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Title: Lawn-tennis
Author: Dwight, James
Language: English
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To WILLIAM RENSHAW, Esq., Champion of England,
this book is dedicated by his friend and pupil
the Author.



                             JAMES DWIGHT.


                             PUBLISHED BY

                  WRIGHT & DITSON, BOSTON, U. S. A.,


                 “PASTIME” OFFICE, 28 PATERNOSTER ROW,
                             LONDON, E. C.



                       By JAMES DWIGHT.


There is at present no work on Lawn-Tennis written by any of the
well-known players or judges of the game, and it is with great
diffidence that I offer this book to fill the gap until something
better comes.

It is intended for beginners, and for those who have not had the
opportunity of seeing the best players and of playing against them.

To the better players it would be presumption for me to offer advice.
I should not, indeed, have ventured to write at all had I not had
unusual opportunities of studying the game against the best players,
and especially against the Champion, Mr. W. Renshaw, and his brother.


                       PART I.

  CHAP.                                        PAGE

        PREFACE                                 vii
  I.    HOW TO LEARN TO PLAY                      1
  III.  THE SERVICE                              12
  IV.   THE FIRST STROKE                         18
  V.    THE STROKE                               21
  VI.   THE VOLLEY                               23
  VII.  THE HALF-VOLLEY                          28
  VIII. THE LOB                                  30

                       PART II.

  I.    THE GAME                                 32
  II.   MATCH PLAY                               46
  III.  THE DOUBLE GAME                          56
  V.    UMPIRES AND UMPIRING                     68
  VI.   ODDS                                     71
  VII.  BISQUE                                   73
  VIII. CASES AND DECISIONS                      80
  IX.   LIST OF WINNERS                          88





One is often asked the best method of learning to play. I fancy that
the best way, could one often adopt it, would be to let a marker, as
in a tennis-court, hit the balls gently to the beginner, pointing out
to him his mistakes, so that he might not acquire a bad style. If he
begins by going on to the lawn and playing a game, his only object
will be to get the balls over the net, and he will be almost sure to
fall into bad habits of play. This is, however, the most amusing way
to learn, and will probably always be the one in general use. If the
novice does adopt it, let him at least watch good players whenever he
can, not with any idea of trying their severe volleys, &c., but in
order to see the position of the feet and of the racket in play. When
he has learned to play fairly well, he should still watch good players
at every opportunity; but what he then needs to study is the position
in the court where they stand; when they go forward and when back,
and what balls they volley instead of playing off the ground. He will,
in this way, get some idea of the form which he should try to acquire.
Mr. E. L. Williams, in a recent article in the _Lawn-Tennis Magazine_,
advises playing against a wall, and I believe in the benefit obtained
from this sort of practice. In fact, I have often advised players to
try it. Any sort of a wall will do; the wall of a room, if there is
nothing better. Hit the ball quietly up against the wall, wait till it
has bounded and is just beginning to fall, then hit it as nearly as
possible in the same place. Always make a short step forward as you
hit, with the left foot in a forehanded stroke, and with the right in a
backhanded one. Try to hold the racket properly (see page 10), and do
not hit with a stiff arm. The shoulder, elbow, and wrist ought all to
be left free, and not held rigid. As soon as you can hit the ball up a
few times forehanded, try the same thing backhanded, and when you are
reasonably sure of your stroke, take every ball alternately fore and
backhanded. This will give you equal practice in both strokes, and will
also force you to place the ball each time. Add now a line over which
the ball must go; in a room a table or bureau will do very well, and,
if possible, mark out a small square in which the ball shall strike.
This may sound very childish to a beginner, but I am sure that very
valuable practice can be got in this way, and I have spent a great many
hours in a room at this occupation. After a time you should volley
every ball, first on one side and then on the other. Then half-volley,
and after that try all the different combinations: volley forehanded,
and half-volley backhanded, &c. Always stick to some definite plan, as
in that way you get practice in placing. There is another stroke that
can well be learned in this way. Hit the ball up against the wall so
that it will strike the ground on your left and go completely by you,
then step across and backward with your right foot, swing on the left
foot till your back is towards the wall, and try to return the ball by
a snap of your wrist. With practice, you will manage to return a ball
that has bounded five or six feet beyond you. Try also the same stroke
on the forehand side. You can get in this way alone more practice in
handling a racket, and in making the eye and hand work together, than
you are likely to get in ten times the length of time out of doors.
Ask some friend, who really knows, to tell you if you hold your racket
in the right way, and to point out to you any faults of style that you
may have. It is of the greatest importance not to handicap yourself
at the start by acquiring bad form. Good form is simply the making of
the stroke in the best way, so as to get the greatest effect with the
least exertion. While nothing can be more graceful than good form, no
one should make it his chief object to play gracefully; the result will
only be to make him look absurd.

When you begin to play games, do not try all the strokes that you see
made. Begin by playing quietly in the back of the court. Try simply to
get the ball over the net, and to place to one side or the other, and
to do this in good form, _i.e._, to hold the racket properly, and to
carry yourself in the right way. As you improve you can increase the
speed of your strokes, and can play closer to the side-lines. Remember
that a volleying game is harder to play, and you should learn to play
well off the ground before trying anything else. Above all things,
never half-volley. If you can return the ball in no other way, let it
go and lose the stroke. This may sound absurd, but I feel sure that
most young players lose more by habitually trying to take half-volleys
when there is no need of it, than they gain by any that they may make.
It is a stroke that should never be used if it is possible to avoid it.
If you make up your mind to let the ball go unless you can play it in
some other way, you will thus learn to avoid wanting to half-volley.
When you become a really good player, you can add this stroke to your
others, and you will not have got into the habit of using it too often.
It is a mistake to play long at a time. For real practice three sets
a day are quite enough. When practising for matches, you can play the
best of five sets three times a week. Almost all players play too much,
and by the middle of the season many of them are stale. Always try to
play with some one better than yourself, and take enough odds to make
him work to win. In the same way give all the odds that you can.

Remember, while playing, certain general principles. Don’t “fix”
yourself. Keep the knees a little bent, and your weight thrown forward
and on both feet, so that you can start in any direction. If the feet
are parallel it is impossible to start quickly. Always keep moving,
even if you do not intend to go anywhere. Play quietly and steadily
without any flourish, and try to win every stroke. A great many players
seem unable to keep steadily at work, and play a careless or slashing
stroke every now and then. This is a great mistake, and one often loses
a great deal by it. Try to acquire a habit of playing hard all the
time. The racket should be carried in both hands, for, if you let it
hang down, more time will be needed to get it across your body. Never
cut nor twist a ball except in service; it tends to make the ball
travel more slowly, and will deceive nobody. The underhand stroke puts
a little twist on the ball, but it is an over twist and not a side one.
Try to meet the ball fairly, _i.e._, to bring the racket against it in
the line of its flight; or, in other words, don’t hit across the ball.

Watch carefully your own weak points. Any good player ought to be able
to show them to you, and you should then try to improve your game where
it is weak. If you practise carefully and your only object is to learn,
there is no reason why you should not get into the second class. To be
among the very best players requires physical advantages, as well as
a stout heart and great interest in the game. One is often advised to
pretend to put a ball in one place and then to put it in another. I
can assure you that it does not pay. Too many strokes are lost by it.
Exactly the same thing is true about pretending to go to one side and
then coming back again. One is apt to get off one’s balance in making
such a feint, and it is quite hard enough to get into position for a
ball without having to start the wrong way first.

It is well to observe the rules carefully in practice, or else they
may distract one’s attention in a match. This is especially true of
the service. Frequently foot-faulting in a match spoils your service
altogether. In practice you should always see that the net is at the
right height, and should always use good balls. It is bad practice, and
is also very unsatisfactory, to play with bad balls. When the weather
is too bad to use good balls it is too bad to play at all.



The court is 78 ft. long. It is 27 ft. wide for the single game, and
36 ft. for the double game. At most club-grounds a measuring-chain is
used to mark out the court, but for a private court a chain is seldom
at hand. The easiest way to mark out a court without a chain is to
use two long measures. Select the place for the net; then measure 36
ft. across; at each end put in a peg, and over each peg slip the ring
of a measure. On one measure take 39 ft., and on the other 53 ft. ¾
in.; pull both taut, and the place where the two ends meet will be one
corner of the court. Put in a peg at 21 ft. from the net for the end
of the service-line. Next transpose the measures and repeat the same
process. This will give the other corner of the court, and at 21 ft.
will be the other end of the service-line, and one half of your court
is ready. Take exactly the same measures on the other side of the
net, and the measurement of your court is complete. The side-lines of
the single court are made by marking off 4 ft. 6 in. from each end of
the base-lines, and running lines parallel to the side-lines of the
double court from one base-line to the other. Everything necessary is
thus found except the central-line, which runs from the middle of one
service-line to the middle of the other. The posts of the net stand 3
ft. outside of the side-lines. If the court is intended for double play
only, the inner side-lines need not be carried farther from the net
than the service-lines. If a single court only is to be marked out, the
diagonal is about 47 ft. 5 in., instead of 53 ft. ¾ in.

_Net._—The net should be bound along the top with heavy white cotton
or duck, to the depth of two or three inches. Without this binding it
is very difficult to see the top of the net in a bad light. The most
important points in a net are that the meshes should be too small to
allow a ball to pass through them, and that the twine should not be so
large as to obstruct the view of the opposite court.

_Shoes._—There is little to say about shoes, although one’s comfort
depends a great deal on them. They should be a little too large, with
the toes square or round, but never pointed. Those made of buckskin,
with leather straps over the toes, are the most comfortable. For the
soles no rubber compares with steel points—_i.e._, small nails about
five-eighths of an inch long, driven into the sole of the shoe, and
protruding from it about one-quarter to three-eighths of an inch.
Points injure the ground less than rubber, as to a great degree they
prevent slipping. For gravel or asphalt the best soles are made of very
soft red rubber, which lasts a long time and is very easy to the feet.

_Balls._—Ayres’s balls are used at every tournament of importance in
England, and, while this is the case, it is necessary for tournament
players to practise with them, though those of some other manufacturers
are quite as good for ordinary play.

_Rackets._—The choice of a racket is an important matter, and it is
also a difficult one. Young players seem to take pleasure in selecting
the most extraordinary rackets in a shop. Let me strongly advise them
to avoid all unusual handles, heads, or methods of stringing. All these
eccentricities are useless at the best. Nothing is so good as the
simplest form of racket, possessing an octagonal handle, and strung in
the usual way. Such a racket is used by all the better match-players in
England. Opinions differ as to what the exact size of the head should
be, but it is certain that there is nothing to be gained by having
it square or triangular. Again, the edges of the rim should not be
bevelled. It only weakens the frame, while it does not increase the
size of the playing face of a racket in the smallest degree. A ball
must be hit almost exactly in the centre of the racket to make a stroke
at all, for, if hit so near the edge that the bevelled rim can affect
it, it cannot possibly go any distance.

As regards the proper weight of a racket, 14½ oz. is heavy enough for
any one. I know of only two of the well-known players who use heavier
rackets than this. I should advise any one learning to play to get a
racket of 14¼ oz., and he can afterwards get one of 14½ oz. should he
feel that his first one is too light. There can be no question that a
light racket can be more easily brought round than a heavy one, and is
more easily controlled in every way. On the other hand, a racket must
have wood enough in the frame to make it perfectly unyielding when
striking a ball, and must be heavy enough to give an effective stroke.
These conditions are fulfilled in a racket of 14¼ to 14½ oz.; a
lighter one loses something in power, and a heavier one is unmanageable
for most men. One meets from time to time a player with a racket of 15
or 15½ oz., who shows it with pride, and explains that his wrist is so
strong that he requires an unusual racket. As a matter of fact, such a
player seldom uses his wrist at all, but rather he should be thankful
for the advantage that a good wrist gives him, instead of handicapping
himself by using an absurdly heavy racket. Almost more important than
the weight of the racket is its balance. By balance is meant the way in
which a racket hangs in the hand. Many rackets of 14 oz. feel as heavy
as others of 14½ oz. There is only one way of judging the balance, and
that is by holding the racket by the end of the handle, as if in actual
play, and trying how it comes up, and if it feels light or heavy. If it
comes up heavily, discard it at once and try another. Should it feel
light and easily managed, weigh it yourself, no matter whether the
weight is stamped on it or not. It may be that it felt well balanced
only because it was too light for use; but should it be found to weigh
14¼—14½ oz., the balance of it must be good. You should look carefully
at the workmanship and see that the wood is free from knots and cracks.
The grain should run evenly round the whole frame. Look especially at
the parts of the hoop, just above the centre-piece, for there it is
that a racket usually breaks. See also that the wedge is quite firm.
Choose a racket in which the wood is left in the natural state, as
varnish, &c., is often used to conceal a flaw.

A racket should be very nearly, if not quite, straight For myself,
I prefer one with a very slight bend to one side, but I can give no
reason for doing so.

No player should have a racket that he cannot hold absolutely stiff
from the very end of the handle. It is essential that a racket should
be light enough for him to volley with it at the very end of his reach
without any yielding in his wrist. If his wrist is not strong enough to
stand this strain with a racket of the usual weight, it is better for
him to use a lighter one. Though losing something in the severity of
his strokes, he will gain enough in sureness to more than make up for

_How to hold the Racket_—One finds many different ways of holding the
racket among good players, and no exact rule has ever been received
as correct. Still, nearly all good players observe certain principles
in holding a racket. It is of the first importance that you should be
able to play a ball either fore- or back-handed without changing your
hold on the racket. If the hold is changed, there is always danger of
not getting the racket into the right position quickly enough. Such
a change must require a certain amount of time and attention, which
cannot well be spared in sharp play. The method that I should recommend
is as follows:—Lay the racket on a table with the smooth side up. Open
the hand with the thumb nearly at right angles to the fingers, and then
clasp the handle in such a way as to make its upper right edge (or what
would be its right edge if it were cut square) fit into the hollow of
the joint between the thumb and forefinger. In closing the fingers on
the handle, do not put them directly round it, but with the first joint
of each finger slanting up the handle, which will cause the top joints
to slant down the other way. The first two fingers should be a little
separated from the other fingers, and from each other. The end of the
handle should be well within the hand, with the little finger round
the leather rim. The thumb should not go round on to the ends of the
fingers, but should slope upwards across the upper side of the handle.



