Racquets (sport)

From Academic Kids

Racquets (also Rackets or Hard Racquets) an indoor racquet sport played in the United Kingdom, United States, and Canada.

Manner of play

Racquets is played in a 30 by 60 foot (9.14 נ18.28 m) enclosed court, with a ceiling at least 30 feet high. Singles and doubles are played on the same court. The equipment used are 30½ inch (775 mm) wooden racquets and a 1 7/16 inch (37 mm) hard white ball. The play is extremely fast, and potentially dangerous. Games are to 15 points, only the server can score—the receiver may serve after winning a rally. Matches are typically best of 5 games.

Because the game of squash began in the 19th century as an off-shoot of racquets, the sports were similar in manner of play and rules. However, the rules and scoring in squash have evolved in the last hundred plus years. Racquets has changed little, the main difference today versus a century ago is that players are now allowed brief rest periods between games. In the past, leaving the court could mean forfeiting the match, so players kept spare racquets, shirts, and shoes in the gutter below the telltale on the front wall.

The governing bodies are the Tennis and Rackets Association (UK) and the North American Racquets Association.

History

Racquets began as an 18th century pastime in London's King's Bench and Fleet debtors prisons. The prisoners modified the game of fives by using tennis racquets to speed up the action. They played against the prison wall, sometimes at a corner to add a sidewall to the game. Racquets then became popular outside the prison, played in alleys behind pubs. It spread to schools, first using school walls, and later with proper four-wall courts being specially constructed for the game. Some private clubs also built courts. Along with real tennis and badminton, racquets was used as a inspiration for the game of lawn tennis, invented in 1873. A vacant racquets court built into the University of Chicago's Stagg Field served as the location of the first artificial nuclear chain reaction on December 2, 1942.

As happens with sports, interests shift. Today it is perhaps the most obscure and least approachable of racquet sports. Court upkeep, handmade balls, and breakable wooden racquets make it an expensive game. It also requires lessons and practice to play safely and enjoyably. On the other hand, those who take up the sport do so enthusiastically and learn to play well. There are about twenty courts in schools and private clubs in the United Kingdom. The United States has six courts, and Canada one, in private clubs. There may be unused courts elsewhere in the former British Empire that are still in good condition. Racquets is exclusively, or nearly exclusively, a male sport.

Tournaments

The world championship for singles (and doubles) is decided in a challenge format. If the governing bodies accept the challenger's qualifications, he plays the reigning champion in a best of 12 games format (6 games on each side of the Atlantic). If each player wins six games, the total point score is used as a tie breaker. The current singles champion is Harry Foster. The current doubles champions are Guy Barker and Alister Robinson.

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