally unpractical and uncomfortable. (source: Manchester Art Gallery)