New rules for A Level PE students as they discover the centuries-old sport of real tennis

New rules for A Level PE students as they discover the centuries-old sport of real tennis

8 February 2024

Mr Darryl Rebbetts, Head of Cricket

On Tuesday 6 February, A Level PE students furthered their socio-cultural sport studies with a trip to Petworth, Sussex, to learn about and play real tennis.

Tom Durack, Petworth's Professional, explained how the game began, developed and now remains popular in four countries (as well as the UK, France, Australia and the USA). The student then had 90 minutes of court time to show off their skills in serving and receiving forehands and backhands against one another. Learning the rules was quite a challenge as you can serve off the roofs, slanted walls and hit the ball into netted areas to win points. Amie explains more below.

Amie G, Lower Sixth

Real tennis is played on an indoor court which has four irregularly-sized walls (see photo below). You use lopsided rackets with pear-shaped heads to hit balls which are much harder than those used in lawn tennis – they are handmade from crushed up corks and fabric.

We first learnt how to do a simple swing of the ball, after which the coach threw balls towards us so we could practise as if we were in a game situation. We were then taught how to serve, where the ball has to hit the slanted roof and land in the green box at the receiving end of the court. Left handed players at the receiving end are at a slight disadvantage as you have to receive the ball on your backhand. We then played doubles against each other, which was really enjoyable and exciting. At the end of our visit, we had the chance to watch some professionals play. They were very impressive and we realised just how hard the sport of real tennis is. 


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