Diversions

For most people, tennis is inseparable from superstar players and saturation media coverage. For a dedicated handful, however, the only tennis worth playing takes place on walled-in courts of late-medieval design. Its tournaments, adhering to arcane rules that have barely changed in 400 years, go untelevised. And the low-tech wooden racquets and hand-sewn balls would leave today's lawn-tennis professionals shaking their heads in disbelief. This is the sport of real tennis (also known as court tennis or royal tennis), and it's the perfect antidote for anyone still suffering from Wimbledon fatigue.

A favorite of Napoleon and Henry...