Stické (also sticke tennis) is a racquet sport invented in the late 19th century merging aspects of real tennis, racquets, and lawn tennis. It derives from sphairistikè (Ancient Greek meaning "the art of playing ball"), the term originally given to lawn tennis by Walter Clopton Wingfield.
Manner of play
Stické is played with standard lawn tennis racquets and low pressure balls in an enclosed court. The court is somewhat similar to a real tennis court in shape, but is smaller (about 78 feet by 27 feet) and different in construction. Play takes place using all the basics of lawn tennis and the same scoring system, with the addition of side and back walls. Players face each other over the net in pairs. As in real tennis, there is a penthouse, used throughout the game as a playing surface and on which the service has to land to start each point.
There were at least 39 courts built throughout the British Empire since 1875. The dimensions of the Taplow Court built by Lord Desborough in 1892 became the standard. In the early 20th century, stické was a popular recreation at many country houses. At the time it was one of the few games that was played by both men and women.
As of 2005 there are only three playable courts remaining:
- Hartham Park in Corsham, Wiltshire (England). Built in 1904 out of wood.
- Knightshayes Court in Tiverton, Devon (England). Built in 1907 out of wood.
- Viceregal Lodge complex, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh (India).
Both English courts have active player groups. The Indian court is primarily used for badminton.
A book about the sport, Sticke Tennis by Graham Tomkinson, was published in 2004.
Reigning World Doubles Champions Alistair Graham & Julian Mitchell (Hartham Park)
- Tomkinson, Graham. Stické: the development of stické tennis. Beaconsfield: Chase Publications, 2004
- BBC Wiltshire feature about Stické Tennis at Hartham Park: Forget tennis, anyone for Stické?
- Featured in the BBC's "Flog It" series, Series 8, Melksham, about 21 minutes in. First shown in August 2009, link here is to the repeated show, 1 October 2012