One of only four real tennis clubs in Australia, Hobart’s is also the oldest. What’s real tennis? You’ve got to see it to believe it! The precursor to modern tennis, real tennis is thought to have evolved from a French game played in twelfth century in France and popularised in the UK during the nineteenth century. Here in Hobart, Samuel Smith Travers built his own court beside his brewery on Davey Street. Its specialised design is slightly longer than a singles tennis court and the same width as a doubles tennis court. Seven-foot-high walls surround the court, with three sloping roofs. There is a buttress on one wall called the tamboure, on which shots can be played. There are also parts of the court called the grille, dedans and the winning gallery. Real tennis equipment is also unique, with pear shaped, tightly strung wooden racquets used to hit the handmade ball, which weighs just 77 grams and is made of cork wrapped tightly in cloth. The game’s rules are similar to the commonly known game of lawn tennis, with some added complexities. While scoring is basically the same, there are features such as the ‘chase’ that have a huge bearing on the game.
Address: 45 Davey St, Hobart
Open: 10am-4pm, Saturday 5 November
Highlights: Real tennis exhibition match, model of tennis court
Building specs: Type: Sports building, Built: 1875, 2002, Architect: Samuel Smith Travers, H20