Real Tennis

Welcome to the unique game of Real Tennis!

Real Tennis is the king of all racquet sports; a game where creatively, subtlety and strategy are as important as strength, power and speed. The game is played in an asymmetrical court which contains many unusual features such as sloping roofs, openings in the walls and a buttress sticking out from the main wall, which causes the ball to change direction.

 

It is the oldest racket sport in the world, famously played by Henry VIII, and was the inspiration for many modern games such as Lawn Tennis. Real Tennis has the longest line of consecutive world champions of any sport in the world and is played in 4 countries: France, Australia, the US and the UK.

​Guide to the Game:

  1. In Real Tennis you can play singles and doubles. We have a handicap system like in golf, where you can play someone better or worse than you and have an even game. The game is enjoyed by players of all ages, and many different skill levels and abilities.

  2. The scoring system is the same as Lawn Tennis (Love, 15, 30, 40, deuce, advantage, game), so to win a game a player needs to win four points and usually to be at least two points ahead of their opponent, otherwise deuce and advantage is played to win the game. The first player to win 6 games wins the set – it is not necessary to be two games ahead, the eleventh game is decisive.

  3. The court is divided in two by a net, with a service end and a receiving end (known as the ‘Hazard End’). As in squash, the walls form part of the playing area, as well as the sloping roofs attached to three of the four walls of the court.

  4. Points are won or lost when errors are made (e.g. by hitting the ball into the net or out of court). If the ball bounces twice in the blue floor area of the hazard end then the server wins the point (just like Lawn Tennis). There are 3 'winning openings' on a Real Tennis court. If you hit these during play you win the point. The winning openings are the Grille, The Dedans & The Winning Gallery.

  5. Unlike Lawn Tennis, we don’t always call the servers score first. Instead, the first score called is that of the player who won the last point.

  6. There are lots of different types of serves in Real Tennis (including the Giraffe, the Boomerang and the Railroad). The serve must bounce at least once on the side sloping roof (called the service penthouse), on or over the white service line, and then must land on or in the service box at the hazard end (the blue floor area marked by white lines).

  7. As in most racquet sports, it is an advantage to be serving, however, unlike the game of Lawn Tennis the serve is won or lost depending on something called a Chase.

 

Chases & Changing Ends

 

  1. To gain the serve you must set a chase (if you don’t then you will spend the rest of the match receiving serve). A chase is set when the ball touches the floor for a second time (having not made contact with your opponent’s racket or clothing – effectively when your opponent has missed their shot). Chases are measured by the numbers and lines on the floor – the netted galleries on the side of the court also represent chases.

  2. When a chase is set neither player has won or lost the point at that stage. Once there is both a chase and the score is within one point of a game, or there are two chases, the players change ends (and service).

  3. The chase or chases are then played in the order they occurred. To beat a chase, the player who did not set the chase must ensure the second bounce of their shot lands closer to the back wall than the chase being played (e.g. to beat chase 6, the second bounce must land at 5 or better) – otherwise the opponent can let the ball bounce twice to win the point.

  4. After the chase or chases have been won or lost then play goes back to normal.

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