It’s not often that you meet a World Champion, but that’s exactly what happened last Friday when Jim Hawes and Mike Smith turned up at Wellington College’s recently opened facility to have a go at Real Tennis. While waiting for Dan Jones, the Head Professional, to finish a lesson, they found themselves chatting to Lea Van der Zwalmen, who is the first ever Ladies World Rackets Champion. Lea, on the left in the picture, is currently studying Economics with German at Nottingham University.
Coming back down to earth, Dan Jones first introduced Jim and Mike to the somewhat arcane equipment used in this most ancient of sports, including the asymmetrical wooden rackets strung at 110 1bs and with the tiniest of sweet spots. The balls are handmade by Dan and basket loads of them are used in each game, although they do last for a couple of weeks.
Forehands and backhands were followed by the serve, the latter having to bounce on the penthouse before landing in a defined box. Then Jim and Mike discovered how difficult it was to return a serve and how running very quickly backwards was a necessary attribute! Scoring uses the 15-love, etc., method of scoring until we come on to “chases” which is beyond the scope of this writer to explain!
To try Real Tennis, either individually or with a group, contact Dan Jones.
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