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The game originally known as Lawn Tennis is almost always called 'tennis' these days - "Tennis has replaced lawn tennis as the official international name of the sport" (OED). (It was originally named sphairistikè (from Ancient Greek σφαιριστική, meaning 'playing ball'), by its inventor, Major Walter Clopton Wingfield (1833–1912).)

  • (Lawn) Tennis is a game widely known, played and watched, at venues like Wimbledon. It is essentially an outdoor sport (though there are indoor courts) played with racquets by two, or two pairs of, players hitting a ball across a net. Lawn tennis is a descendant of
  • Real tennis, which is played indoors in specially constructed courts. It was originally known as paume, from being played with the flat of the hand, and became tennis (in the form 'tenetz', possibly = French tenez, ~ 'get ready') as it began to use racquets after 1400. It was played by royal players, such as Henry V, who introduced it to England (and is shown by Shakespeare receiving a gift of tennis balls from the French Dauphin in Henry V Act I), and, in the sixteenth century Henry VIII, who played it famously, and his great rival François of France (1515-47). (Real, in this sense, meaning 'royal', is an Anglo-Norman form, shared with Old French. The word is also used in Middle French, Spanish and Portuguese; it can be seen in the name of one of Spain's most famous football clubs, Real Madrid (pronounced in the Spanish way, 'ray-AL', IPA: /re re ˈɑːl/), which was given its name by King Alfonso XIII in 1920. (You may also want to see real - reel.)