There are many ways in which the service can be delivered, but there is
only one in general use. This is the common overhand service delivered
from above the right shoulder, with or without twist on the ball.

To serve it, throw the ball up above the head as nearly as possible
to the height at which it is to be struck, and strike it as it pauses
before falling. Be careful to throw the ball well back and about on a
line with the ear. If it is thrown forward the service will probably
go into the net. In serving, the arm should be extended to almost its
full length, so as to get the greatest possible reach, and the shoulder
should be left free and not held stiff. When serving for speed only,
the face of the racket should be brought fairly against the ball with
no twist whatever, and the head of the racket should be made to come
over on the top of the ball by a sharp bend of the wrist. When trying
to put twist on the service, the racket should not meet the ball
fairly, but should pass round on the outside of it; this will give a
twist from right to left.

A very uncommon and difficult service can be given by throwing up the
ball a little to the left of one’s head, and carrying the racket round
on the left hand side of the ball, which will give a twist from left to
right. It is possible to put a heavy spin on the ball in this way, and
the service is effective, because it is very uncommon.

The next most important service is the underhand twist service
delivered either fore- or back-handed. To begin with the former, the
player should stand with the feet near together and his weight on the
right foot. The racket should be held nearly vertical and just to the
side of the right leg. The ball is dropped outside, and a little in
front of, the racket, which is brought forward against the ball, and
thus, by a quick inside turn of the wrist imparts a strong twist to it.
In striking, the weight is thrown forward on to the left foot, and a
short step forward with that foot is made to give pace to the service.
The service should not be delivered with a jerk, but by a quiet easy
swing; the only really quick motion being the turn of the racket round
the ball which gives the twist.

The backhanded underhand service is precisely similar, but is made on
the left side with the right foot forward. The ball is struck with the
rough side of the racket, and of course breaks from left to right.

There is only one other service that need be mentioned. The arm is at
right angles to the body, with the elbow slightly bent, and with the
head of the racket a little higher than the wrist. The ball should be
struck at the height of the shoulder, and the racket, after striking
the ball behind and a little on top, should open and pass forward
beneath it so as to impart pure cut to the ball. The ball does not rise
as much as with most services, and is often returned into the net when
the service is first tried. It is, however, useful only as a change
service, or to increase the chance of the ball’s shooting, on a wet

It should be distinctly understood that, in giving any service, the
weight of the body must be thrown forward at the time of striking;
otherwise no great speed can be obtained.

As the rule now requires the front foot to be on the base-line when
the ball is served, it is better to put the toe on the line before
serving. The weight of the body is held a little back, and is then
thrown forward as the ball is struck. It is not so easy to serve fast
in this way as it is by taking a step forward, but, on the other hand,
one seldom or never serves a foot fault.

Players too often forget the importance of placing the service. It is
very hard to make a good first stroke off a well-placed service, even
if it be a slow one. It is also important to conceal the direction of
the service as long as possible, so that one’s opponent may not know in
which corner of the court to expect it.

Having described the different kinds of service, we have next to
consider which of them should be used. The best working service is
probably the simple overhand service delivered without twist. It should
be placed down the central-line or across to the outer corner of the
court, and should be served as fast as possible. Should the first
service be a fault, it is the custom to serve again in the same way,
but at such a pace that there will be no danger of a second fault. We
are often told that a good player should cultivate a second service
which should be difficult to return, and at the same time should never
be a fault. I can only say that this is easier said than done, as no
one has yet succeeded in carrying it out. Again we are told that if a
player cannot serve a good second service, he would do better not to
try a very hard service the first time, but to serve a medium-paced
service which would be at once reasonably sure of going into court, and
yet be difficult to place on returning. I must dissent entirely from
this advice. I believe that in the single game and with good players
the service is a distinct disadvantage. The first service is oftener
a fault than not, and the second service can be placed almost as the
striker-out pleases. Why not then serve a medium service the first
time? Because no service, not even the very slow second service, can
be placed so sharply and accurately as a moderately fast one. It is
not fast enough to place the striker-out at a disadvantage, and yet
it comes back more quickly in the return than a slower one would do,
and therefore leaves the server less time to get into position for
the first return. Another difference, often overlooked, is, that a
player must “fix” himself to a certain extent to deliver a service of
even medium speed. He cannot, therefore, get into position as quickly
after a fairly fast service as after a slow one, and yet he will be
given less time to do so. Of course, he “fixes” himself for the first
very fast service, but, in this case, he expects to gain a distinct
advantage should his service be good. Off such a service it is very
difficult to make a good first stroke, and the server will probably
have a chance to come forward and finish the rest with a volley.

My own feeling is that the server must start at a disadvantage unless
he can deliver a severe first service. In any other case he must be
content to stay back, even outside his court, while his opponent is
forward, and his object for the time must be rather to save the rest[1]
than to win it.

[1] Or “rally” as it is sometimes improperly termed.

For a second service the forehanded underhand twist is useful,
especially when served into the left court. It is not in itself
difficult to return, but it keeps low, and will often twist a little
more or a little less than the striker-out expects, thus preventing him
from making a severe first stroke.

It sometimes pays to place such a service as near as possible to the
outer corner of the court, and to follow it up almost to the net. One
would think that there would be no difficulty in passing the server
as he comes forward, but it requires a very accurate first stroke to
do so. If the stroke is not well-placed, there will be a chance for a
sharp volley which should win the rest. It needs great quickness to
make such a volley, and no one should take such a risk unless he can
volley really well. In trying such a coup as this, he must take into
account what his chance of winning the rest will be if he gives an easy
second service and stays back. If he finds that he has been losing
twice out of three times on his second service, it is well worth while
to try going up, especially as it is very annoying to his adversary if
it comes off.

Many players have an idea that at 40-0 or at 40-15 it pays to serve
the second service at full speed, on the ground that at such a score
the risk is justifiable. This surely is a mistake. If the server keeps
to the game by which he has gained such an advantage he will probably
win one stroke in the next two or three. But if he sees fit to take
such liberties as to serve twice at full speed he will probably find
the score level before he knows it, and his opponent playing with
increasing confidence.

I should strongly advise a player to learn thoroughly the reverse
overhand service, not only that it is unusual and effective, but
because one looks to the left to serve it. You can in this way serve
overhand, no matter where the sun may be. With the sun on the right
the common overhand service is nearly useless, because the danger of
looking at the sun is so great. You may get the service over all right
and then be quite unable to see the return.



By first stroke is meant the return of the service. I may safely say
that more depends on this stroke than on any other. If the first stroke
is good, the striker-out should have a decided advantage; if bad,
he is almost at the server’s mercy. What the first stroke should be
depends on the service and on the skill of the opponent. Off a very
fast service it is difficult to make a good first stroke, because the
slightest mistake will be enough to send the ball into the net or out
of court. If, however, the first stroke is made exactly right, it is
more crushing in proportion to the speed of the service. The server has
had to fix himself to give a very fast service, and no time is left him
to recover for the return. The difficulty of a very severe return of a
very fast service is so great that it must be looked on as fortunate,
even among good players. It is always very hard to foresee in just what
place the service will pitch, and, therefore, the striker-out cannot
prepare himself for any particular stroke. He must be ready to return
the ball; that is the first point. For the rest, he must return it as
severely as he safely can, and into that part of the court where it
will most readily go. By this I do not mean that the service should be
returned purposely into the middle of the court, but every fast ball
is more naturally returned in one direction than in another, and all
I advise is that a very fast service should be returned into whatever
part of the court it is easiest to put it. If the first service comes
off and is very fast, it will almost always give the advantage, and
the striker-out must be content to yield the position and to play for

Very different is the case with the second service. The server is no
longer trying for an advantage, and the striker-out can choose the way
in which he will begin the attack. The server will now probably be
far back in the court—about the middle of the base-line or a little
behind it—and the chances are that he will succeed in returning the
first stroke, no matter where it may be placed. It would, therefore,
require an unusually severe stroke to finish the rest at once, and it
is running too great a risk to attempt such a stroke. The ball should
be played sharply down the side-line or across the court to the farther
side-line, so as to put the server on the defensive at the start. Of
this I shall speak more fully in treating of the “game”; at present I
shall only try to explain what strokes there are to use.

1.—The most common and, perhaps, the safest stroke is to play the ball
down the side-line into the corner, especially when the service has
been into the right court, as this brings the return into the backhand
corner, and few players are as good back- as fore-handed.

2.—One can also return diagonally across the court to the far corner.
This stroke should be played very hard, for if made slowly there is a
chance for an easy return. Moreover, if time is given him, the server
may come forward and meet the ball in the middle of the court and kill
it by a sharp volley. For this reason it is better not to play this
stroke if the server is coming up, but to play either Nos. 1 or 3.

3.—There is another stroke, and the most difficult of all. It is to
play the ball slowly across the court to the farther side-line. The
ball should strike the ground as near to the net as possible, so that a
player who is coming forward cannot reach it before it has bounded and
passed on across the side-line. If made correctly, there is no answer
to the stroke, except a half-volley. It is an essential part of the
stroke that it should be played very slowly, or else the ball must go
out of court.

4.—Sometimes, but very seldom, one has to lob the first stroke; for
instance, when the first service has been very severe, and the server
has followed it up close, one may be unable to make a good stroke to
one side of the court, and, if so, it is best to lob.

Again, the server will at times follow up his second service, and, if
he gets very close, the safest stroke will be a lob over his head into
the back of the court.



By stroke, I mean the motion with which a ball is returned off the
ground. Of course, all balls cannot be played in the same way; that
must depend on how they come, and on the hardness of the ground. As a
rule, however, a player can choose in which of two ways he will play
the ball. He can take the ball at the top of its bound, in which case
the head of the racket is held a little higher than the hand, and the
racket itself is nearly horizontal. The stroke is made with the forearm
and wrist, and the arm is straightened as the ball is struck.

The other method is to let the ball fall till within a foot or so of
the ground, and then, so to speak, to lift it over the net. The racket
is held upright, with the head a little back and the hand forward. The
ball is taken beside, and a little in front of, the right foot, and a
short step forward is made with the left. In striking, the racket is
raised, not from the shoulder, but from the elbow, and the wrist is
bent backward. The direction of the ball is given by turning the wrist
at the moment of striking, and for this reason it is very difficult
for one’s opponent to foresee where the ball will be put. I should
explain that the stroke is not meant to be a “slam,” but a quiet,
regular stroke, whose strength lies less in its speed than in its
accuracy, and in the difficulty of foreseeing its direction.

Of the two strokes I much prefer the second one. It gives one’s
opponent more time to place himself, but, on the other hand, one gains
both in accuracy and severity of stroke, and can also change the
direction of the ball at the last moment.

On a very hard ground the horizontal stroke is the more common, because
the ball rises so high that one would have to go very far back in the
court to play it with a vertical racket, and in doing so would lose his
position. On a slow ground, the chance for the second stroke occurs all
the time.



To become an adept at the game, the player must be able to volley well;
he must know how the stroke is made, and he must be able to make it,
no matter where the ball may come—high or low, right or left, straight
or dropping. One common principle applies to all volleys, namely, that
the ball must not be allowed to hit the racket, but the racket must
hit the ball, and a distinct stroke should be made. A step should
always be taken with the opposite foot, _i.e._, with the left foot in a
forehanded stroke, and with the right in a backhanded one.

As an example, take the ordinary forehand volley at about the height of
the shoulder (a very common stroke). The elbow should be away from the
body and not down by the side, the wrist a little bent upwards, and the
head of the racket above the hand. In striking, the weight is thrown
forward on to the left foot, which is brought out with a good step in
front of the right foot and a little across it. There is no preliminary
swing of the racket backward. The head of the racket should be brought
forward on to the ball with a sharp bend of the wrist, and the arm
should be straightened to nearly its full length. The racket should
not be checked suddenly after striking the ball, but should swing well
forward, and then by an easy motion the head will come up into the
left hand, where the centre-piece should always be carried between the
strokes. The elbow, shoulder, and wrist should all be left free, and
not held stiff while the stroke is made.

The backhand volley is made in much the same way. The elbow should be
raised and away from the body; the head of the racket should be just
over the left shoulder, and the stroke should be made by stepping
forward with the right foot, straightening the forearm, and bringing
the head of the racket sharply forward by bending the wrist. It is this
turn of the wrist at the last moment of the stroke that gives sharpness
and character to all volleys.

It is much easier to volley a ball at the height of the shoulder back
than forehanded, and it is worth while to remember this fact when
trying to pass a volleyer from the back of the court.

These two volleys are used with the ball from four to six feet from the
ground, both in coming forward from the back of the court, and, more
often, when already in position, and your opponent tries to pass you.
Both strokes are easy in themselves if the ball comes within reach and
if you can foresee on which side it is coming. The real difficulty lies
in getting into position for the stroke, and not in the stroke itself.

A more difficult ball to volley is one that is only a foot or so off
the ground. Such a ball is best volleyed forehanded, with a vertical
racket. The hand comes out directly in front of the body, and the
stroke is made almost entirely by the wrist. There should be little or
no swing of the racket beforehand.

A ball a little higher, that is, between waist and knee, cannot well be
volleyed in the same way. One must step to one side or the other to get
room to return it, and it is easier to play it backhanded. One should
step forward and bend well down to meet the ball and volley it with the
head of the racket a little above the hand.

A great deal of time is saved by these low volleys, and one is
sometimes caught while coming forward or going back in a position when
nothing else can be done. It is a stroke that a player should learn to
make as well as possible, but it is not one that he should use except
to gain an advantage by saving time, or when he can do nothing else.

