Real Estate and Real Tennis

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A Marshall White Agent's Passion for an Ancient Sport

14 May 2024

Richard Mackinnon, a highly regarded and successful partner at Marshall White, has embarked on an exciting journey to participate in the Real Tennis World Championship at Hatfield House in the United Kingdom. With over 40 years of experience in selling some of Melbourne's most prestigious homes, Mackinnon brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his role at Marshall White. Now, he is showcasing his skills on the real tennis court, a sport with a rich history dating back to the time of the Tudors. 

Real tennis, often compared to chess or described as a cross between cricket and pinball, is a complex and challenging sport that requires a unique set of skills and tactics. The ratio of skill to fitness needed is much higher than in other racquet sports, making it an "infinitely more complicated" game to master. This complexity is precisely what draws Mackinnon to the sport, as he competes against players from all over the world. 

The Real Tennis World Championship has an impressive legacy, tracing its origins back to 1740, making it the oldest sport still to contest such a title. The early years of the championship remain shrouded in mystery, with little information available about the first world champion, known only as Clergé. It wasn't until 1862 that the score of a world championship match was recorded, highlighting the sport's long-standing tradition. 

The championship's format is similar to the America's Cup, with a small group of players competing against each other for the right to challenge the reigning world champion. The successful challenger then faces the champion in a best-of-thirteen set match played over three days. This format, overseen by the International Real Tennis Professionals Association (IRTPA) since 2002, presents a unique challenge for both the contender and the defending champion. 

Real tennis, originally known simply as ‘tennis’ until the rise of lawn tennis, is a sport that has captivated royalty and enthusiasts alike for centuries. Its asymmetrical courts and rackets, heavy balls, and complex scoring system set it apart from modern tennis, requiring a different set of skills and adaptability from players like Mackinnon. 

As Richard steps onto the court at Hatfield House alongside his six Australian team members, he carries with him not only his own passion for the sport but also the history of real tennis. From the courts of Henry VIII to the world championship matches of today, Mackinnon is adding his own chapter to the fascinating story of this ancient game. With his determination, skill, and love for the sport, he has made Marshall White and the Melbourne real estate community proud as he competes on the global stage. 

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