Escape to the Country
Take a Lesson in Real Tennis with Escape to the Country!
Watch “Escape to the Country” to discover real tennis, which is the predecessor to the game you love with some exciting twists!
As you’re watching the Olympics, you might find yourself wondering about the history of all these wonderful sports that have captured the hearts and spirits of athletes and viewers alike. One sport with a particularly interesting history is tennis. On this episode of “Escape to the Country,” our hosts travel to the Petworth House Tennis Court to learn about Real Tennis, which is the predecessor to the popularized game of tennis we know and love today. The game was invented in France during the 12th or 13th Century, and was popularized in England by King Henry VIII. Instead of being played on an outdoor court or lawn, real tennis is played on an indoor court and even has similarities to the game of squash, which is another racquet sport. Make sure to keep your eye on the ball in the clip below!
Just like the game of tennis we know and love today, Real Tennis is played on a court with a net, racquets and ball. However, this is essentially where the similarities end. The court for Real Tennis is indoors, and includes walls, angles and surfaces for players to bounce the balls off for more intricate and elaborate plays. While Real Tennis and lawn tennis genuinely use the same scoring system, Real Tennis has more opportunities to score points. Our personal favorite is that players can hit the ball into the winning gallery, where a victorious bell sounds on impact!
If the Olympics have awoken your inner athlete, make sure to learn more about Britain’s rich sporting history! For example, you can learn more about the equestrian sports or trap shooting that all take place in England's stunning countryside. If taking in the sights and history is more your style, make sure to include Petworth on your next trip to the U.K. to see the Petworth House and Tennis Courts for yourself. After all, it is only one of around 20 Real Tennis Courts that exist in Britain today, making this location particularly significant.