We now come to a wholly different class of volleys, namely, those of
a dropping ball, as when a weak return is made off a fast service,
or more often when one player is lobbing to drive his opponent back.
In this class comes the “Smash,” which is simply a volley made very
hard, with all the joints of the arm free, so that as soon as the
stroke is started all control of the racket is lost. In a simple volley
the joints are not held stiff, but one retains control of the racket
throughout the stroke; in a smash one lets the racket go apparently at
random. It is not a stroke to play except when very close to the net,
and even then a more careful volley will usually be sufficient, and far

It is of this volley that I wish to speak, as the occasion for it
comes constantly. It must be made hard, it must be placed, and its
direction must not be shown till the last moment. Take the most common
case: you are just in front of the service-line, your opponent lobs
from the back of the court and the ball does not go very far beyond
the service-line. How are you to make the stroke? Of course the ball
may come in front or on either side, but it travels so slowly that you
can usually take it as you please, and it is best to do so forehanded.
You should stand with your feet slightly apart, and in striking should
take a short step forward, and a little across with your left foot.
The racket is held close to the body with the left hand round the
centre-piece till the ball comes within reach. Then lift the racket
quietly and strike without any swing backward; but the racket should
follow the ball after the stroke, and not be checked suddenly. The
whole stroke, from the time when the racket is lifted, should be made
without any pause. One often sees a player waiting for the ball with
his racket lifted; the effect is ridiculous, and, what is of more
importance, it is usually easy to tell where he means to put the ball.
The ball should be taken at about the same height as in service, but
decidedly more in front, because it is nearer the net. The wrist should
be bent forward at the end of the stroke to bring the head of the
racket down on top of the ball.

Any lob that comes near the middle of the court should be played
forehanded, but when a ball is much to the left of the central-line
it is better to play it backhanded, as it puts one too much out of
position to get on the other side of the ball. The stroke is played in
the same way as the forehanded one, except that the step is made with
the right foot and should be in front of the left, but not across it.

The easiest place to put the ball is into the backhand corner or
across to the farther side-line. Without taking his eyes off the ball,
the player can usually tell about where his opponent is, and can place
the stroke accordingly. In all such volleys he should make up his mind
just where he means to put the ball before he takes the step forward,
and he should not change it even if he sees that his intention is

No rule can be given for placing the volley, but in any case the stroke
should be severe enough to prevent the next lob from being as good as
the last. If you do not gain a distinct advantage by the volley you are
pretty sure to be worse off next time. It is worth while to take a good
deal of risk in such a stroke, for the moment that you begin to play a
lob faintheartedly, you will be passed or driven back in a stroke or
two. One’s object should be to kill the ball, if that be possible; if
not, to place it so as to get an easier stroke next time. If you can do
neither one nor the other, you had better not volley the ball at all,
but go back and play a defensive game from the base-line. If you cannot
attack you must be ready to defend yourself, and the place to do that
is not in the middle of the court.



The half-volley is the prettiest stroke in lawn tennis; it often saves
valuable time, and it helps one out of many difficulties. There is only
one remark more to be made about it, and that is, never play it if
you can possibly avoid it. Unless played exactly right, it will give
an easy return, and will allow your opponent to gain the advantage in
position if he did not have it before. If he did, it will probably give
him a chance to “kill.”

The worst part of the stroke is that it is a very fascinating one, and
it is, therefore, played a great deal too often, especially by young

The stroke consists in taking the ball just as it begins to rise after
striking the ground. It is simply a question of timing the ball. The
player cannot watch the ball as he strikes it, and he must trust to his
knowledge of the place where the ball will come. It is best made with
the racket as nearly vertical as possible, with a short step forward
and with a “lift,” or upward motion of the hand and forearm, at the end
of the stroke.

To return balls that have already passed, one should step across with
the opposite foot, and, stooping very low, should half-volley with a
snap of the wrist. In such a case the racket is nearly horizontal. The
great point is to time the ball so as to get it exactly in the middle
of the racket.

My advice would be never to use a half-volley if the ball could be
returned in any other way, and, if compelled to use it, to put pace on
the ball and play it as a fast stroke, and not as a slow one.



A lob is a ball tossed in the air so that it shall fall far back in the
court, and shall be out of reach of a player standing as far forward as
the service-line.

The object is, of course, to make a stroke that cannot be volleyed,
except from the back of the court, where the volley is seldom severe.

There are two kinds of lob—one with a low curve, tossed just high
enough to be out of reach, and the other tossed very high in the air
and meant to fall almost vertically.

The first kind is used only when one’s opponent is very far forward; in
fact, almost up to the net. The ball, being hit low, travels with some
speed, and therefore gives little time for a player to get back for it.

The other and more common kind of lob is used when one is at a
disadvantage, and is near the base-line or quite out of court. The
stroke is meant to gain time for one thing, and, if possible, to drive
a volleyer back. The higher the ball goes the more perpendicularly it
will fall, and the harder it will be to volley.

It is much easier to lob forehanded, and the ball should be taken well
in front of one, and to the right if possible. Always lob toward the
windward corner of the court, but if there is little or no wind one
should choose the backhand corner.

Remember that a lob must go back nearly to the base-line or it will
give an easy stroke.




_Section I._

In the preceding pages I have tried to give some idea of the different
strokes and of the manner in which they are made. My object now is
to take the game as a whole, and to show in what cases the different
strokes should be used.

Before this can be done, we must speak of the different styles of game
that one meets. I do not refer to garden-party lawn-tennis, but to the
styles of the best match-players only.

Seven or eight years ago no one thought of volleying a ball that could
be easily played off the ground. The game consisted of carefully placed
strokes of medium pace, and the result was long, tedious rests of
twenty, forty, and even eighty returns. The first change in this game
was caused by the present champion, Mr. W. Renshaw, who conceived the
idea of going forward almost to the net and volleying everything that
he could reach. This game, though brilliant, was not wholly successful.
The volleyer came too close to the net and gave too easy a chance for
the ball to go over his head, and probably, too, the volley was not
then of sufficient strength. The net was at that time four feet high
at the posts, and the angle at which a ball could be volleyed was more
restricted than now.

A year later Mr. Renshaw had changed his game in an important point;
he no longer came close up, but volleyed from the service-line, or a
little in front of it. Complete success attended him, and his style of
game soon came to be received as the right one, and to be generally

At that time the hitting from the back of the court was slow according
to modern ideas, and it was possible to follow up and volley almost
every ball without much danger of being passed. The introduction of
volleying brought about a change in the back-play. There was clearly no
use in careful placing if the volleyer was given time to get in front
of the ball. It thus became necessary to hit hard from the back of the
court as well as to place the return, and for the cases where this
could not be done, lobbing was brought into fashion.

The improvement in the back-play in its turn affected the volleying
game. With good placing and hard hitting it was no longer possible to
volley as many balls as before, and, as a rule, the volleyer tried to
make a severe stroke, which should put his opponent at a disadvantage
before coming forward to volley.

It is in this state that we find the game now. It seems a waste of time
to discuss the old question of “Volleying _v._ Back-play.” With the two
games pure and simple, and with no mixture of the two, I feel sure that
bad back-play will beat bad volleying, and that good volleying will win
against good back-play.

One does not, however, see good players confine themselves wholly to
either game. As I said just now, one cannot volley every ball, and one
needs to be able to make a severe stroke off the ground to get into
position to volley. This one can do only by skill in back-play. Every
well-known player of the present day believes that both back-play and
volleying are necessary for a successful game, and the question now is
not which to use, but how to mix the two.

I believe that the superiority of the champion lies mainly in the
completeness of his game, in his ability to play any kind of game that
may be required. Mr. Lawford no longer plays wholly from the back of
the court, but volleys a great deal, and very effectively too. The only
player who sticks completely to a back-game is Mr. Chipp, and he has
told me that he wishes that he could volley. On the other hand, perhaps
the most bigoted volleyer in the world is myself, and I wish most
sincerely that I knew how to take a ball off the ground.

It is not possible to lay down fixed rules for volleying certain balls
and letting others bound; were it so, all players would play the same
kind of game, and the difference between them would be only in speed
and accuracy. Every player must judge for himself if he can volley any
particular ball more effectively than he can play it off the ground.

Position is nearly everything in the present game, and a player’s first
object should be to get into his place; once there, the chances are
all in his favour. I do not mean that the player nearest to the net
has necessarily the best of it, that must depend on the last stroke
and on the place where his opponent is. If he comes up after making
a good stroke that has driven his opponent back to the base-line, he
has a great advantage, but if his last stroke has been slow and has
struck inside the service-line, he is almost certain to be passed, if
his opponent does not make a mistake. I cannot dwell enough on the fact
that there is no use in volleying unless a distinct advantage can be
gained by it, or, at the worst, that the back player must not have an
easier return than he had the time before. The moment that a volleyer
fails to make a severe or at least a well-placed stroke, he is at a
disadvantage, and would be better off in the back of the court than
where he is. It is seldom that the two positions can balance, so to
speak, and if a volleyer is not distinctly up, he is pretty sure to go
down. Of course I do not mean that every ball that is to be volleyed
should be smashed; far from it, but I do say that a volley should
always be played hard on to the base-line or across the court to the
side-line. If neither can be done, it is wrong to volley the ball at

Smashing I hold in great disrespect. As a rule, it is a most unsafe
stroke, and, when it can be played without risk, a hard volley will
generally be just as good. It is a great satisfaction, both to the
gallery and to the player himself, to see a ball smashed through an
umbrella or a parasol, but it is an amusement that should be strictly
confined to exhibition matches.

Do not volley a very low ball if you can possibly help it. For
instance, one is coming forward, and meets a slow return that has
passed just over the net and is dropping fast. Such a ball must be
volleyed upwards to cross the net, and it will therefore be impossible
to make a severe return, and the stroke itself is a difficult one. Let
such a ball bound, unless time is of unusual value. Off the ground you
will probably be able to make a stroke that will give you a greater
advantage than if you had volleyed the ball instead of waiting.

A difficult but useful stroke is the volleying a ball near the ground
in the back part of the court. The player is going back, or, more
often, coming forward, and meets the ball about half-way between the
base-line and service-line. If he can volley it fairly well he can
follow up his stroke, and gain the advantage in position which he must
have yielded in going back to take the ball off the ground. One saves a
great deal of time and of exertion by such a volley, but it is a stroke
that cannot be recommended to any except a good volleyer.

One of the hardest balls to volley well is a lob. It is easy enough to
return it over the net, but, as I have been trying to explain, there
is little use in returning a ball slowly into the middle of the court.
I do not believe that it is right to smash a fairly good lob, but I
think that it should be volleyed carefully, but still hard, far back
in the court, and, if possible, into a corner. There is a long time to
think as a lob drops, and many players lose heart and decide to play
for safety instead of trying to kill the ball. As a matter of fact, it
is safer to hit fairly hard, and the moment that a player begins to hit
gently, for fear of putting the ball out of court, he descends to a
lower level as a player and diminishes his own chance of success.

Speaking of returning lobs brings me to the question of lobbing, as
distinguished from low play. There is undoubtedly a prejudice against
lobbing, and a feeling that the low hitting makes the finer game. With
this I have nothing to do. I am simply looking for the best game that
one can play to win.

I believe firmly in low hard hitting down the lines or across the court
when one’s opponent is not quite in position, as, for instance, when
he is just coming up, or has had a hard ball to play and has not yet
recovered himself. If there is a good chance to pass him, try to do so
by all means. If you cannot pass him but can make a stroke that cannot
be volleyed hard, in fact, can only be stopped, try it, and the next
stroke you can probably pass him.

When, however, one is in the extreme back part of the court, especially
in the middle, the chance of passing a good volleyer seems to me to
be small. If one is in a corner of the court, one has two strokes to
choose from, one down the side-line and the other across the court.
If the volleyer does not foresee which stroke will be played, it is
unlikely that he can do more than save the ball. But, as just said, if
he is in the middle of the base-line, the angle at which the forward
player can be passed is very small, and the chances are that the ball
will be killed. In such a case I believe that it is good play to lob.
It is worth remembering this fact, that it is harder for your opponent
to pass you from the middle of the base-line than from the corners of
the court. With a strong back-player against you, if you do not get a
chance to make a severe stroke into the corner, and have got to return
the ball slowly, you will be safer if you return it to the middle of
the base-line.

A great objection to lobbing is, that much depends on the weather, and,
if there is a strong wind, it will be at a great disadvantage. Of
course the wind will affect low hitting as well, but not to the same
degree. When lobbing in a wind, always lob to the windward corner, as,
after all, the main point with a lob is to put it anywhere in the back
part of the court.

If you see that your opponent hesitates to hit a lob hard, be ready
to go in the moment the chance comes. It usually is easy to tell if
a player intends to stop a lob instead of hitting it, and it is well
worth while to take some risk in running up to volley his return. He
will probably be too far forward in the court to return your volley
well, even if he gets it at all.

If your opponent clearly does not play lobs well, lob whenever there
is the slightest doubt of passing him, especially if the sun is in
his eyes. If on the other hand he hits your lobs back hard into the
corners, it is better not to resort to them unless you can do nothing

After saying so much in favour of lobbing, I must add that, though I
use the stroke a great deal myself, I believe that a player should play
low, if any chance is given him to do so.

If you do play low, don’t play directly down the middle of the court if
your opponent is standing there. It is much better to take a greater
risk and play for the side-lines. Remember that it is usually easier to
pass a volleyer on his forehand side. Remember, also, that the easiest
ball to volley is one hit low and hard, because it comes in nearly a
straight line. For this reason, especially when a volleyer is coming
forward, the most difficult stroke that you can give him to volley
is one hit slowly enough to drop low before he can reach it. If you
can make him half-volley there will probably be a chance to come in

It seems to me a mistake to hit as hard as one can in trying to pass
a volleyer. One succeeds more often by accurate placing, and by
concealing the direction of the stroke till the last moment, than by
its actual speed. Of course, a fast stroke will give one’s opponent
less time to reach it, but the risk of the ball going into the net
or out of court is increased out of proportion to the gain. It is
surprising to see how easily a slow stroke will pass a volleyer if he
does not know on which side it is coming. Combined speed and placing
are perfection, but the placing should be cultivated first, and the
speed increased as one improves.

