Real Tennis
Back to Home Page
News Items
Links of Interest
Mailing List
Contact Us
Search this website



The game of Real Tennis (hereafter referred to as Tennis) gave birth to the newcomer called Lawn Tennis, which was officially born in early 1874. The reality is that a form of outside tennis (or Lawn Tennis) was being played in England at least 75 years earlier. And the old outside game of Longue Paume has been played in north-east France, probably for 200 years.

To view the current listings of Real Tennis books and news please click here

Very few people play Tennis, mostly because there are only forty-five or so active courts in the world, to be found in Australia, France (where it is called Le Jeu de Paume or more accurately Court Paume), the Eastern Seaboard of the United States (where it is called Court Tennis), and Great Britain (where it is called Real Tennis, or usually Tennis). It is likely that fewer than 10,000 people play the game worldwide, and I am one of those at the top end of the keener players, though only in enthusiasm rather than effectiveness!

Tennis is an immensely challenging game to learn and play. When asked a few years ago how long it took to become a reasonable Tennis player, World Champion Chris Ronaldson, the Professional at the Royal Tennis Court at Hampton Court Palace said that, in his experience, it took at least two years before you could be classed as being as good as “completely hopeless”!!

The scoring system in Tennis is similar to that in Lawn Tennis (thus 15, 30, 40, game), but the game is also managed with the use of lines upon the floor called Chases and a range of openings called Penthouse Galleries down the side-wall, also called Chases. Each line and each opening has a differing value and significance to the progress of the game, and these values and significances can really only be fully understood as a player gains experience. Another major difference from Lawn Tennis is that in Tennis, no set progresses beyond 11 games; at 5-all, the winner of the 11th game wins the set.

Lawn Tennis has carried forward into its rules many of the rules and characteristics of Tennis. The first rules of Lawn Tennis were almost indistinguishable from those of Tennis, save for the elimination of chases and galleries, and of course the use of the side-walls. In the first 10 years or so of the life of Lawn Tennis (say from 1874 onwards), almost all players of Lawn Tennis were primarily players of Tennis, who dabbled at the new game in the summer months. But over those first 10 years, Lawn Tennis players appeared who had no previous experience of Tennis, and thus they were Lawn Tennis players pure and simple. They were therefore not influenced by their experiences of playing Tennis and thus began the establishment of the techniques peculiar to Lawn Tennis.

Tennis has a traceable life of more than 600 years, and in that time it can claim about 150 titles in its bibliography in French, English, and German. Lawn Tennis, the newcomer, has over 4000 titles in many languages to its name in 130 years! As there were/are so few people playing Tennis, the print-runs on books related to the game were only in very small numbers, generally fewer than 1000 copies, and often in runs of fewer than 200 copies. The great books on Tennis are firmly held by their owners and tend to pass down through the generations, rather than come onto the open market. On the other hand, collectors of Tennis books are passionate and discriminating, and as such are more than aware that prices for these books tend to be well above the average sporting title. The following titles are those which I try to keep in stock at all times, though some are now very rare. This list is by no means exhaustive in content, but does The condition of these books is usually at least very good, especially those titles published in the last thirty years or so. Titles published earlier than that are likely to bear modest signs of their age. Where there are obvious deficiencies, there are noted separately. Please note that my stock changes daily, and I may not have a copy of the book you want immediately. But please let me know your wants, and I will use my very wide search facilities to try to fond your book.

To view the current listings of Real Tennis books and news please click here

You can order books by using the mail, e-mail, FAX, or phone. Payment can be made by Visa, Mastercard, Sterling cheque, or by US$ check payable to Alan Chalmers at a £/$ rate to be agreed.
Orders should be sent to Alan Chalmers, The Tennis Bookshop, Oaklands Farm Cottage, Oaklands Lane, West Lavington, Midhurst, West Sussex, England GU29 0EJ.
Telephone +44 (0) 1730-816116; Fax (0) 870-7052288; e-mail

May 2007

Home - Newsletters - Exhibitions - Links of Interest - Mailing List - Contact Us

Oaklands Farm Cottage
Oaklands Lane, West Lavington,
Midhurst, West Sussex,
GU29 0EJ, England
Tel: +44 (0)1730 816116
FAX: +44 (0) 870-7052288
Alan Chalmers