Real tennis is the original racquet sport from which the modern game of lawn tennis, or tennis, is descended. Real tennis is still played at a small number of active courts in the United Kingdom, Australia, the United States and France.
It is also known as:
- "Court tennis" (America)
- Jeu de paume (France)
- Formerly called "royal tennis" (Australia).
The term real tennis is often thought to be a corruption of this last name and related to the game's connection with royalty during its heyday in England and France in the 16th and 17th centuries. In fact "real" was first used at the end of the 19th century as a retronym to distinguish it from the then recently invented game of lawn tennis. Real tennis players often just call it "tennis," describing the modern game as "lawn tennis."
The rules of tennis have not changed for centuries. Stripped of its special rules for serving and chases, the game is simple to understand. Each player strives to get the ball over the net and in doing so may use any wall - as in squash. The scoring is the same as in lawn tennis (15, 30, 40, deuce, advantage), except that the score of the winner of the last point, and not that of the server, is called first. A set is won by the first player to win 6 games. So, if the score is five games all, there is a final deciding game. At the conclusion of each game the winner of that game has his score called first.