Hampton Court Palace will host the second Real Tennis Champion Trophy later this month.

The inaugural event took place last year and was seen as a success. The tournament returns this year and has been described by the organisers as ‘bigger and better’.

Liz Young, Head of Events at Historic Royal Palaces, said: “We’re thrilled to be hosting the Real Tennis Champions Trophy at Hampton Court Palace for a second year, following a fantastic inaugural year in 2017. We look forward to welcoming some of the best players from around the world to the iconic Royal Tennis Court at the Palace this July.”

Charles II, William II and Prince Albert all player Real Tennis at the palace. The course in the palace is one of fewer than 50 still in use and is one of the only courts where the public can watch.

Lawn tennis was born out of Real Tennis in 1873. The game is played over a net on an asymmetric indoor court. Players use handmade solid balls and wooden rackets and play is continuous with few breaks during the game. Points are awarded for various reason, such as hitting, ‘galleries’, openings, buttresses and bells.

The sport’s association with Hampton Court Palace dates back to 1526 when Cardinal Wolsey built an open-air court for his guests. Henry VIII competed here and even built a court closer to his apartments.

The current court was built by Charles I in 1625, maintaining one of Wolsey’s original walls. The club has welcomed The Queen as its patron and counts The Earl of Wessex among its members.

The current World Champion, American Camden Riviere, will return in 2018 to defend his title. The tournament kicks off with qualifying rounds on 17 July, before Champions Trophy matches start on 18 July. It will culminate in a grand final on 22 July, which will see two players battle it out on the Royal Tennis Court to lift the 2018 Real Tennis Champions Trophy. Matchday tournament tickets start from £25 and include admission into Hampton Court Palace.

For info and tickets visit: www.hrp.org.uk/realtennis