real tennis

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A racket-and-ball sport played in an indoor court. It is the sport from which lawn tennis was derived, the word ‘real’ being a claim to pedigree and history, and a derogatory riposte to those in lawn tennis who abbreviated their sport to just ‘tennis’. In the USA real tennis is known as ‘court tennis’; in France jeu de paume; and in Australia it was formerly known as ‘royal tennis’. In England, the universities of Oxford and Cambridge were traditional strongholds of the game: Oxford had operational courts in 1595, and there is evidence of the game being played at Cambridge in 1637. The game still has a presence at Oxbridge, with two functional courts in Cambridge, and 250 members of Oxford's club in 2008; and in exclusive clubs, which offer a basis for a limited number of professionals to both compete and coach. Several sponsors of the International Real Tennis Professionals Association, including Pol Roger Champagne, have also sponsored the governing body of rackets, the Tennis & Rackets Association. Australians, Britons, and Americans comprised the line-up of seven at the 2008 US Open.

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.

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