Real Tennis

The Real Tennis club in Davey Street, left of centre between the Collegiate School and the church, 1888 (ALMFA, SLT)

The Hobart Real Tennis Club was the only tennis court in the southern hemisphere when founded in 1875 by Samuel Smith Travers (lawn tennis did not really exist). Until 1968 the Club allowed only male members, but there have been many female players since, including the first female world champion, Judith Clarke (1980s). The most famous early player was professional Percy Finch, who worked at the club for over sixty years, but its most successful player has been Robert 'Bag' Fahey, who won the world championship in 1994, and has held the title since. He also won many international tournaments, and is the world's most dominant player.

The sport was originally known as 'Tennis', then 'Royal Tennis', and after a referendum in 2001, the name was changed to the 'Hobart Real Tennis Club'. It hosts many local, national and international tournaments, and with a strong membership and a facelift in 2002, this grand old dame is as fit as ever as we enter another new century.

Ted Alexander