LTCC members play Real Tennis: a high-strategy racket sport, played indoors and essentially unchanged since the middle ages. A game which shaped Europe’s history, tennis can trace back the longest line of consecutive World champions of any sport on Earth.
A word to the wise: the World might call the game different things – ‘real’ tennis in Britain, ‘court’ tennis in the US, ‘Royal’ tennis in Australia and ‘court paume’ in France – to players, it’s simply ‘tennis’. The ‘other’ game, meanwhile, is ‘lawn tennis’ – even when it’s not played on grass!
The World over, tennis is enjoyed by players who have been ascribed a ‘handicap’ – a number rating which denotes their playing ability. The handicap system itself was devised and formalised at Leamington, to ‘level the playing field’ for the Silver Racket, an open tournament. The net effect of the handicap system is that players of dramatically different standards can enjoy a close match.
Tennis then, can be enjoyed by players of differing abilities and ages: from fleet-footed young bucks bursting with energy and enthusiasm to ‘silver foxes’, less lithe, certainly, but rich in guile. It’s the Sport of Kings – and King of Sports.