List of real tennis world champions
Below are the lists of real tennis world champions.
Men's singles in "real" tennis is the oldest world championship in sports. It predates the use of the term "real tennis," as the sport was simply "tennis" until lawn tennis gained popularity.
Except in cases where the champion has retired, the championship has always been on a challenge basis — the champion retains the title until losing an official challenge or retiring. Originally, the champion had the right to accept or reject a challenge, usually depending upon the prize money put up by the challenger's sponsor. Several years could thus go by between challenge matches. Today, however, the title must be defended every even-numbered year. The top four ranked players in the world (excluding the champion himself) play off for the right to challenge. The champion and challenger then play a match of up to 13 sets over three days (4 sets, 4 sets and up to 5 sets on the final day). In theory this is the only match the champion has to play in the two years since winning the last one.
The most recent men's world championship match concluded on 2016 May 21 at Newport's National Tennis Club, where Camden Riviere beat defending champion Robert Fahey, who had held the title for 22 years.
To date there are 25 players who have been declared a Champion (of England vs France or considered the best player at that time) and after 1885 officially "World Champion" when the 13 set challenge format was introduced in 1885.
- 1740 Clergé, The Elder
- 1765 Raymond Mason
- 1816 Marchisio
- 1819 Philip Cox
- 1829 Edmund Barre
- 1862, 1871 Edmund Thompkins
- 1871 George Lambert
- 1885, 1890 Tom Pettitt
- 1890 Charles Saunders
- 1895, 1898, 1904 Peter Latham
- 1905, 1906 Cecil Fairs
- 1907 Peter Latham
- 1908, 1910 Cecil Fairs
- 1912 Fred Covey
- 1914 Jay Gould II
- 1916, 1922, 1923, 1927 Fred Covey
- 1928, 1930, 1937, 1948, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1952 Pierre Etchebaster
- 1955 Jim Dear
- 1957 Albert "Jack" Johnson
- 1959, 1966, 1968 Northrup R. Knox
- 1969, 1970 G.H. "Pete" Bostwick, Jr.
- 1972, 1974 Jimmy Bostwick
- 1976, 1977, 1979 Howard Angus
- 1981, 1983, 1985 Chris Ronaldson
- 1987, 1988, 1991, 1993 Wayne Davies
- 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 Robert Fahey
- 2016 Camden Riviere
The men's doubles title is earned in a tournament, played off among the sport's eight top-ranked pairings. Competed every odd-numbered year, it is hosted in rotation among the countries with active courts in the following order: the United Kingdom, Australia, France, and the United States. The championship match uses a best of 9 sets format. After the first championship was won by Tim Chisholm and Julian Snow, the title was won and then defended five times by singles world champion Rob Fahey and Steve Virgona. They lost the title in the final in 2015, in the most recent championship held at the Tuxedo club.
- 2001 Tim Chisholm/Julian Snow
- 2003 Robert Fahey/Steve Virgona
- 2005 Robert Fahey/Steve Virgona
- 2007 Robert Fahey/Steve Virgona
- 2009 Robert Fahey/Steve Virgona
- 2011 Robert Fahey/Steve Virgona
- 2013 Robert Fahey/Steve Virgona
- 2015 Camden Riviere/Tim Chisholm
Unlike the men's singles title, the women's title is earned in a tournament. The title holder must win her way through the draw for the right to defend the championship. The championship tournament is held every odd-numbered year. Since 2011 the title has been held by Claire Fahey (née Vigrass).
- 1985 Judith Clarke
- 1987 Judith Clarke
- 1989 Penny Fellows (Lumley)
- 1991 Penny Lumley
- 1993 Sally Jones
- 1995 Penny Lumley
- 1997 Penny Lumley
- 1999 Penny Lumley
- 2001 Charlotte Cornwallis
- 2003 Penny Lumley
- 2005 Charlotte Cornwallis
- 2007 Charlotte Cornwallis
- 2009 Charlotte Cornwallis
- 2011 Claire Vigrass
- 2013 Claire Vigrass
- 2015 Claire Fahey
The women's doubles world championship is held at the same time and venue as the women's singles championship. It is also a tournament format, rather than a challenge.
- 1986 Judith Clarke/Anne Link
- 1987 Lesley Ronaldson/Katrina Allen
- 1989 Sally Jones/Alex Garside
- 1991 Sally Jones/Alex Garside
- 1993 Penny Lumley/Charlotte Cornwallis
- 1995 Penny Lumley/Sue Haswell
- 1997 Penny Lumley/Sue Haswell
- 1999 Penny Lumley/Sue Haswell
- 2001 Penny Lumley/Jo Wood (Iddles)
- 2003 Penny Lumley/Jo Wood (Iddles)
- 2005 Charlotte Cornwallis/Sue Haswell
- 2007 Charlotte Cornwallis/Penny Lumley
- 2009 Charlotte Cornwallis/Karen Hird
- 2011 Claire Vigrass/Sarah Vigrass
- 2013 Claire Vigrass/Sarah Vigrass
- 2015 Claire Fahey/Sarah Vigrass
A mixed doubles world championship has not been organized for real tennis.
- Real Tennis World Championship 2004 Program, p. 5, National Tennis Club, Newport, Rhode Island.