_Section II._

Let us now start as if beginning a game, and we will take the routine
points as they arise.

To serve: Stand nearly near the middle of the base-line, a yard, or at
the most two yards, from the centre. In this position there is a larger
angle, inside of which the service can be placed, than if you stood at
one end of the base-line, and, moreover, you are in better position to
meet the first stroke.

If your first service is a fast one and is good, follow it up if you
can, and volley the return. But remember that your volley must be
severe enough to put your opponent at a decided disadvantage, or he
will probably pass you with the next stroke.

If your first service is a fault, serve again more slowly. You cannot
put much speed into your second service, but you can place it. Try
to serve well back to the service-line, and place it so that your
opponent will have to play it backhanded, or step to one side before
returning it. I do not mean that this placing will produce any great
results, but it will tend to diminish the severity of the first stroke.
As soon as you have served, get back just outside of the court, or, if
the ground is low, stand on the base-line and a very little to the left
of the middle. The first stroke is more often put into your backhand
corner than anywhere else; few players are quite as strong backhanded,
and can, therefore, afford less time in reaching the ball.

One word as to position. It is impossible to start quickly if your
feet are parallel. Stand with the heels about a foot apart, the toes a
little turned out, and every joint slightly bent. The racket should be
close to the body, with the left hand round the centre-piece.

You are now on the defensive, and your opponent will, no doubt, have
come forward in front of the service-line. In this position, unless the
first stroke has been a weak one, you can hardly hope to win the rest
off your first return; it is rather a time to play for safety. If you
can do so with a fair chance of success, try a fast stroke down the
side-line. If your opponent fails to volley it well, you may hope to
pass him next time. I cannot advise trying to cross him on the first
return; he has had time to place himself, and if he is not deceived
about your stroke, he ought to kill it. If you see no good chance to
play down the lines, the best thing to do is to lob. Lob as high as you
safely can, so that the ball shall drop almost vertically. Stay back
outside of the base-line and wait for your opponent to volley your lob.
If he hits it hard, probably you can do little else than lob again. If
he simply stops it, you may be able to go in and pass him; if not, lob
again and go up and volley his return. This is a winning stroke if your
opponent is afraid to let out at a lob.

Where you cannot do this there is nothing to do except to lob until you
can get a chance to make a low stroke, off which you can get forward.

Don’t be too anxious to go forward, but if there is any chance to do
so, take it at once. Remember that in lobbing you are on the defensive,
and that you want to reverse the positions the moment you can.

To return the service, stand completely out of court if the ground is
fast; if slow, stand on the base-line. It is much better to be too far
back than not far enough. It is easy to come forward, and in coming
forward you naturally throw your weight into the stroke. When going
back it is very difficult to strike properly, because you have to stop
suddenly and throw your weight forward. You are seldom steady on your
feet when going back, and in any case your weight is not on the ball.

Do not go too far to one side to receive the service, for you may have
to step in either direction. One can actually reach farther backhanded
than forehanded, but few players can make the backhand stroke as well.

If the first service into the right-hand court is good, the best
working return is probably the one down the side-line into the backhand
corner. Follow the stroke up at once, and take your place a yard or two
in front of the service-line.

Your opponent may try to cross you; he may play down the side-line or
he may lob. The hardest stroke for you to return will be the one down
your right side-line, but most players find it a difficult return
to make, and prefer to play across the court. If you see that the
ball is coming across, step forward two or three paces and volley it
hard backhanded down into the forehand corner. If it comes down your
side-line, do not come farther up for it, but volley it back down the
same side-line, unless you are sure that you can play it across-court
before your opponent can reach it. All cross-court strokes, unless very
well made, are dangerous, as they allow one’s opponent to come forward,
and if he reaches them he will have the best of the position.

Should your adversary lob, walk slowly back with the ball and volley
it quietly, but hard, into the back of the court. Other things being
equal, the backhand corner is the best place into which to return a
lob. If your opponent lingers at all in the left-hand side of his
court, volley directly across to the forehand end of the service-line.

Don’t be afraid to hit a lob. There is really no half-way; if you don’t
make a good stroke off it, your opponent will probably pass you.

In making these suggestions as to the strokes to play in special cases,
I am going as far as I see my way to do in pure theory. For the rest, I
can only call attention to a few general principles.

Don’t stand still anywhere in the court. Keep in motion all the time,
for it is far easier to start quickly if you do not “fix” yourself.
The best example is a marker in a tennis or racket court; he seldom is
running, and yet he is almost always where the ball comes. A part of
this is no doubt due to his judgment, but a great deal comes from never
standing quite still.

Don’t slam at a ball. It is very common to see players “slog” at a
fault or at a ball that has struck out of court. It is a great mistake
and puts you off your stroke. A very common fault, if one is running
for a hard ball that can only just be reached, is to hit at it as hard
as one can. The chances are immensely against such a stroke going over
the net, while if the racket were simply held in the way the ball would
go back.

Don’t give up a rest till it is lost. Try to get the ball back even if
it seems to be useless. There is always a chance that it may be missed.

Don’t be deceived by a ball coming over the net, or striking inside the
court when you do not expect it. Take it for granted that every ball
must be returned.

Never drop a ball short. It is a very tempting stroke, and at times
very effective, but one loses a great many strokes in trying it. In
almost every case the ball could be killed as well by a hard stroke,
and the danger of putting it into the net would be much less. It is
very difficult to hit a ball so slowly that it will just go over the
net, and if it goes a little too far one’s opponent comes forward to
meet it, and can, as a rule, place it wherever he pleases. I play the
stroke at times, myself, and each time vow that I will never try it

A necessary part of a good player is decision, and the power of making
up his mind quickly. Nowhere is this so necessary as in following up
the service. If you mean to go up, don’t hesitate for an instant, take
the chances and go, and don’t stop half-way. Don’t go up a little way
and then wait to see what will happen; you will not be far enough
forward to volley, nor far enough back to play off the ground. It
puts you in a part of the court where you should never be, namely,
somewhere between the base-line and the service-line. The exact
position of this forbidden place depends on the speed of the ground.
It is at such a distance from the net that the ball comes to you just
above the ground, so that you are forced to make a difficult volley
or a half-volley. You are not in position for volleying and would be
better off farther back.

It is very hard to say exactly where one should stand to volley.
The typical place seems to me to be a yard or so in front of the
service-line, and, if anything, nearer still. The closer the player
is to the net, the less ground he has to cover. Imagine a player
standing on the base-line, and imagine a line drawn from him to each
end of the opposite service-line. These two lines represent the two
most widely-divergent strokes that he can make. If now you stand on
the service-line you have to cover 27 ft.; on the base-line 35 ft.;
half-way from the service-line to the net, 22 ft.; and at the net
only 17 ft. In reality, the amount of space you will have to cover is
less, as you cannot make a fast stroke without its going beyond the
service-line. Thus the nearer a player is to the net the less space he
leaves his opponent to place the ball in, but, on the other hand, the
quicker he himself must be to judge and reach the ball. It is a great
gain if you can volley the ball while it is still above the level of
the net, as it can then be volleyed downward. If you allow the ball to
drop much, you have got to volley upwards to get it over the net, and
there can be little severity in your stroke, which moreover itself is
a more difficult one to make. Again, the sooner you meet the ball, the
less time you give your opponent to recover from his last stroke and
to prepare himself for the return. For myself, I am always ready to
take a good deal of risk in order to stand near enough to make a severe
volley. If one’s opponent lobs much it is unsafe to go in close, as one
may have to run back for the ball.

In a word, it seems to me that each player must judge for himself
in what place he can return his adversary’s strokes to the greatest
advantage, and this place will not be the same against different
players. You can usually tell if your opponent means to lob, and I
believe that it is right to go in closer whenever one is sure that he
will not lob, and then fall back again to be ready for any stroke next

There is one more point to which I want to call attention. Suppose that
you have made a weak volley into the middle of the court and are at the
time well forward. Your opponent can probably put the ball about where
he pleases. What should you do? Get back by all means if you can, for
that is better than staying up with the chances against you. If you
can’t do that, stay and fight it out, but remember that there is no use
in standing still in the middle. Your opponent can put it either side
of you. Wait till he has made up his mind, and then go to one side or
the other. Even if you have no idea to which side you ought to go, it
is still an even chance that you will choose the right one. In such a
case it is the only chance that you have, and if your opponent sees
you going the right way he may miss his stroke in trying to change its



Match play is always a very different matter from simple practice. The
excitement and anxiety affect nearly all players; some more, some less.
The majority, I fancy, play worse in a match, while a few players need
the interest of a match to make them play their best.

Then the question of endurance comes in, which in practice is of very
little importance, as you can stop playing when you feel tired. A
match, moreover, is in itself more exhausting, as you can seldom afford
to drop your game to rest yourself, and the anxiety tells greatly on
your wind. A player who often plays six or seven hard sets in practice
may feel utterly out of breath in the first set of a match, mainly from
excitement. The more he plays the less he will notice the difference
between practice and matches.

A great difference, too, lies in the fact that a player, being anxious,
is afraid to play his game, and tries only to get the ball back. This
is a very great mistake, but it is much easier to tell him to play as
he usually does than for him to do it. Almost the first advice that I
should give to any one who was going into his first match, “Try to play
just as you would in practice.” If he cannot win by playing his usual
game, he will, as a rule, play worse instead of better by changing it.
It may prove, of course, that you cannot win with your usual style of
play. In such a case, try something else by all means, but don’t do so
until your own game has been fairly tried.

If you are winning, be still more careful to hold to the same game. One
often sees a player at forty-love serve fast twice or try a slashing
stroke or two. It was not by such play that he reached forty-love. If
he keeps to his game he ought to win one stroke in the next three, but
who knows what may happen if he tries experiments?

The same thing is done at four games-love, at five games to one or
two, or at any such score, and the player who is ahead is often justly
rewarded by losing the set.

Another player will be tempted in the opposite way. He gets a good
lead, and, to make sure of the set, begins to play a very cautious
game. The moment he does so he is playing a weaker game. His real
game gave him his lead, but that does not show that he can hold his
advantage unless he plays as well as he has been playing.

I saw one of the great matches last year lost in just this way—by a
desire to make too sure. In conclusion I can only say that each one
should play the game that he can play best, and let him have the
courage to stick to it, whether he is ahead or behind.

My object in speaking of match play is less to suggest any special
game than to point out certain advantages that are constantly thrown

First, as to the toss. A coin is better than a racket. More rackets,
I feel sure, come up rough than smooth. If you win the toss, go into
both sides of the court, and observe carefully how the light comes, the
wind, the background, the ground itself, and the amount of room round
it. Do not forget that the sun will move a good way during five sets,
and it may be possible to get the best side twice in succession.

When playing the best of five sets, take the best court, unless there
is some special reason against it. If the worst court will be much
worse than it is in half-an-hour, it pays to take it first. One may
win the first set in it before it gets too bad, and should then have
a certainty of the second and fourth sets. If the first set should be
lost, the second and fourth sets should bring the score level, and no
harm would have been done.

If a player takes the best court first he is sure of having it twice in
a match, and he stands more chance of winning three sets to love. If
the court decides the set, he will have the lead all through till the
fifth set, and even then will have it for the first game.

In matches that are the best of three sets you have to take each court
once, and, if there is a difference in the light, I believe that it
pays to take the worse court first. You do not feel the light nearly
as much then as you do after changing from the better side, and your
opponent does not appreciate the advantage that he has. If the light is
so bad that you lose the first set, you ought to be as sure as ever of
winning the second. The only exception is in playing against a young
or fainthearted player, who will be so much encouraged by winning
the first set that he will be harder to beat the second. It is a safe
choice against any old match-player, as he will understand the case

With a wind blowing up and down the court, it pays best to play the
first set with the wind. One gets into one’s stroke better in this
way, and, on changing sides, it is easier to hit harder than to keep a
constant check on one’s self to avoid hitting out of court.

In knocking up before a match, always take the court with the sun in
your eyes, so that, if you lose the toss, you will be accustomed to the
sun, and will not have to change from good light to bad. If you win the
toss, you will feel the advantage of the light all the more.

It is now very common to change sides every game of the whole match.
Should you wish to do so, do not forget to appeal before tossing, or
else it can be done in the odd set only.

If you fancy yourself to be a stronger player than your opponent, it is
better to change sides every game of the match, or else he may win two
sets with the help of the better side, and then everything will depend
on the odd set.

If you change sides every game, and are really better than he, you
should be able to win every set, or, at least, three sets out of four.

If your opponent is better than yourself, on no account change sides if
you can help it. Try to win two sets in the good court, and trust to
luck for the odd one. There is always far more chance that the worse
player will win any particular set than that he will win two in three
or three in five if the conditions are equal.

In one word, if you are the better player, do all that you can to
exclude luck from the game, because, if there is no luck for either
side, you will probably win. If luck is to come in, no one can say who
will get the best of it.

The next point to consider is the service. With duffers the service
is an advantage, because the striker-out misses so many balls, or, at
least, returns them weakly. With good players, I believe the service to
be a decided disadvantage. On a good ground almost every service can be
returned. The first service, if fast, seldom comes off; if of moderate
speed, it can be returned with ease. A second service should leave the
striker-out free to do what he chooses with it.

I should, therefore, always give my opponent the service if I could,
unless sides were to be changed every game. In this case the service
will always come from one end, and if you lose the toss you can choose
from which end.

Against the sun and wind most services will be weak; therefore, if you
serve better than your opponent, put the service with the sun and wind.
If he serves better than you, you can diminish his advantage by putting
the server in the worst court.

