Real Tennis, also known as "court tennis" or "royal tennis," is an ancient and highly specialized racket sport that is considered the precursor to modern tennis. It originated in France during the Middle Ages and later gained popularity among the English nobility, becoming particularly popular during the 16th and 17th centuries.
Real Tennis is played on a unique, asymmetrical, indoor court that is much larger and more complex than a standard lawn tennis court. The court features various elements such as sloping roofs, galleries, and walls that are used strategically during the game. The dimensions of the court and the positions of the net and galleries differ from one side to the other, making it a challenging and intriguing sport to master.
The game is played with a solid, asymmetrical racket, and the ball used is heavier and denser than a regular tennis ball. The objective of the game is to score points by hitting the ball into specific areas on the opponent's side of the court, such as the winning gallery or the dedans.
In its heyday, Real Tennis was a popular pastime among nobles and royalty, who constructed dedicated courts in their palaces and estates. However, as lawn tennis (the modern version of tennis) emerged in the late 19th century, Real Tennis gradually declined in popularity. Lawn tennis was more accessible and easier to learn, leading to its widespread adoption among people from all walks of life.
Today, Real Tennis is a niche sport with only a few dedicated courts worldwide. It is primarily pursued by a small group of enthusiasts and historians who are passionate about preserving this ancient and fascinating game.
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