The Tennis Courts of Lyon: Les Jeux de Paume de Lyon
Oryx Publishing, $69 hb, 157 pp, 9780980743548
Practitioners of real (or royal) tennis have with their game the special relationship that comes with being a small group of initiates. There are probably fewer than ten thousand of them in the world, gathered in the four countries where the ancient sport survives on no more than fifty active courts. Individually and collectively, they appear to feel, beyond the passion with which they master the complex rules and techniques of the actual playing, a responsibility for protecting, maintaining, and extending detailed knowledge of the six centuries or so of the game’s history. It is indeed an unusual microcosm, but it is full of intriguing connections with some major historical figures and moments.