ACTIVE REAL TENNIS COURTS IN THE UK
angle of the tambour was just right (52.7 degrees) and, records Maltby, supervising through the night until 8am on Good Friday morning when the concrete floor was poured.
As if finding a suitable location and landlord with the requisite long-term view wasn’t enough, the distinctive height of any building that houses a real tennis court can cause the whole project to fall apart at the planning permission hurdle. At the end of all this, Maltby adds, “You need to be confident you can run a viable club.” As with its Radley and Canford school counterparts, the new Wellington court offers not just a resource for pupils but the wider community. Positioned within a sports complex that is open to the public, the club can tap into an existing base of 2,800 members, a good number of whom are likely to be sufficiently curious to pick up a racquet and venture onto the court.
Ready to welcome them – and anyone else who steps through the door – is Dan Jones, who joined Wellington last year as head professional of its real tennis court and immediately threw himself into the task of drawing up a comprehensive management plan to secure its future success. With particular experience in developing junior programmes, both at his previous club, Seacourt, and on a national basis with the Dedanists, Jones is ideally suited to inspiring Wellington pupils and young local residents to embrace his sport. “It’s open to all,” he emphasises. “If I can get someone on court, I’m fairly confident I can get them to fall in love with it within 15 minutes.” With any luck there’ll be plenty of people queuing up to put him to the test and, perhaps, even better, a future British World Champion.
*Readers of The Field are invited to try real tennis for themselves with a free lesson and tour of the new court at Wellington. Contact Dan Jones at email@example.com or call 01344 444244. Bristol
Canford School, Dorset
Falkland Palace, Fife
Hardwick House, Berkshire
Hatfield House, Hertfordshire Holyport, Berkshire
The Hyde, Dorset
Jesmond Dene, Newcastle upon Tyne Leamington, Warwickshire
Middlesex University, Hendon Moreton Morrell, Warwickshire Newmarket, Suffolk
The Oratory School, Berkshire
Petworth House, West Sussex Prested Hall, Essex
The Queen’s Club, London
Radley College, Oxfordshire Hampton Court, Surrey
* Wellington College, Crowthorne, Berkshire (opening 2016)
Right: practising real tennis at Hampton Court. Below, left to right: the Oxford University court; the court, and racquets, at Leamington