If you can serve the reverse overhand service, always put the server
against the wind and sun. This service will twist more against the wind
or going up hill, and the ordinary service will suffer. Moreover, in
serving it, one looks to the left, and can often keep the sun out of
one’s eyes when one’s opponent will have to face it.

Should there be a slope in the court, a fast service down hill will be
unusually severe. If you are playing a weaker man, put the service up
hill; if a stronger serve down hill.

The present rule of changing sides at the end of every game works
rather absurdly in one way, as it is a disadvantage to win the toss.
It is seldom that a player has not a decided preference for serving
from one end rather than from the other, and his opponent will probably
prefer the opposite. It is a small advantage to have the better court
for the first game, compared with the arrangement of the service. If
the winner of the toss chooses the court, his opponent can make him
serve or serve himself, as he prefers to have the service come from
one end or the other. If the winner chooses to serve he can be put in
either court that his opponent sees fit. If you are unlucky enough to
win the toss, take the service, if you want the service to come from
the worst court, and your opponent may prefer to let it be so rather
than to give you the best court. If you want the service to come from
the best court, make him serve so that he shall have to choose the
worst side to prevent it.

A good instance of the value of the toss happened to me last season. In
a double match I lost the toss; my opponents, after consulting, came to
me, and offered me the choice on the ground that it made no difference
to them. I naturally answered that they had won the toss, and could
choose what they liked, but that they must choose something.

The whole matter is complicated by the question of endurance. A
five-set match will last two hours, and if the players are evenly
matched, condition will make a great difference. What, then, is the
best thing for the player who is physically the weaker to do to
diminish his opponent’s advantage?

If there is some difference between the sides, but it is still quite
possible to win on either, I should advise the weaker player to change
sides every game, else he may exhaust himself in trying to win on the
worse side. Besides, he is more likely to win three sets-love. Instead
of this, when the difference is distinct, but not very great, he may
take the worst court and try to win the first set in it while he is
still fresh, and then play for the second and fourth sets on the good
side. If he is rather a better player than his opponent, he will stand
a good chance to win the first set, and he should then have a great
advantage, if he only takes care of himself. If he is rather the worse
player as well as the weaker, he had better play for two sets on the
better side and for the fifth, for he probably cannot win on the worst
side, and will injure his chance for the last set if he tries to.

If the difference between the sides is very great and the players about
equal, I think that the weaker man should not change sides every game
if he can help it. Here, too, his best chance is to win two sets easily
and hope for the fifth. If he changes sides, the games may be won
alternately by the help of the court, and the sets may be very long.

Of course, the interest of the more enduring player is exactly the
opposite. He should prolong the match as much as possible, and when
on the worse side should play up all that he can, so as to tire his
adversary, even if he cannot win.

A great deal of judgment is requisite to decide when to let a set go.
One’s adversary is seldom as easy to beat after he has won a set as he
was before, and I think that “chucking” a set is a luxury that should
be indulged in very seldom, and only when playing up would spoil one’s
chance in the other sets.

A player should never play slackly because he fancies the set won.
Every game that he loses encourages his opponent, and also makes it
harder for himself to get back to his old game. There is no score at
which a set is safe till it is won.

On the other hand, never give up a match till it is lost. I have seen
the score two sets to love and five games to two, and the player who
was ahead lost the match. It is always worth while to try for one more
game. Try to learn to play up the whole time, unless it is absolutely
necessary to ease off to save your wind.

I wish to call particular attention to the fact that it is a great
mistake to attempt to return the service till you are sure that you are
ready. Your opponent will often serve as soon as your face is turned
towards him, and there is a strong temptation to return the ball. In
such a case you are not really ready. You should take time enough to
get to your place, and get your feet under you and your eyes fixed on
your opponent. If he serves too soon, let the ball go by untouched, and
do the same thing on the second service, and on every other service for
which you are not perfectly ready.

When you go in to volley, and you see the ball coming to you, make up
your mind in time where you mean to put it. I have often lost a stroke
by being too slow in deciding, and having to think where the ball
should go at the time that I ought to have been playing it.

Often when a player is about to volley a ball to kill it, he sees his
opponent going to the spot where he intends to put the ball. Ought he
to change his mind and put it elsewhere? I think certainly not. It is
better to trust to the original stroke; if he changes he will probably
make a weak stroke or miss altogether. This does not apply to cases
where he sees his opponent going to one side or the other before he has
made up his mind. He should then, of course, play to the unprotected

Watch your opponent playing beforehand if you can. Few players have no
weak points, and it may be of great service to you to know his.

Be careful to get thoroughly warm before you go into court. Without
this precaution, one is very apt to lose the first game or two, which
perhaps one can ill spare. Every man must judge for himself how much
warming-up he needs, for he must not carry it to the extent of tiring
himself at all before a long match.

Do not neglect to find out who is to umpire for you, and if you think
him incompetent, object to him before the match. It is sufficient if
his manner is annoying to you, as you need all your attention for the

You will be constantly umpired out of games, and even matches, and the
annoyance is much less if you feel that you have done all that was in
your power by having good men to umpire.

Learn in a match to say nothing about the decisions, and to think of
them as little as possible, else one bad decision may lose you many

Be careful about the minor details of the game. See that your racket
does not want a new string and that there is no nail at the end of the
handle that may hurt your hand. Have a second racket ready in case of
accidents, and have it as like the first as possible.

Look to your shoes, and see that there are enough points in them, and
that they are not clogged up with dirt.

If you want something to drink in a match, brandy with a little water
in it is the best thing; soda is too bulky. A slice of lemon is very
pleasant in hot weather.

If the handle of your racket slips a little, lemon-juice rubbed on it
makes it easier to hold. With an octagonal handle, I believe that any
slipping of the racket arises from some fault in the way in which it is

As to eating and drinking, I believe in living just as one is in the
habit of doing, using stimulants and luxuries in moderation.

Perhaps the most important matter is sleep. Going to bed at two and
sleeping till ten is by no means the same thing as getting eight hours
sleep earlier in the night. It has come to be a well-recognised fact
that one cannot go to a ball and play matches the next day.



I do not intend to discuss different ways of playing the double game,
such as one man at the net and the other back, &c., because at the
present time there is only one style of game among good players.

Both men should stand a yard or two yards in front of the service-line,
and each near enough to his own side-line to prevent his being passed
on that side. I do not mean that each player should have a spot in the
court where he should stand, for then it would be easy to put the ball
between the two players or outside of either of them.

When waiting for the return of the service, the player on that side
should keep well out to defend his own side-line, and his partner (the
server) should come up near enough to the middle-line to prevent the
ball from passing between them. This principle applies more or less to
all cases where the return is to come from a spot near a side-line.
When the ball is in the middle of the court, each player of the other
side should stand about the middle of his own court, and, as in the
single game, should fall back a little if he expects a lob, and come
forward a little to meet a low ball.

One great difference between the single and double games is that in the
double the court is more fully covered, as there are only eighteen feet
for each player to defend, instead of twenty-seven. The result is that
it is much more difficult to place a ball where it cannot be reached,
and one has to hit harder to kill than in the single game.

It is hard to say just where the server should stand to serve, but it
should not be so near the middle as in the single game, because he has
more space to cover on one side and none on the other. Perhaps the best
place is about the middle of his own half of the base-line, but it is
rather a matter of taste.

His partner should stand on the other side of the court just in front
of the service-line, and near enough to the side-line to make it
impossible for the ball to pass him on that side. There is hardly
anything that discourages a player so much as to see his partner leave
his side-line unprotected.

The server should follow up his service at once, so as to volley the
return. If he serves a fault, let him serve again very slowly and up
in the air, so as to give himself time to get to the service-line and
into position before the return can reach him. If he serves a ball of
medium pace he will probably have to volley while on the run, and the
return may strike the ground in front of him so that he will have to

The striker-out takes the service in about the same position as in the
single game. His partner should stand a little behind the service-line,
and near the middle of his court, so as to have a chance of saving the
ball should the striker-out make a weak return of the service. If the
service is well returned, he should run forward into his place, which
is about a yard in front of the service-line, and near enough to his
own side-line to protect it. If the first service is a fault, he should
go forward at once, as his partner should have no trouble in dealing
with the second service, and he himself needs to be in his own place
for the opponent’s first return.

Where should the return of the service be placed? A fast service
should always be placed across court, because the server’s partner is
standing in front of the striker-out, and has a much better chance
to make a severe volley than the server who is running up. A second
service can be played in several ways. The server has no doubt followed
up his service, and if he has served slowly enough he will be up to
the service-line, and both sides of the court will be covered. Still,
one can often put the ball between the two players so that neither
can get it easily, and I fancy this stroke most for a return of the
second service. You sometimes, of course, get a chance to play down
the side-line, because your opponent on that side has come in too far
toward the middle of the court.

If there seems to be no opening, one may be able to make a slow stroke
that will drop enough to force a half-volley. If such a stroke is
too difficult, the best thing to do is to hit directly at one of the
opponents, for a ball that comes directly at one’s body is seldom as
easy to volley as a ball a little to one side.

You can also try playing to the side of the court so as to force one of
your opponents out to the side-line, and thus make a gap between him
and his partner.

A very pretty stroke off the second service is to play the ball very
slowly directly across the court almost parallel with the net. The
ball should strike just inside the side-line. This can be done only
when the service bounds high and not far back in the court. It is an
essential part of the stroke that it should be made slowly, or the ball
must go out of court. The server has not time to get forward before the
ball touches the ground, and if he returns it at all it will usually be
by a half-volley.

When all four players are in position for volleying, one is often
puzzled where to put the ball, as there seems to be no place left
vacant for it. The same principles apply here as in the return of the
second service, except that the server has had time to place himself.
You must work for an opening by driving one of your opponents out of
place, or you must try to make one of them half-volley, which may give
a chance for a smash, or must simply keep on returning the balls and
trust that a mistake will give you the opportunity to kill which he
cannot make for yourself.

Against weaker players one can well afford to take no risks and wait
for a chance, but against better players this will not prove a winning
game, and it will pay to try to make an opening better than to wait for

A player should try to keep far enough forward to volley before the
ball can drop, for if he is forced to half-volley he is almost sure to
give his opponent a chance to kill.

One can smash more safely in the double game, because the court is
larger. It is also necessary to volley harder to kill than in the
single game, as the court is more fully covered.

Should you make a weak stroke from the back of the court, as, for
instance, a short lob, both you and your partner should fall back to or
behind the base-line and try to save the ball.

The great difficulty of the double game is to divide the play properly
between the two partners. The question is not of letting each one play
the same number of balls, but simply of allowing each to take those
which he can play to the greatest advantage.

With both men in position for volleying, each player of course takes
the balls on his own side; the trouble is simply about those between
them. The simplest rule and the best is to let the partner who
played the last ball play the next. He knows best where the return
will probably come, and his eye is in for it. I fully believe in the
teaching of the Champion, that a player should be allowed to finish
a rest if he can. That does not mean that he is to rush all over the
court, but that he is to take all the doubtful balls. A player feels
the wisdom of this rule when he has been watching his partner play
several strokes in succession, and is suddenly called on to take a fast
volley himself. He does not know where nor when it is coming nearly as
well as if he had played the ball before it.

This shows us another principle of double play. Keep hammering at
one man, if he is at a disadvantage, as thus you can probably gain
something with each stroke. If, however, he is on equal terms with you,
after he has played several strokes hit hard at his partner, who is
often unprepared.

It is well to have some understanding between the two partners as to
which shall take doubtful balls, where the principle before explained
does not apply. If one player is better than his partner it is right
to allow him to play all such balls.

If the sun is across the court, one player can see such balls much more
clearly than the other, and this should be recognised and arranged for

The two players are seldom at the same distance from the net, and if
there is a chance to smash a ball the more forward player should take
it, if the ball comes near him. With high balls, the player to whom
they come forehanded is usually the one who should take them, and that,
of course, is the one on the left side.

On the other hand, with low diagonal strokes, it is best to let the
player towards whom the ball is crossing the court, play it. It is
usually within the other player’s reach, but he will probably find it
a difficult stroke, and will gain nothing by taking it himself. For
instance, if the service is returned from the right court into the
right court on the other side, the left-hand player can usually reach
and return it, but he will do better to leave it for his partner who is
coming forward to meet it. Cases of this kind occur constantly and lead
to a great deal of trouble.

This brings me to the practice called “Poaching,” _i.e._, taking balls
that should be played by one’s partner.

You may often see a ball which you feel sure that you can play better
than your partner, although it is not on your own side of the court. My
advice would always be—“Don’t touch such a ball!” To reach it you must
go across the court, and your own side is left unprotected, so that if
you fail to kill the ball you probably lose the rest. Moreover, if your
partner is as good a player as yourself, he ought to be left to play
the ball; if he is not good, it is a mistake to let him see that you
do not trust him. It will cost you more strokes than you will gain by
taking his balls.

The only time that it seems right to me to cross is when there has been
a very weak return made, and you feel sure that you can kill the ball,
and at the same time feel sure that your partner is too far back to
reach it in time to do the same thing.

With this exception, never go in front of your partner; it destroys his
confidence, and he never knows when he will be called upon to play.

There are a great many balls between the two players which one of
them can certainly play better than the other, and yet the wrong one
will often take them. In such cases it is simply a mistake; it is not
poaching in the real sense of the word. One often takes such balls
instinctively, and often, too, one is a bit farther forward than one’s
partner, and cannot tell if it is safe to leave the balls to him.

There is certainly a lot of poaching done, and a sufficient reason for
avoiding it is that it really does not pay.

On the other hand there is a lot of nonsense talked about poaching,
where it is simply jealousy between the two players.

When a player cannot forgive his partner for taking a ball that he
should have left to him, especially where it is simply a mistake of
judgment, he is not himself a fit partner to play with.

