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Around the Academy:

Henry VIII

Tennis became so popular that the Pope tried, but failed, to ban the game.

But it had many noble fans, including Henry VII and VIII who built more courts (including one of the few surviving courts, built at Hampton Court Palace in 1625).

However the game of 'court' or 'real' tennis, as seen in the picture, is very different from the popular, global sport we know as tennis today.

In 'real tennis' the ball is hit around a series of walls with rooved galleries.

Players win points by hitting the ball into netted windows beneath the rooves.

At Hampton Court, the most points are gained for hitting a wooden portrait of Henry VIII.

The court is marked with scoring lines and the net is five feet high at each end, though it droops to three feet in the middle.

The game's popularity dwindled during the turbulent 1700s but in 1850 something happened which sparked the development of modern-day tennis.





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