|Image courtesy of Hobart’s Real Tennis Club|
- Real tennis is the original tennis. It was played in private courtyards in Europe before lawn tennis evolved.
Real tennis is a ball game played in generally standardised internal courts which are quite large with internal roofs called penthouses. It’s bit like squash but the ball can travel around the walls and around the roofs of the court. The rest is pretty much like lawn tennis.
It’s only played in the United Kingdom, the United States, France and Australia.
The balls are made by hand at the club.They start with a cork, we like to think it’s a champagne cork in the middle, then cloth tape is wound round and around and it is tied tight with string and they all have a felt cover. The balls last awhile but the felt gets replaced when they wear out. The felt cover is cut and hand sewn by the club professional.
- The Hobart club has an international reputation for hospitality and it has just hosted the biennial international amateur real tennis Bathurst Cub.
The Bathurst Cup named after the Countess of course, donated the cup to real tennis in the 1920s. The tournament rotates around the four participating countries and the clubs in those countries bid to hold the tournament. Hobart hosted the cup in 1985 and 1999 and this year, John was head of the organising committee. The club’s commitment to tradition, good hospitality and showcasing all of what Hobart has to offer is obvious:
Players like visiting Hobart because it’s a small club and it’s a nice place and they have a good time.
We have a fantastic reputation for being a very hospitable club, very relaxed. We put on good social functions and people who come to Hobart say they always have a great time here. We have a reputation to uphold in relation to hosting of the tournament.
Visitors to Hobart’s Bathurst Cup had accommodation provided for them and a social program for their partners and supporters organised for them. The club raised funds amongst members so they could look after their guests. Lunch was provided every day, a tournament dinner and a welcoming reception at Government House no less. John can pull some strings.
Some of those strings are culinary. Tim Last from the Junction Hotel in New Norfolk catered one Asian-influenced dinner as part of a series of meals held in members’ homes where
the cost included a sizeable donation.
The tournament dinner was at Blue Eye partly because the owner is Joth Jennings, son of the former Solicitor-General and John’s old boss. Got to love Hobart and its two degrees of separation.
And you’ve got to love Hobart’s real tennis club. It exemplifies Hobart’s warm and welcoming community.
Hobart’s real tennis club commissioned The Two Girls to write an eating out in Tassie guide for the Bathurst cub tournament. We are publishing it in a series of blog posts with
their kind permission. Read the first two posts: Café Culture and Like the Locals.