Rackets originated as a pastime for the inmates of two London debtors’ prisons in the 18th century. The game was rapidly taken up by the public schools and moved to Eton in the 19th century. The school now has two of the finest courts in the country which were built in 1902. Rackets is thought by many to be the fastest racket ball sport in the world. The game is played as either a singles or doubles match in an enclosed court. The players’ rackets are made of wood, and the ball is small and hard, allowing high speeds and considerable spin to be generated. A player can only score points while serving – 15 points being needed to win a game.
Rackets is played at Eton during the Michaelmas and Lent halves. The College employs a full-time rackets professional, Mr Peter Brake, who is responsible for coaching the game and arranging fixtures with other schools. The Eton rackets team comprises players from all age groups and fixtures are played in both the winter halves. Boys are also entered for the Public Schools Championships held twice a year at Queen’s Club in London, where the school has won many trophies.
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