Another great mistake is to find fault with your partner’s play.
It never does any good, and it either makes him lose his temper or
discourages him. If he misses an easy stroke, remember that you might
have done the same, and if he makes a good one give him the credit of

If your partner is going to play a stroke, keep away a little and give
him room. If he hears you coming up behind he may think that you mean
to take the ball, and, in any case, hearing you so near may take off
his attention.

Be careful to play up as well as you can all through a double match.
You may be able to pull yourself together after some slack play, but
you may have got your partner so discouraged that he cannot play at
all, so that you will lose the match and it will be nobody’s fault but
your own.

This applies also in cases where your partner lacks endurance. Remember
that he may be of little assistance to you at the end of a long match,
and you should never by any carelessness of your own, give your
opponents a chance to prolong the game.



It seems fitting to say something of these matches since most
tournaments give prizes for them, but it is very hard to give any
definite advice as to the best method of playing them. It depends so
much on one’s partner, and on the strength of one’s adversaries.

It may be taken for granted that the lady is not as strong a player as
her partner, and the game therefore consists in protecting your own
partner and attacking your adversary’s.

As to the choice of court and service, the same principles apply as in
doubles, except that the service is worth taking, as one expects to
gain an advantage when serving to the lady.

It is perhaps best to put your partner in the left court, as the
service will not come so hard to her there as in the other court.
Besides, you have more chance of winning the first stroke if you play
it yourself, and it is encouraging to have the lead.

The way in which the game is usually played is for the lady to stand on
the base-line and nearly at one end of it, so that she can easily reach
any balls on that side of the court. The man looks after the rest of
the court, and does any volleying that is to be done. The lady’s part
of the work is simple enough in theory; she takes all the strokes in
her part of the court, and also saves, as far as she can, any balls
which her partner fails to reach.

What the man should do is harder to say. My own idea is about as

If the service comes to the man, he should return it hard to the lady
opposite, and then follow up to volley her return. In coming forward he
should not take the middle of the court, but should keep towards his
own side, so that there shall be little danger of her passing him down
his own side-line, and also so that his partner may know which side of
the court she is to cover.

Supposing that the ball is returned to his partner, the man should not
stay forward, or he will leave her to play the whole game against both
the adversaries, but he should go back to her assistance till he gets a
chance to come forward again.

She, in her turn, has to get the ball away from the man on the opposite
side, who has no doubt come forward; and, if she fails, she and her
partner must try to save the stroke as best they can. If she succeeds
in passing the man opposite, there probably will be a chance for her
partner to go forward and volley.

If the man is serving, he should follow up a severe service if he
possibly can. For the return of a second service it is better for him
to stay back at or about the middle of the base-line, for he can play
most strokes better than his partner, and if he goes forward on a weak
service the ball will probably come to her.

With both players back in the court, the lady at the corner and the man
at the middle of the base-line, he should leave her to play all the
balls that come to her. If he takes his partner’s balls, as many do, he
must leave his side of the court wholly unprotected, and he is unlikely
to gain enough to justify the risk.

If the ball comes to the man, his natural return is to the corner where
the lady is standing. If her partner has come forward to volley there
should be little difficulty in passing him in a double court, and if he
gets out into the middle it may pay to try to pass him on the side away
from his partner.

It is so easy to pass a volleyer in a 36 ft. court, that there is not
much use in coming forward unless the last stroke has been to the lady,
or has been unusually severe.

A man should take more risk in volleying than in the double game,
because his partner is unable to do her share of the play, and he can
at times go across the court for an easy ball. He should not, however,
do this often. He leaves the space behind him unprotected, and is apt
to lessen his partner’s confidence.

In cases where he does go across, there should be a distinct
understanding as to the place in which his partner should stay. She can
either stay where she is, while he goes back to his own side after the
stroke, or she can cross and he stay on her side. The latter would, I
believe, be the better plan for partners who played often together. The
lady has more time to get across the court because she can start as
soon as she sees that her partner means to cross himself. In spite of
this advantage, I should prefer with most partners to have the lady
always keep her own side and the man go back to his, after crossing for
a stroke.

If there is no arrangement, the man may be afraid to leave any ball
after he has once gone across, because he cannot spare time to see
where his partner is.

The amount of risk that should be taken to reach a ball to volley
varies with the strength of the adversaries and with the chance of
winning the match. If your partner is not as good as the lady opposite,
the match must be lost unless you can make up for her weakness. Again,
if the man against you is one of the great volleyers, the ball must be
kept away from him at any risk. If you let the ball go back to your
partner he will get more chances than you can afford to give him. In
such a case I feel sure that it is right to go across to volley on the
least opportunity.

On the other hand, if your partner is really good, don’t be afraid
to trust her; give her plenty of room and don’t worry her. If she is
better than the lady opposite, you should play a safe game. Cover your
own side and she will win, unless the man against you is an unusually
good player.

A very good example took place in some scratch pairs last summer. A
very good player drew a lady who could not hit a ball over the net.
Against him was a good middle-class player who had one of the best
partners that he could have. If the man would have stayed quiet, this
pair would certainly have won. Instead of that, he kept getting into
the middle of the court, only to be passed down his own side-line.



In the chapter on match play, I have already spoken of umpires. It is
a subject that is always leading to trouble, and a great deal of the
trouble is unnecessary.

We all know how hard it is to umpire, and that an umpire gets little
thanks if he makes no mistakes, and a great deal of blame if he is
wrong. You will often be asked to umpire, especially if you umpire
well, and I think that you owe it to your friends to umpire if you can.

The great secret is attention. Watch the ball the whole time. Do not
watch a line, for if the ball crosses it suddenly you will not know on
which side of the line it struck the ground. If you follow the ball
only, you will see where it strikes, and can then tell on which side of
the line.

Do not call “play,” nor “good,” nor anything else, unless the ball is
out, and then call sharply and loud enough to make it impossible for
the players not to hear. If you are appealed to in the middle of a rest
and are unable to decide, call “play it out,” and at the end of the
rest you can give your decision if one is necessary.

Do not call until the ball has touched the ground, and then call as
quickly as possible.

Remember that an umpire is an unfortunate necessity, and his first
object should be to make himself as little conspicuous as possible, and
to annoy the players as little as he can. What the players want is an
umpire who will attend to the game and will give an honest decision as
quickly and distinctly as possible. They do not want any fancy umpiring
done at their expense.

About the worst umpire that there can be is one who is trying to show
off his umpiring. I believe myself that players are as a class the best
umpires. They are more used to watching the ball, and will, therefore,
see it more correctly. Besides, they understand better what the players
look for in an umpire.

It is your duty to keep the net at the right height, and you should
arrange it before play begins, and from time to time afterwards, but
don’t get down to look at it in the middle of a game, unless it is
absolutely necessary. Look to see that the inside posts are in place,
if any are needed, and that they are not there for a double game.

Enforce the rules strictly. It is not for you to discuss them during a
match, but simply to take them as they stand. The moment that you relax
them you have no guide left. Be careful to find out beforehand how many
sets are to be played, and if they are vantage sets or not. In case of
any question arising about the rules, send at once for the referee.

No matter at what height you stand, it is impossible to see the
farther side-line properly; and the same is true in a smaller degree
of the base-lines. It is nearly impossible to call foot faults and to
watch the service-line too. You, therefore, need at least three line
umpires. If you cannot get men whom you can trust, it is better to
umpire the base-lines yourself. It is a mistake to let a man take the
side-line and one of the base-lines too. He will have to stand away
from both lines, and in such a place he cannot see the base-line as
well as you can yourself, and he cannot umpire the side-line really

If a line umpire cannot decide a stroke on his own line—as when a
player comes between him and the ball, or for any other reason—give
your own decision, if you are sure that you could see the stroke; if
not, direct it to be played again.

If the same thing happens on one of the lines that you are taking
yourself, you can appeal to one of the line umpires, if he is in a
place where he could see the ball. On no account appeal to the gallery,
for you are certain to get both decisions.

If one of the players in a case of doubt tells you that he lost the
stroke, you should take his word for it, as he is almost certainly
right. You have no right to ask him, and he is under no obligation to
say anything, but if, of his own accord, he gives the stroke, I can see
no reason why it should be played again.

If the players agree, their decision should certainly be taken.



Odds are of two kinds—“given” and “owed.” When odds are given, one
player starts at love and his opponent at fifteen, thirty, &c. If odds
are owed, one player is love and the other behind scratch, so that he
must make one or more strokes before his score reaches love. There is
one other difference between the two kinds of odds. With given odds,
the larger odds are taken in the even-numbered games, and, with owed
odds, in the odd-numbered games. The object is to distribute the odds
as evenly as possible through the different games in cases where odds
are both owed and given.

For instance, suppose A. owes B. half-fifteen and gives him
half-fifteen also. In the first game A. starts at owe fifteen and B.
at love; in the second game A. is love and B. fifteen. Were it not for
this provision the first games would start at love-all and the next at
owe fifteen-fifteen.

Handicaps are now so general that something may well be said of the
game to play when giving or taking large odds. If a player is receiving
large odds, he must remember that his opponent is probably a much
better player than himself. If, then, he plays a cautious game and
tries mainly not to make mistakes, his opponent will win nearly every
stroke. The receiver of odds ought to play as bold a game as possible.
He should hit hard and take every chance of making a stroke that cannot
be returned. Let him give the same odds to some weaker player, and he
will soon find how difficult it is to give them if his opponent plays a
fast game. Against a player who hits hard and takes the chances one is
apt to make more mistakes than one can afford.

The reverse is true if a player is giving large odds. He cannot afford
to play as free a game as he would if playing level. If he can make
any particular stroke that will win the rest twice in three times,
he will win easily against an equal, but if he is giving very large
odds he cannot afford to lose even one stroke in three. In such cases
the better player can afford to take no risks whatever, and must play
wholly for safety. If the odds are very small, he should play the same
game that he would when playing level, and between these two extremes
his own judgment must guide him in deciding what style of game to play.

There is little to say about odds in themselves, as it is settled by
law how they shall be taken; thus fifteen is one stroke given at the
beginning of every game of a set, and no judgment can make it anything
else. There is, however, one important exception, the bisque.



A bisque is one stroke given in each set of a match, either by itself
or to increase or diminish other odds. In other words, a player to whom
a bisque is given can at any time in the set add one stroke to his
score simply by claiming it. The only restrictions are that a bisque
cannot be taken after serving a fault or during a rest. A bisque can be
taken after one’s opponent has served a fault. The explanation is very
simple. It is not intended that a player should attempt to give a very
difficult service, which would give him an advantage if it should come
off, and then, when it has failed, take his bisque. On the other hand,
it has not been thought necessary to forbid him to take his bisque
after his opponent has served a fault, because in this case nothing can
be gained by waiting till the first service has failed.

The value of a bisque must always vary as the chance to take it to
the best advantage comes or does not come. In a very large number of
matches, winning a particular stroke would make all the difference
in the world. In other matches, by no means one-sided, there is no
one turning-point where a bisque is of much value. But if the value
of a bisque varies according to chance, it varies a great deal more
according to the knowledge and skill of the player who takes it. When,
then, should a bisque be taken?

    1. To make three, four, or five games love.
    2. To make three, four, or five games to one.
    3. To make four or five games to two.
    4. To make five games to three.
    5. Sometimes to make four games to three or five games to four.
    6. Sometimes to make five games all.
    7. Sometimes to make three or four games to five.
    8. Sometimes to make deuce at four games to five.
    9. Always to make game and set.

I will now try to give the reasons for taking a bisque in each of the
above cases.

1. Three games love is a winning score. Two games to one is a level
one. Four games to one is about three games more (practically) than
three to two. So in a still greater degree is there a difference
between five games to one and four games to two. In each of these
cases, winning the game will give a commanding lead, and therefore it
is right to take the bisque to make sure of it.

The same reasoning applies to Cases 2, 3, and 4.

5. In changing sides with a distinct difference between the sides, and
with the score of games level, it is always right to take a bisque to
make game on the worse side. On the other hand, it is a mistake to
take it on the better side, unless winning the game will make a very
great difference in the score. For instance, I should always take a
bisque to make four games to three on the worse side, but never on the
better, for I should feel that there was little chance for the set if I
could not win on the better side without my bisque. The same principle
applies, though in a smaller degree, to the service. If the server has
been losing nearly every game, it would be quite right to take a bisque
to make five games to four or four games to three on one’s service, or
on one’s opponent’s service if the server has been winning.

6. To make five games all. This is a very hard case to decide,
especially in an advantage set. It is simply a matter of judgment. If
the chances are against one’s winning at five all, with the bisque
gone, it is certainly better not to take it, and to run the risk of
losing the set at six to four.

7. In these cases the question is not of getting an advantage in the
set, but of taking the best chance of saving a losing set. The question
again is, whether one thinks that one can win at three or four to five;
if not, one had better keep the bisque, and trust to luck to save one
more game without it.

8. In this case, one stroke will lose the set, and unless there is good
reason to expect to win that stroke the bisque should be taken. As a
rule, it is wrong to take a bisque to make deuce, but in this case
something must be done and done at once.

9. This rule simply means—don’t forget the bisque. There have been a
great many matches lost because a player has forgotten to take the set
when it was won.

As said above, it is seldom right to take a bisque to make deuce,
because at deuce the giver of odds will probably win, and the bisque
will have been wasted. The probability, of course, varies with the
difference between the two players. Thus, if receiving thirty and a
bisque, it would be folly for the worse player to take his bisque to
make deuce; if giving thirty for a bisque, the bisque should not be
taken to make game. In both these cases deuce should mean a certainty
for the better player.

Where a bisque is given with small odds, as at half-fifteen and a
bisque, the difference between the two players is not so marked, and
the bisque may be taken to make deuce or game as occasion demands.

All that has been said is meant to apply to cases where a bisque is
given alone or to increase other odds, as it is not now the custom in
lawn-tennis to give a bisque to diminish other odds. Should this be
done, the bisque should be taken to make deuce, and not game.

