In June, David Berry published a groundbreaking new study: “A People’s History of Tennis”.
Through the histories of the sport’s clubs and players, David’s book sets out to show that beneath its “establishment image”, tennis is a “surprisingly radical game”.
He argues that tennis has been a nexus for various social forces, many of them progressive, in Britain and beyond – from feminist protest and reform, to forging new notions of masculinity, to the sport’s emphasis on volunteering and community spirit. He also underlines those forces in tennis that have sadly not been so inclusive.
We talked about the book and its unique stories, including Wimbledon’s youngest ever champion and feminist pioneer, Lottie Dod, the “Workers’ Wimbledon” and tennis’ first transgender player on the tour.
We also look to the “people’s future” of tennis. Can Jack Kramer’s player tax in the mid-80s become a reality post-Covid? And why should the British Lawn Tennis Association learn from Phillipe Chatrier’s legacy?
A People’s History of Tennis is available to purchase from Pluto Press for £14.99.