Nowadays we see tennis as being a really popular sport. Even if many do know how the game is played and constantly watch it on TV only some know how everything started. There was one tennis form that was actually popular during the Medievel Ages. We now refer to it as real tennis. In the 12th century we staw the start of everything in France thanks to one ball game that rised in popularity. The bear hand or a glove were used for hitting balls. Racquets began being used only from the 16th century. At that point in time we also saw rules appearing. The royalty started to enjoy real tennis a lot.
Although this is something that few people know, we saw the first tennis tour being played in 1571. King Charles IX wanted it to be held. This brought in 3 levels for players: apprentice, associate and master. 1599 saw the first ever publishing of a book that contained tennis rules. While France showed us a high popularity of this game England got to the same levels only during Henry VIII’s reign. He is the one that first built one tennis court, then by James I’s reign we already had 14 special courts in London.
By the 17th century this game was really popular in France, Spain, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Italy, being played mostly by noblemen. The development seen in England was not helped at all thanks to English Puritanism. Unfortunately, during the time of Napoleon real tennis started to be abandoned.
The good news appeared in the 18th and 19th centuries in England. That was the moment when we saw the appearance of squash racquets, lawn tennis and racquets, 3 sports that derived from real tennis. Lawn tennis gained the most popularity and became the game of tennis that we love today. Tennis history gained most of its evolution thanks to popularity that was seen amongs nobility in England and France.