Real Tennis Wiki


If the ball touches the edge of the side penthouse (regardless of how much of the edge it hits) without first hitting the side wall or side penthouse, it is a fault. On the other hand, if it hits the edge of the side penthouse after hitting the side wall or side penthouse, it is not a fault (assuming it lands in the service court).

The “service penthouse” is:

“That part of the Side Penthouse, which is on the Hazard Side including the line that, bisects the Side Penthouse.”

This means that a serve that bounces on the line on the penthouse, is not a fault.

The “service court” is:

“The part of the floor on the Hazard Side that is bordered by the Side Wall, the Grille Wall, the Fault Line and the Service Line (including those two lines)”.

This is the area that the serve must fall in. This means that a ball that lands on the line is not a fault.

In doubles:

“A return of Service is not good if made by the Receiver's partner, unless the ball has Dropped in the Service Court between the Half-Court Line and the Fault Line or on either of those lines”.

This means that the receiver’s partner may (optionally) return the ball if it bounces on or over the black line that is perpendicular to the back wall.

Galleries and openings[]

A ball which hits a gallery post (the wooden columns in the galleries) is considered to be in the gallery closer to the net than the post (even if it goes on to rest in the further away gallery). A ball which hits the metal pole in the middle of the dedans is considered to have entered the dedans.

A ball which strikes the concrete around an opening (including the concrete well for holding balls, in the middle of the dedans) is not considered to have entered the opening, unless it goes on to hit a post or the wooden tray or the netting.


The names of the chases are:

  • On the Service Side, proceeding from the Back Wall towards the Net:- Half-a-Yard, One Yard, One and Two (describing the Half-yard line between the one yard line and the two yard line) and so on up to Six, then Half-a-Yard Worse than Six, the Last Gallery, Half-a-Yard Worse than the Last Gallery, A Yard Worse than the Last Gallery, the Second Gallery, the Door, and the First Gallery, and
  • In the Hazard Court, proceeding from the Service Line towards the Net:- Hazard Half-a-Yard, Hazard One Yard, Hazard One and Two, Hazard Two Yards, Hazard the Second Gallery, Hazard the Door and Hazard the First Gallery

If the ball drops a little closer to the back wall than the chase named above it is “better than”, if a little closer to the net, it is “worse than”. The exception is the “yard worse than last” chase, which is described as “nearly a yard worse” and “more than a yard worse” instead of “better than” and “worse than”.

There are no other chases – e.g. even if the ball falls nearly a yard worse than the second gallery, the chase is simply “worse than second”. Don’t try to invent new chases, just stick to what already exists!

A ball that drops on the service line (the hazard line furthest from the net) is a stroke, not a chase.

From section 9.1:

“A ball which Drops on the Service Side and then Falls on the Hazard Side is also marked Chase the Line.”

If the ball does not “drop” (i.e. hit a penthouse or the floor) and goes over the net on the full, it is Out of Court.

If the ball in play hits another ball lying on the court, it is a chase wherever contact occurred. If it hits an article of clothing or anything else that is in an opening, it is considered that the ball entered that opening.