Real Tennis history in Europe
Bohemia (Czech Republic)
Emperor Rudolf II was particularly fond of tennis. According to documents preserved at the Archivio di Stato in Florence (of April 1585) he once played doubles at the court in Prague for two hours with Archduke Ernesto and on another occasion watched a match between the Duke of Braunschweig and Giulio Cesare Gonzaga against Don Giovanni di Pernstein and Count Antonio d’Arco. One of Rudolf’s courtiers, Adam Wallenstein Junior, wrote down the results of some of his tennis matches for 1604-1605. In September 1604 he played with Cardinal Alessandro d’Este and in August 1605 he won 360 toplars playing tennis. Two courts have retained their original exterior structure: Prague Castle and the Micovna at Opocno.
- Prague Castle, 1568, Tennis Court (Micovna) built in Belvedere gardens, under Emperor Maximilian II, by architect Boniface Wolmuet. Originally as two tennis courts, a small court and a big one: total dimensions: 68 x 13 metres. Used as stables in 1723, converted into Congress and Music Hall 1956 (see photos of exterior and interior) [Other, private court in Egidiy street, number 6, still featuring stone plaque with 3 rackets, 6 balls and year 1675]
Ballhaus Praque Exterior
- Brandys ad Labem Castle, Micovna built in gardens under Emperor Rudolf II
- Opočno Castle, Micovna of c. 1602, by Jan Rudolf Trcka of Lipa. Building still exists (see photo)
- Wallenstein Castle, by General Albrecht Wallenstein in c. 1630, by his architect Nicolo Sebregondi.
- Český Krumlov Castle, Micovna built in 1666 by Prince Johann Christian von Eggenberg.