Actually, it is not. At Freshers’ Fair there were a wealth of sports which you could sign up and take part in. However, one sport which does not have a society at UWE is the game of Real Tennis. Unknown to many, Real Tennis dates back before the game of conventional lawn tennis that we recognise today.
Real Tennis, as opposed to the ‘fake’ lawn tennis you may be familiar with, is just one of the sports that are on offer to participate in the Bristol area. Located next to Clifton College playing fields, the Bristol Real Tennis club is one of only 23 clubs in the country that play the game. With a different layout to a conventional tennis court, real tennis dates back to the time of the Tudors, when Henry VIII regularly enjoyed taking part in the game.
The court is unsymmetrical in its layout, with a net in the middle, similar to a normal tennis court. However, with banks around the side along with netting ‘galleries’ beneath, that is where the similarities end. The racquets are different, the balls are heavier, it is played inside and the mind plays more of a part in this game, as it can often work in your favour if you leave the ball when a ‘chase’ is on. To truly learn the rules of the game, it is essential to visit a court and take part.
With membership for under-25’s starting at £35, this really is a great opportunity that many students from other universities are not able to have.
Kevin Keane, the Head Professional at the club, feels that there are many reasons why people should try real tennis. He said, “With real tennis cleverness can outplay a stronger player, whilst being part of an ancient game is also absorbing.”
To add to this he said, “It never rains! The game will always be played unlike cricket and tennis.”
When asked why real tennis does not receive the same attention as other sports, Keane replied: “soccer has such blanket coverage on every media; real tennis is hardly on the television.”
“All the youngsters want to play soccer; real tennis has a few courts so very few have a court local to them.”
Find out more information here: http://www.bristolrealtennisclub.org.uk/
Real tennis is a sport where people may start to notice a bit more of, which more courts being built around the UK and the World. Roger Federer has even had a go at it! Despite its age, a significant proportion of people have not heard of real tennis. Time will tell if this is to change.
George Beard -firstname.lastname@example.org