It is well to remember that there is a moral effect in a bisque. Few
men play up with as much confidence with a bisque hanging over them
as they do when it is gone, and for this reason a bisque should not
be taken early in a set except to secure a commanding lead. It should
never be taken in the first two games.

There ought to be no need to explain that there can be no use in taking
a bisque at forty-love or at forty-fifteen. The bisque will make game
just as well at forty-thirty, and if the game can be won without it
so much the better. Moreover, no good can come of taking a bisque at
deuce; there is quite time enough at advantage for either player. There
is another point too often overlooked. There is no object in taking a
bisque unless there is a reasonable prospect of winning the set after
the bisque is gone. With the score at five games-love, a bisque should
not be taken to make one game to five, because at that score there is
no real chance for the set. The only hope is to win two or three games
with the bisque still in. This may not be possible to do, but it is the
right thing to try for.

It is very common to see a player who is losing take a bisque or two
bisques almost at random, from a morbid fear of never taking them at
all. In this way he adds a game or two to his score, but he forgets
that it is sets, and not games, that win matches. It is far better to
risk losing the set at six-love than to give up a chance of winning it
by taking a bisque for the sake of saving one game. In such cases the
best chance is to keep the bisque in, and if the set does go wrong,
and the bisque is never taken, the player can console himself with the
thought that he has taken all the chances in his favour, and could do
no more.

With two bisques given, one of them can be taken a little more freely
than if it were the only one; but even then it is almost always wrong
to take it in the first two games. One may often be taken to make deuce
at a critical time, and I should myself always take the first one to
make three games to five.

To take a bisque well a player must make up his mind how much he can
expect to do after the bisque is gone. If he does not see his way to
winning, it is always justifiable to reserve the bisque for a better
chance later. Thus, if a player thinks that the odds given him are too
small, he is quite right to run a good deal of risk rather than take a
bisque early in the set.

Before concluding, it seems in place to speak of the value of a bisque
as compared with other odds, that is, how many equal fifteen. I believe
that about six bisques have been calculated to be the equivalent of
fifteen, but I cannot help thinking that four would be nearer right
than six in actual play. It seems to me impossible that the number can
be determined exactly, because the practical value of a bisque must
vary, and because the moral effect cannot be gauged. The average number
of games to a set is about nine where advantage sets are not played;
therefore fifteen equals nine strokes on the average, one given in each
game. In how many games of the nine is that stroke actually of value?
I do not know; but there are always a number of games which are hollow
for one side or the other. In one case the stroke given is useless, and
in the other it would probably not have been needed. Let us suppose
that fifteen represents the difference between two players, and that
they play level. Will the weaker player win any games? I fancy that he
will win two or even three games, and he wants a sufficient number of
bisques to win three or four other games. Let us suppose that he wins
two games level. I think that there will be at least two other games
that can be won by a bisque each. Should this be the case, the score
could not be worse than five games to four against him, and two bisques
still in—by no means an uneven set.

For myself, I should never hesitate between five bisques and fifteen,
and I think that I should take four if I could not get five. My own
feeling is that the right number is just over four.

I should say, in conclusion, that I am very ignorant of the
mathematical calculations which bear on the matter, and I offer these
opinions as the result of experience in actual play, and from watching
matches where bisques were given.



The following Cases and Decisions are intended to meet questions often
asked at tournaments; and also to cover points apparently not provided
for in the laws. They have been prepared with the advice and assistance
of Messrs. W. and E. Renshaw, B. C. Evelegh, N. L. Jackson, and R. D.
Sears, to whom the author returns his thanks:—

I. A player standing outside the court volleys the ball or catches it
in his hand, and claims the stroke because the ball was certainly going
out of court.

_Decision._—He loses the stroke. It makes no difference where he was
standing. The return is presumed good until it strikes the ground
outside of the court.

II. A player is struck by the ball served before it has touched the
ground, he being outside of the service court. How does it count?

_Decision._—The player struck loses the stroke. The service is
presumably good until it strikes in the wrong court. A player cannot
take the decision upon himself by stopping the ball. If it is going to
be a fault he has only to get out of the way.

III. The service is delivered before the striker-out is ready. He tries
to return it and fails. Is he entitled to have it played over again?

_Decision._—No. If he attempts to return the service he is deemed ready.

IV. The striker-out calls “Not ready” for a second service. The ball
strikes beyond the service-line, and the striker-out claims that the
fact that he was not ready makes no difference since a fault cannot be
returned, and therefore that two faults have been served.

_Decision._—The second service goes for nothing. A player cannot call
“Not ready,” and then have the service count, or not, as suits his

V. A ball having been played over the net, bounds back into the court
from which it came. The player reaches over the net and plays it before
it falls. Has he a right to do so?

_Decision._—Yes, provided he does not touch the net. He has a right to
play the ball at any time from the moment it crosses the net into his
court until it touches the ground a second time.

VI. A ball is played into the net; the player on the other side,
thinking that the ball is coming over, strikes at it and hits the net.
Who loses the stroke?

_Decision._—It is simply a question of fact for the umpire to decide.
If the player touched the net while the ball was still in play he loses
the stroke.

VII. Can a player follow a ball over the net with his racket, provided
that he hits the ball on his own side of the net?

_Decision._—Yes. The only restrictions are, that he shall not volley
the ball until it has crossed the net, and that he shall not touch the
net or any of its supports.

VIII. A player’s racket slips out of his hand and flies into the net.
Does he lose the stroke for hitting the net?

_Decision._—Yes, if the ball be still in play. It does not matter if
the racket be in a player’s hand or not.

IX. A player’s racket leaves his hand, but meets the ball and returns
it over the net. Is it a good return?

_Decision._—Yes. There is no law requiring a racket to be in a player’s
hand when the ball is returned. It would unquestionably be a good
return if the racket were held against the ground by a player’s feet,
and the ball bounded back off of it.

X. A single match is played with a double net and inside posts. A
player touches the net beyond the inside posts, and claims that he does
not lose the stroke, because there should be no net more than 3 ft.
outside of the court.

_Decision._—He loses the stroke. The net where he touched it is part
of the supports of the net. He might, perhaps, have objected to the
arrangement of the net before the match.

XI. A player returns the ball, and finding that he cannot stop himself
before reaching the net, jumps over it. Is it a good return?

_Decision._—Law 5 requires that “the players shall stand on opposite
sides of the net,” and therefore the player invading his opponent’s
court loses the stroke.

XII. A ball passes outside the post of the net and strikes in court. Is
it a good return?

_Decision._—Yes. The laws have been changed to make it a good return.

XIII. A ball going out of court hits the top of the post of the net,
and bounds into the opposite court.

_Decision._—It is a good return. (N.B.—It has occurred with the regular
championship posts.)

XIV. The service or the ball in play strikes a ball lying in the court.
Can it be returned?

_Decision._—Yes; if it be clear to the umpire that the right ball is
returned; otherwise the stroke should be called a let.

XV. The server claims that the striker-out must stand in the court. Is
this necessary?

_Decision._—No. The striker-out can stand wherever he pleases on his
own side of the net.

XVI. A bystander gets in the way of a player who fails to return the
ball. May he then claim a let?

_Decision._—Yes, if in the umpire’s opinion he was prevented by an
accident beyond his control. For instance, if the ropes or the seats
are allowed to be so near to the court that a player is interfered
with by them, the stroke should not be played again, because the ropes
and seats form part of the arrangements of the ground. If, however, a
spectator passes in front of those seats, or places a chair nearer than
the original line, and so interferes with a player, the stroke should
be played again.

XVII. A player is interfered with as above, and the umpire directs the
stroke to be played again. The server had previously served a fault. He
claims the right to two services.

_Decision._—The fault stands. A let does not annul a previous fault.

XVIII. A return hits the umpire or his chair or stand; the player
claims that the ball was going into court.

_Decision._—Unless the umpire can say that the ball was in his opinion
not going into court, he should call a let.

XIX. A player receiving fifteen serves from the left court, his
opponent claims a fault.

_Decision._—It is a fault. The service starts from the right court
under all circumstances.

XX.—At fifteen all, the server by mistake serves from the left court;
he wins the stroke and serves again (a fault). The mistake is then
discovered. Is he entitled to the previous stroke? From which court
should he serve next?

_Decision._—The previous stroke stands. A fault cannot be claimed after
the next service, good or not, is delivered. The next service should be
from the left court, the score being thirty-fifteen, and the server has
served one fault.

XXI.—A player serves from the wrong court, he loses the stroke, and
then claims that it was a fault.

_Decision._—If the stroke was played in his first service it is simply
a fault, but if he serves twice into the wrong court he has served two
faults, and lost the stroke.

XXII.—The partner of the player whose turn it is to serve, serves and
wins the game. The error is not discovered until the first service of
the next game has been delivered.

_Decision._—A new game having been begun, the previous game stands.

XXIII.—The same case as above, except that the error is discovered
after two or three strokes have been played.

_Decision._—Any score made before the last service is delivered
stands—_i.e._, the last stroke does not stand unless another service
(fault or not) has been delivered. The proper server will then serve.

XXIV.—With the score at thirty-forty, the server takes a bisque, and
then serves from the right court. His opponent claims a fault.

_Decision._—It is a fault. The service must come alternately from the
right and left courts.

XXV.—A player takes a bisque after the server has served a fault. Which
court does the server next serve from?

_Decision._—From the same court.

XXVI.—The score is five games all, and the umpire directs the players
to play an advantage set. The advantage game has been won when it is
discovered that no advantage sets are to be played. What is to be done?

_Decision._—The set is won at the eleventh game. It is no part of the
umpire’s duty to decide on the conditions of the matches.

XXVII.—A player serves. He hears the umpire call, but cannot hear what
he says. He knows that the only two things that the umpire should call
are “fault” and “let,” and that in neither case can the ball be in
play. He therefore does not return it, only to find that the umpire has
called play. Has he any redress?


XXVIII.—The umpire calls “fault” and then instantly changes and says
“play.” The striker-out fails to return the ball, and he claims that he
was prevented by the umpire, and also that the umpire cannot change his

_Decision._—The umpire should call a let and the service be taken

XXIX.—A ball drops near a line, the player appeals, and the umpire
calls “play.” The player misunderstands the call, and lets the ball
fall. He then claims to have the stroke played again.

_Decision._—The stroke stands.

XXX.—A ball strikes the ground close to a line, the scorer scores the
stroke against the striker. On appeal to the linesman, the latter
decides that the ball was not out. Which decision stands?

_Decision._—The scorer has no right to consider a ball out until the
linesman has called to that effect; therefore the decision of the
latter must be accepted. The decision of a linesman affecting his own
line is final.

XXXI.—A return strikes the cord running along the bottom of the net and
bounds over. Is it a good return?


XXXII.—During play a ball is thrown into the court and the ball in play
strikes it, or a player steps on it. May a let be claimed?


XXXIII.—The server’s first service strikes his partner. Does he lose
the stroke or is it a fault?

_Decision._—He loses the stroke.

XXXIV.—A player serves a fault, and it is then discovered that it is
his partner’s service. Does the fault stand?

_Decision._—No. No other service having been delivered, the fault does
not stand.

XXXV.—If the umpire is appealed to, and directs the wrong partner to
serve and the mistake is discovered in the middle of the game, what
should be done?

_Decision._—See decisions XX to XXIII. The player who should have
served continues the service.

XXXVI.—In a four-handed competition one player does not to appear
in time to play, and his partner claims to be allowed to play
single-handed against the opposing pair. May he do so?







_Winner Championship._

  1877  S. W. Gore
  1878  P. F. Hadow
  1879  J. T. Hartley
  1880  J. T. Hartley
  1881  W. Renshaw
  1882  W. Renshaw
  1883  W. Renshaw
  1884  W. Renshaw
  1885  W. Renshaw

  _Winner all Comers._      _Runners Up._
  1877  S. W. Gore         W. Marshall
  1878  P. F. Hadow        L. Erskine
  1879  J. T. Hartley      V. St. Ledger
  1880  H. F. Lawford      O. E. Woodhouse
  1881  W. Renshaw         R. T. Richardson
  1882  E. Renshaw         R. T. Richardson
  1883  E. Renshaw         D. Stewart
  1884  H. F. Lawford      C. W. Grinstead
  1885  H. F. Lawford      E. Renshaw


            _Winners._                            _Runners Up._
  1879  L. R. Erskine and H. F. Lawford     F. Durant and G. E. Tabor
  1880  W. Renshaw and E. Renshaw           O. E. Woodhouse and C. J Cole
  1881  W. Renshaw and E. Renshaw           W. J. Down and H. Vaughan
  1882  J. T. Hartley and R. T. Richardson  J. G. Horn and C. B. Russell
  1883  C. W. Grinstead and C. E. Welldon   C. B. Russell and R. T. Milford
  1884  W. Renshaw and E. Renshaw           E. L. Williams and E. W. Lewis
  1885  W. Renshaw and E. Renshaw           A. J. Stanley and C. E. Farrer


     _Winners._                _Runners Up._
  1884 Miss M. Watson           Miss Watson
  1885 Miss M. Watson           Miss Bingley.



