"real" tennis


I would like to try it out. Didn't think this was played any more. Only seen woodcuts and heard about this from high school history, the Tennis Court Oath of the French Revolution.


Hall of Fame
Real tennis is indeed played in England. There are however clubs in the US too and in fact the sport is probably bigger there now than in the UK in pure numbers terms, they call it "Court tennis" over in the US. Here is a link to the US association:

I've played several times on one of the few courts left, one of my father's friends actually built a court in an old barn of his once he retired, took him 9yrs! The hardest thing I found to deal with was the buttressed area. On the website above you can see the little spectator area, the origin of the term "dedans" I believe as they were "in" the court (in French). It's a great game, I find it in many ways more difficult than tennis as it's much more tactical, there is no real way to overpower or use spins to the huge advantage you can in tennis imo.

The racquets are all standard and I believe only 3 companies left make them. All the ones I have held/played are made by a company called Grays in the UK, they also make field hockey sticks if I remember correctly.

As an aside I used to play relatively frequently a game called "Rackets" in the UK. It's even more a mix of squash and tennis. The ball is made of wood wrapped in tape and the racquets are very similar to old tennis "woodies". It's a VERY fast game, the ball can get 4-5 walls sometimes in one shot. It's a strange motion as the racquet swing is slow but the game is fast, it's very confusing if you've played squash. Here you'll see some information:
http://www.tennisandrackets.com/. I used to play at Radley College under "schools" when I was younger a lot. There are very few photos of rackets courts for some reason, the only one I could find was this one (ignore grinning chap on left):

You can see the court on the right. That's the actual one I used to play on. Here there is another one:

What you can see here is that the "spectators" and the referee are a long way above the court (for safety). The referee must call "play" after every shot (for safety as he can see where the ball is) otherwise play stops. Getting hit with the ball is a big deal, think a squash ball but made of solid wood.

Cheers, Orig


Bionic Poster
Just what we need, another sport similar to tennis, squash, handball, and racketball....badminton, what else?
Since I only do tennis out of all the above, I'll stick to surfing, snowboarding, windsurfing, kiteboarding, and hittin' on the ladies.....:)


Still hittin on the ladies at 60 LeeD? lol Fair play if ya are.

Yeah, I read about this on Wiki once. I only play one sport at the moment and thats tennis. When I was younger I used to play football or as you americanos call it "soccer". I was a pretty good goalkeeper to be honest. Had good reactions and had a few honourable mentions in the paper.


Bionic Poster
Funny thing....
As adult males, we never lose the desire to hit on the ladies, not ever, not at 80. We gotta modify the ages of the prey, of course, and modify our techniques with advancing age.
Only with the modern concept of MARRIED, something I think was invented by a woman, do some of us try to refrain from man's natural instinct. Otherwise, single and free, almost anything with a skirt is fair game ....:shock::shock:


Just what we need, another sport similar to tennis, squash, handball, and racketball....badminton, what else?
Since I only do tennis out of all the above, I'll stick to surfing, snowboarding, windsurfing, kiteboarding, and hittin' on the ladies.....:)
i hope you realize the game tennis as we know it originated from "real tennis".


Bionic Poster
Yes, but we need'nt resurrect MORE games that involve a racket and small ball, there are plenty around already.
I raced motocross when they started with 4" front suspension till 13.5" Fox modified forks, but I don't say to go back to 1973.
I started windsurfing when the original windsurfer and DufourWing were popular, now using 13lbs 7'7" slalom, freewave, and wave boards...and I don't want to go back to 1980 technology.
I started surfing when longboards, 9'6" average was the norm. Since '68, mostly been riding multiple finned 6'6" boards, and I don't want to impose the old logs again.


I play a good standard of tennis and squash so a few years ago when someone asked me if i wanted to play real tennis i couldn't say no!!

It takes a while to get used to all the different ways the ball can come at you, and the rackets (well the one i had, not sure about all of them) are on the hefty side... It is a lot of fun and if you have the opportunity to lapy dont even hesitate and just say yes !!!

fuzz nation

I agree - great game here!

I got to learn about it and have a go a few years back at the facility on the grounds of the Hall of Fame in Newport, RI. Still can't remember how to keep score! I'd say that the only thing that this sport has in common with racquetball is the playing of some shots off the back wall. Otherwise, a truly multi-dimensional game that can get extremely demanding at its higher levels. If anyone gets the chance to check it out, especially if there's some heated competition going on, it might really captivate you.

Real Tennis indeed...
I remember seeing the tennis channel's documentary on the history of tennis about a year ago. Vaguely remember the details, but they showed how tennis proliferated around France played on streets or in private courts of estates, before the black death stopped civilization in its tracks and that tennis vanished, and then it kind of restarted again in britain under king Henry after many years. They seemed to have some weird rules, which kind of eventually coalesced from variations of rules into more of what tennis is today, smaller court maybe, but I don't think I recall it showing they used back walls unless I missed that part. And the end of the documentary, it did mention this "real" tennis revival niche continuing on.

So if this was "real" tennis before lawn tennis of the early 20th century, did it kind of split off into today's tennis, and racquetball? interesting.
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