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History

“To see Good Tennis! What divine joy
Can fill our leisure, or our minds employ?
Let other people play at other things;
The King of Games is still the Game of Kings”

From Parker’s Piece by J.K. Stephen

The game of tennis is the same everywhere. The name given to the game differs in different countries.  In Great Britain it is called Tennis or, to distinguish it from Lawn Tennis, Real Tennis. In the USA it is called Court Tennis: in France Jeu de Paume (hand ball): and in Australia Royal Tennis. The various names throw light on the development of the game. In 5th century Tuscany villagers used to strike balls up and down the streets with bare hands.

In Great Britain, as in France, royal patronage ensured the continued popularity of the game. French Kings in the 16th century and Stuart Kings in the 17th century were enthusiastic players. George IV (1763-1830), Prince Albert (1819-1861) – there is a locker in the changing room at Hampton Court Palace which still bears his name – Edward VII (1842-1910) and George V (1866-1936) have all supported the game.

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