  1879  V. St Ledger
  1880  W. Renshaw
  1881  W. Renshaw
  1882  W. Renshaw
  1883  E. Renshaw
  1884  H. F. Lawford
  1885  H. F. Lawford


  1883 Miss M. Langrishe
  1884 Miss M. Watson
  1885 Miss M. Watson


  1879 E. Elliott and R. Kellie
  1880 H. F. Lawford and A. J. Mulholland
  1881 W. Renshaw and E. Renshaw
  1882 E. de S. Browne and P. Aungier
  1883 W. Renshaw and E. Renshaw
  1884 W. Renshaw and E. Renshaw
  1885 W. Renshaw and E. Renshaw



  1878 J. Patten
  1879 L. M. Balfour
  1880 J. Patten
  1881 J. G. Horn
  1882 J. G. Horn
  1883 J. G. Horn
  1884 R. Gamble
  1885 Hon. P. B. Lyon


  1878  A. Graham Murray and C. C. Maconochie
  1879  A. Graham Murray and C. C. Maconochie
  1880  A. Graham Murray and C. C. Maconochie
  1881  W. Horn and J. Galbraith Horn
  1882  C. B. Russell and M. C. Lascelles
  1883  F. A. Fairlie and A. L. Davidson
  1884  The Hon. P. B. Lyon and H. B. Lyon
  1885  E. W. Lewis and R. M. Watson



  1880  R. T. Richardson
  1881  R. T. Richardson
  1882  R. T. Richardson
  1883  H. W. Wilberforce
  1884  D. Stewart
  1885  J. Dwight


  1880  R. W. Braddell and J. Coomber
  1881  R. W. Braddell and J. Coomber
  1882  W. Renshaw and E. Renshaw
  1883  W. Renshaw and E. Renshaw
  1884  W. Renshaw and E. Renshaw
  1885  W. Renshaw and E. Renshaw


  1883  Miss Coleridge
  1884  Miss E. Davies
  1885  Miss M. Watson


  1882  Miss Langrishe and Miss M. Langrishe
  1883  Miss Coleridge and Miss R. Collier
  1884  Miss E. Davies and Miss Eckersley
  1885  Miss Dodd and Miss L. Dodd



  1881  P. G. Von Donop
  1882  G. M. Butterworth
  1883  E. de S. Browne
  1884  E. de S. Browne
  1885  E. de S. Browne


  1881  Miss G. B. Gibbs
  1882  Miss F. Morris
  1883  Miss M. Watson
  1884  Miss E. Davies
  1885  Miss G. B. Gibbs



  1883  D. Stewart
  1884  D. Stewart
  1885  E. de S. Browne


  1883  Miss M. Watson
  1884  Miss E. Davies
  1885  Miss M. Watson



  1881  E. D. Maconchy
  1882  C. L. Sweet
  1883  C. W. Grinstead
  1884  C. W. Grinstead
  1885  (No meeting held)


  1881  Miss Cole
  1882  Miss Cole
  1883  Miss M. Watson
  1884  Miss M. Watson
  1885 (No meeting held)



  1885  C. H. Ross.


  1885  Miss M. Watson


  1880  H. F. Lawford
  1881  W. Renshaw
  1882  E. Renshaw
  1883  H. F. Lawford



  1884  C. W. Grinstead
  1885  E. Chatterton


  1884  Mrs. Watts
  1885  Miss Bingley


  1884  C. W. Grinstead and J. R. Deykin
  1885  W. Renshaw and J. Dwight


  1884  Mrs. Watts and Miss Noon
  1885  Mrs. Watts and Miss Bracewell



  1881  E. Lubbock
  1882  W. C. Taylor
  1883  E. L. Williams
  1884  E. L. Williams
  1885  E. W. Lewis


  1884  E. Renshaw and C. L. Sweet
  1885  E. Renshaw and H. Grove



  1883  J. Galbraith Horn
  1884  W. W. Chamberlain
  1885  Hon. H. B. Lyon



  1884  C. W. Grinstead
  1885  H. Chipp


  1885  H. F. Lawford
  1886  E. L. Williams




  1881  R. D. Sears
  1882  R. D. Sears
  1883  R. D. Sears
  1884  R. D. Sears
  1885  R. D. Sears


  1881  C. M. and J. S. Clark
  1882  J. Dwight and R. D. Sears
  1883  J. Dwight and R. D. Sears
  1884  J. Dwight and R. D. Sears
  1885  R. D. Sears and J. S. Clark



  SINGLES—J. S. Clark.


  R. D. Sears.


  SINGLES—R. L. Beekman.




  J. S. Clark.


  SINGLES—W. V. R. Berry.


  SINGLES—W. V. R. Berry.


  SINGLES, YALE—Percy Knapp.
  DOUBLES, YALE—Knapp and Shipman.


Manufacturers and Dealers in


Lawn Tennis.


We make Lawn Tennis Outfits a specialty, and make it our business to
keep posted on the latest and best implements used in the game. We are
the largest manufacturers of this line of goods in the country.


  _Rackets, ...
  Balls, ...
  Nets, ...
  ... Poles._

Send name and address for our Tennis Price-List, which will give full


  580 Washington Street      Boston, Mass.




In the _Edition de Luxe_ this work became widely known, and was
enthusiastically welcomed by book lovers and Nature lovers as the
most complete and worthy book on American Hunting and Fishing and
Out-Door Life. This limited edition is nearly exhausted; and to meet
the continued demand a new, popular edition has been issued at the
low price of $5.00. It is printed by De Vinne on heavy paper, and it
contains all the illustrations, though none are on Japanese paper.
The _Edition de Luxe_ will be sold for the present at its original
price,—from $10.00 to $18.00, according to binding. Send for further
information to =THE CENTURY CO., New York=.




_Used at all the principal Tournaments last Season and gave universal


Score Sheets for 60 Sets; Hints to Umpires; Instructions for drawing
Byes; and Tabular Arrangements showing the Values of Odds given and
owed in handicaps, which can be understood at a glance without the
calculations necessary if the ordinary scale be used.


Price 9d, each, or 8s. 6d. per dozen.

To be obtained at

“Pastime” Offices, 28, 29, & 30, Paternoster Row, London,


Partridge & Cooper, 191 & 192, Fleet Street, London.

    =Laws of Football (Rugby Union and Association).= Price 2d.
    each; post free, 2½d.

    =Laws of Lawn-Tennis.= Price 6d.

    =The “Pastime” Entry Form of Athletic Sports and Cycling
    Meetings.= Price 2s. per 100.












“PASTIME” is the recognised organ of Lawn-Tennis and Football. All
other Amateur Sports are reported by competent men.

_Price 2d; post free 2½d. Subscriptions (payable in advance), 3 months,
2s. 9d.; 6 months, 5s. 6d.; yearly, 10s. 6d._

Offices: 28, Paternoster Row, London, E.C.


For America: Wright &. Ditson, Boston, U.S.A.

For Australia: Melbourne Sports Depôt, Melbourne, Australia.


_A Complete Guide to Training for Running, Walking, Cycling, Swimming,
and Rowing_,







    Training for Running. By W. G. George, N. L. Jackson, and H. M.

    Training for Walking. By G. P. Beckley.

    Swimming and Rowing. By Late Champions.

    Best Amateur Records, at all Distances.

    Training for Cycling. By G. Lacy Hillier.

    Cross-country Running. By E. H. Godbold.

    Hints on the Management of Athletic Meetings.

    Winners of Championships and all other important events.



28, 29, and 30, PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON, E.C.











“The most successful Tricycle ever invented.”—_Vide_ OPINIONS OF THE







Manufacturers of every Requisite for Lawn-Tennis.

[Illustration: THE “ICH DIEN” _Price 15/-_]

[Illustration: _“Handy” Press, Price 3/9_]

To meet the requirements of those players who desire a bat similar
to the No. 1, we have introduced a Racket which we shall designate
the “Ich Dien.” It is made of rent frames, thoroughly seasoned, but
unselected. The gut is transparent white, English manufacture, and of
excellent quality. The “Ich Dien” is a useful and sightly bat, and
made on the most approved lines from the recent decisions of experts.
Octagon handle and oval head.

The “Handy” Press will be found an improvement, being much lighter in
weight and more portable. Being in parts, it can be packed into a very
small compass. One screw only need be taken out to remove the Racket.



This is an entirely new Machine. Since its introduction it has been
thoroughly tested and has proved in every way satisfactory. We can
confidently recommend it as being the SIMPLEST and BEST in the market.

As will be seen from the illustration, the centre wheel working in
the box, and which we term the water wheel, is made with hollow teeth
or buckets; these carry the composition (with which the box is to be
supplied), and deposit it upon a platform, fixed between the front, or
marking wheel, and the water wheel; thence it is transferred to the
front wheel, which transmits it to the lawn.



_Price 25/-_


_Price List and Address of Local Agent on Application._





The CHAMPION LAWN-TENNIS SHOE is made of =Specially Prepared Waterproof
Felt= instead of India-Rubber, and gives Firm Foothold, with Lightness,
Durability, and greater Flexibility than any other Tennis Shoe made;
does not Blister the Feet, and is the only Shoe that gives Perfect
Foothold on Wet Grass.


“They undoubtedly fulfil all the conditions required in a lawn-tennis
shoe.”—_Boot and Shoe Trades Journal._

“Their extreme lightness should strongly recommend them to
players.”—_Pastime_ (the Lawn-Tennis Journal).

“We have not tried any soles so good in all respects as the
Champion-Felt Soles known as Stoddart’s Patent.”—_Field._

“The Champion Shoes take firm hold of the ground, without damaging the
grass.”—_The Queen._

Sold by Bootmakers, Cricketing Outfitters, &c.


Every Pair stamped with Registered Trade Mark.



    _N.B.—if any difficulty is found in obtaining the Champion
    Lawn-Tennis Shoe (Stoddart’s Patent), please apply direct to
    the Manufacturers._





Four Points we claim for it:—





Price 25s. Cash Discount 20% 5s. Nett 20s.

Our New Unsewn




No Stitches to Cut.

[Illustration: _THE DURABLE._

Deverell Bros.

_See every Ball is stamped as above._]

Price per doz., 15s. 6d. Cash Discount 20% 3s. 1d. Nett 12s. 5d.




_Is THE BEST at the price._

Price per doz., 12s. 6d. Cash Discount 20% 2s, 6d. Nett 10s.


At every price from 5s. 6d.

_All Goods made on the premises, and quality guaranteed._





Manufacturer of Indoor and Outdoor


[Illustration: THE “CHAMPIONSHIP.”




[Illustration: THE “CHAMPION” RACKET.]


[Illustration: THE “CHAMPIONSHIP.”


_Each Ball has a fac-simile of my Signature stamped thus on the cloth._

_Each Ball has also the year of manufacture stamped upon it._]

[Illustration: THE “CAXTON”








Manufacturers of every Requisite for Lawn-Tennis.

[Illustration: THE N^o 1

_Price 21/-_]

The “No. 1” is the distinctive mark of a Racket which we with great
confidence introduce to the general public for the first time this
season. It is made on the precise lines of Rackets made by us for
many of the most prominent and successful experts of the game of
Lawn-Tennis, and has been so highly spoken of by them that a very large
demand has already been created for it, and we have every reason to
feel certain that it will be one of our most popular productions.

[Illustration: THE LAWFORD

_Price 21/-_]

The “Lawford” is a new shape this season, and is specially adapted for
a rapid game. The head is a modification and combination of the round
and square head, and being smaller in size, the handle is necessarily
longer. In this Racket a somewhat lesser playing surface is produced;
at the same time a very rigid tension is obtained in the stringing
giving a quicker return of the ball, at the same it is not so well
adapted for screwing purposes. It is made with the octagon handle.





These Poles are ornamental and effective; they are made of cast
iron, and finished in black japan paint, picked out with gold. For
utility they have no equal. By means of a lever and weight the Net is
maintained at a uniform height, and with the exact tension necessary;
the action of the weather has no effect on the uprights, which never
become loose. The Poles can be readily removed without disturbing
the ground fixings. The ground fixing does not loosen, and is less
injurious to the lawn than any other Poles. Wherever supplied they have
been highly approved.—_Vide Press._

_Price List and Address of Local Agent on Application._



Lawn-Tennis Rackets.

[Illustration: THE DEMON

_Price 15/-_

_Special Quality 21/-_]

The “FIELD” says:

“In the combination of power with lightness we have seen none equal to
the ‘Demon’ Racket.”

“LAND & WATER” says:

“For genuine good service we have not heard any Racket better spoken of
than this, as it is a fine driver, and stands wear well, the materials
and workmanship being clearly of the best.”

[Illustration: THE RENSHAW

_Price 12/6_]

Our speciality is undoubtedly the Manufacture of =Tennis Rackets=, and
to them we have devoted every possible care and attention; the result
is that experts and the Press admit that in the Manufacture of Tennis
Rackets we cannot be excelled, if equalled.

Timber is carefully selected and thoroughly seasoned. Rent Ash only is
used, giving a continuous grain round the frame, ensuring the greatest
possible strength and uniform spring.

English-made Gut is used throughout; and in our Special Bats, Gut of 18
Strands is used.—_Vide Press Reports._

    =Red Rubber Lawn-Tennis Ball (Cloth Surface Rubber).= _uniform
    in weight and size, carefully adjusted in bound, specially made
    for durability, and adapted for Asphalt or Hard Courts_

  =7/6= _per doz._

This Ball is manufactured so as to give the Regulation weight, size,
and bounce, and the cloth-like surface makes it for all purposes of the
game the same as the best makes of cloth-covered balls, with the great
advantage that IT DOES NOT VARY IN WEIGHT IN ANY WEATHER and is readily
cleansed; the red colour is better to see, being a greater contrast
to the usual surroundings than ordinary Balls. The durability is much
greater, and the price is 7/6 per dozen.

The “FIELD” says:—“SLAZENGER & SONS’ Red Rubber Uncovered Ball promises
remarkably well—it is made to suit Winter or Grass Courts, and is
highly approved.”

“PASTIME” (Lawn-Tennis Journal) says:—“The new make of Ball produced
by SLAZENGER & SONS has all the advantages of a Covered and Uncovered

All the other sporting papers, experts, and authorities have spoken
in the highest possible praise of this Ball, and are confident in
anticipating that it will supersede all other makes.


Transcriber’s notes:

In the text version, italics are represented by _underscores_, and bold
and black letter text by =equals= symbols. Superscripts are represented
by ^{} and subscripts by _{}

Missing or incorrect punctuation has been repaired.

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation have been left as printed.

The following changes have been made

  p. 88.            Gentemen's changed  to Gentlemen's
  p. 89.            date 2885 changed to 1885
  Advertisements.   tenison changed to tension

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