Welcome to the website of The Royal Tennis Court, Hampton Court Palace.
Tennis has been played at Hampton Court for almost as long as the Palace has stood there. Present knowledge suggests the first tennis court, or tenys playe as they were called in Tudor times, was built by Cardinal Wolsey between 1526 and 1529. It was the first of three constructed at the Palace.
The Royal Tennis Court was last extensively refurbished in 1628 and is the oldest surviving real tennis court in England. It has been in more or less continuous use since it was built. Today the court is home to a thriving club with over 500 members, and is open and in use from 7am to 11pm every day of the year, except Christmas Day.
The Royal Tennis Court is one of fewer than fifty real tennis courts in the world, and of the few courts in the world where the public can watch this intriguing sport.
This video of a match played in March 2010 at The Royal Tennis Court between Nick Wood, the head professional, and the reigning world champion, Rob Fahey shows that, although the game looks like a strange mixture of tennis and squash, the techniques, strategies and rules are both more difficult and more complex than those of the modern derivatives. However, the game can be played at various speeds allowing for players of all ages and abilities to play. Except at the very highest levels of the professional game, both singles and doubles matches are mixed gender.