Did Henry VIII Play Tennis?

Published: 05/07/2022 By Allan Fuller

Did Henry the Eighth play tennis? 

The answer is that he did, and was renowned as an excellent player when he was young, or maybe no one was brave enough to beat him!

Real tennis is one of several games sometimes called "the sport of kings" – and is the original racquet sport from which the modern game of tennis (also called "lawn tennis") is derived. 

The term ‘real’ was first used by journalists in the early 20th century to distinguish the ancient game from modern lawn tennis. It is also known as court tennis in the United States, formerly royal tennis in England and Australia, and courte-paume in France (to distinguish it from longue-paume, and in reference to the older, racquet-less game of jeu de paume, the ancestor of modern handball and racquet games). Many French real tennis courts are at jeu de paume clubs.

There are more than 50 active real tennis courts in the world, located in the United Kingdom, Australia, the United States and France. Other countries have currently disused courts, such as the two in the Republic of Ireland. 

The sport is supported and governed by various organizations around the world.

Photo: Royal Tennis Court - Hampton Court Palace