TENNIS AS POPULAR
RECREATION
SOMETIMES KNOWN AS
REAL TENNIS OR ROYAL
TENNIS
 WHAT
IS REAL TENNIS?
 MAKE A DIRECT COMPARISON WITH
MOB FOOTBALL
 WE
NEED TO BE ABLE TO
COMPARE REAL TENNIS WITH
MOB FOOTBALL. Think about who
played it, where it was played,
rule structure, numbers involved,
dress, levels of skill or force,
regularity of play and so on.
Specific reference to who, when,
where why and how.
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Became popular in the 14th century.
Exclusive game for kings, nobles and
merchants, who played in purpose-built
highly sophisticated courts.
The sophisticated exclusivity of real tennis
was the exact opposite to the rustic
simplicity of folk games.
Developed as a reflection of high culture in
Tudor England.
The game had become the exclusive
property of the nobility, supported by a
servant class of professionals in the cricket
mould.
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The game had complex rules and required high levels
of skill.
The early tennis courts were often constructed in
existing courtyards or quadrangles, leading to a
great variety in court dimensions and rules. Some
were enclosed yards with various hazards. Some
courts were more elaborate with a spectators gallery.
With the rise in popularity of rackets and lawn
tennis, an exclusive clientele continued to regard
tennis as the ultimate game. The Lord’s, queen’s
Club, Hampton Court and Royal Leamington Spa
served simply to reflect its Royal status.
There are a number of features which reflect the
exclusive group who played it.
Special facilities and equipment, complex rules of
play and etiquette, and laws limiting play to the
nobility.
 Most
universities had a court.
 OTHER VERSIONS
 Variety of bat and ball games
were called tennis.
 Those not eligible to play, played
their own versions against
church or pub walls.
 Games were sometimes called
tennis, fives or rackets.
FIVES
HOW DOES IT CONTRAST?
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TO WHAT EXTENT DID REAL TENNIS FIT THE
NORMALLY ACCEPTED MODEL OF POPULAR
RECREATION? WAS IT?
LOCAL
UNCODED
COURTLY ( DIGNIFIED AND
POLITE)/POPULAR
IRREGULAR/OCCASIONAL
CRUEL/VIOLENT
RURAL
OCCUPATIONAL
WAGERING.
OTHER PRE-INDUSTRIAL
VERSIONS OF TENNIS
RACQUETS- DEVELOPED BY GENTLEMAN
OF HIGH SOCIAL STANDING IN PRISON
 FIVES- DEVELOPED IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS,
AGAINST NATURAL WALLS
 RECREATIONAL AND DIFFERENT
VERSIONS, ETON FIVES AND
WINCHESTER FIVES.
 LITTLE SCOPE FOR DEVELOPING
CHARACTER

SQUASH…
 THE
GAME OF RACQUETS LED TO
STANDARDISED COURTS BEING
BUILT
 FOUR WALLS INSTEAD OF ONE,
WITH A ROOF LED TO THE GAME OF
SQUASH BEING DEVELOPED
 LAWN TENNIS, INVENTED FOR AND
BY THE MIDDLE-CLASSES
 EMANCIPATION OF WOMEN
PROBLEM…..
 NOT
WELCOMED BY THE BOYS IN
PUBLIC SCHOOLS AT A TIME WHEN
MANLINESS AND COURAGE WERE
ALL IMPORTANT
 ORGANISATION AND STATUS WAS
MUCH LESS THAN TEAM GAMES
 WHY?
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NON-SERIOUS
COURTS TOOK COMPARATIVELY LARGE SPACE
DID NOT REQUIRE COURAGE OR PHYSICALITY
COULD NOT COMPETE AGAINST THE STATUS OF
MAJOR GAMES
DID NOT REQUIRE TEAMWORK OR COOPERATION OF MAJOR GAMES
REPUTATION OF PAT BALL AND SUITABLE ONLY
FOR GIRLS
NEW INVENTION, THEREFORE TREATED WITH
SUSPICION
HOMEWORK
 FIND
OUT HOW TO PLAY FIVES AND
RACKETS
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TENNIS AS POPULAR RECREATION