Real Tennis is still almost the same sport as the Royal Game that was played with such great enthusiasm at all the princely courts of Europe and by a large contingent of the urban elite between roughly 1500-1800. After 1800 the interest in the game dwindled on the continent, but it survived in Great Britain. After 1874, when the new game of lawn tennis swept the country, royal tennis became more fashionable again among the English aristocracy. By the year 1900 the popularity of lawn tennis was so great that it was universally called "tennis" and the old game had to distinguish itself by becoming "real" tennis. Nowadays, attracted by the combination of clever ball control and tactical skills that are required for this subtle game, many players are taking up real tennis. In addition, every new player is fully aware of the game's unique historical pedigree. To its devotees, some 7,000 players worldwide, real tennis is the most wonderful pastime yet devised by the wit of man.
Real tennis has the oldest of all sporting world championships, which dates back to 1740. Nowadays there are also many tournaments for amateurs. There are twenty-three clubs in Great Britain, nine in the USA, four in Australia and four in France.