In 2016, the RTS Website was selected by the UK Web Archive, The British Library as a site and organisation that “reflects the rich diversity of lives and interests throughout the UK”.
The Real Tennis Society/Société Historique de la Paume promotes the sport of Real Tennis through its history. “Tennis” originated in Europe during the Medieval period and continues to thrive as “Real Tennis”, “Court Tennis” (USA) and “Jeu de Paume” (France) in the 21st century played by 10,000+ people on 46 active courts worldwide. There are traces of courts all over Europe [Court Register] which are being rediscovered and hopefully one day revived as awareness of the sport grows. Providing historical context [Bibliography] and scholarly information [Events] about the sport is essential to develop, promote and save (i.e. Troon and Dublin courts) renovation projects especially in new locations where awareness of the sport is much needed.
2016 News [October]
Wellington College (UK) the first ball was struck in late July and the “Maltby Court” was officially opened by Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex on Wednesday 21 September followed by a weekend (23-25 September) of celebration with players and supporters from around the world.
The Tournoi Trois Tripots organised by Simon Berry, David Bryant and Simon Mansfield was held on the courts of Bayonne (“Trinquet Saint-Andre”, 1620), Urrugne (“Trinquet Dongaitz”, 1436) and La Bastide Clairence (1512) in the French Basque Country on 29 September – 4 October. The event attracted 130 people with players from Melbourne, Hobart, Newport, the UK and France including Basque players. To play on these ancient courts for the modern player is a chance to travel in time to understand the character of the original game and to know the pleasure that ball games always give on and off court. The efforts to hold the TTT ultimately aim to promote the renovation of courts in France and there are two projects in the works:
- Parc Beaumont, Pau (1874) News on the renovation of this court is close at hand. The building was renovated earlier this year into a cafe and the next step we hope is for the court. In the meantime, look out for Richard Travers’ history of the Pau court and club forthcoming from Melbourne Monographs.
- Chinon (rue jeu de paume; late 16c) has been acquired for renovation. The project is being led by Simon Berry and Thierry Bernard-Tambour. If you would like to become a “Friend of Chinon” please contact the RTS.
It is hoped that the court of Fontainebleau will finish its restoration in 2017 of the floor and side walls.
Last but not least in France, there is very positive news about a new court in Bordeaux.
Very Promising News from Dublin!
Thank you to everyone who submitted Objections regarding the City’s Museum plans for the Dublin court. As much as the we love all forms of culture, the plan was to the detriment of the only tennis court on mainland Ireland – and to protect and preserve existent courts touches on a number of areas including: sporting, cultural and architectural heritage. After many stressful months (years!) of waiting to hear from the Dublin City Council on their plans to renovate the court into a Museum, the IRTA has received a positive and official response that requires city planners to find a way to incorporate the playing of tennis “occasionally” within the Museum plans. (For an article earlier this year see The Times on saving the Dublin court.)
Portable Courts to Sustainable Clubs
Over the last few years, a team from the T&RA assisted by architects and other advisers have conducted research and commissioned plans for modular, demountable courts. Building at lower cost while also, perhaps, offering easier to obtain planning permission for a “demountable” court should help to give court building a new lease on life, presenting promoters with a court having more reasonable and achievable construction costs without significant loss of playability. The opportunity will soon be here to build a prototype of one of these courts and the project will shortly be looking for its first location. If you would like more information on this exciting initiative, please contact the RTS.
Two new Publications for Real Tennis
We would like to introduce two exciting new publications:
Racquet Magazine is a printed quarterly journal founded by David Shaftel in August 2016 [Shaftel is the author of two wonderful articles on real tennis in 2015: New Yorker (27 September, 2015) & The New York Times (1 October, 2015)]. Each edition will include a non-lawn tennis item and the first edition had an article by James Zug on Camden and Rob playing for the 2106 World Championship, Newport. Racquet is available in select shops in NYC, Amsterdam and If you would like to purchase the magazine in London the shop is Mag Culture, Clerkenwell.
Real Tennis Magazine is an online magazine founded by Robert Rulli (member of the National Tennis Club, Newport) aimed at the real tennis player and fan. The first edition was published in September and will be available 10 times annually. If you would like to contribute to RTM please follow this link to find out more and to contact Bob Rulli.
A huge congratulations to these two new ventures and we look forward to seeing new and broader interest in Real Tennis culture in due course.
The RTS Second Conference & “Court Tennis Contemporary”, Newport, USA, May 2016
The Second International Conference on the History of Tennis was held on the 17 & 19 May, 2016 in the Casino of the International Tennis Hall of Fame during the men’s singles World Championship. Information about the conference can be found HERE in addition to the highly successful exhibition Court Tennis Contemporary: a group show of 15 artists inspired by the original racquet sport at the Newport Art Museum, 17-21 May. The video links to the 3 days of tennis are available HERE.
In addition to providing regular News and information on “Recent History“, the RTS website is home to 3 scholarly databases on the sport and its related games: A Bibliographic Database: “Library“, Visual Database: “Gallery” and the “Court Register“.
The RTS was established in 2012 [Launch Event] following the first international conference on the history of real tennis “Tennis: History & Mysteries” held at The Queen’s Club during the 2012 men’s World Championship. Eleven scholars contributed papers and a wonderful gathering of history enthusiasts participated in the two-day conference, book signing and dinner. Information on Conferences and Exhibitions please click here and our first Tour.
We invite anyone interested in the history of tennis to become a member and support our online databases and to attend events, lectures and the Tour. We are aiming to register the RTS as a charity in the near future.