It is also known as Royal Tennis, Court Tennis (America), and jeu de paume (France).
The rules evolved over centuries from those of an earlier game, similar to Fives, Pelota or Handball, played since the 12th century by hitting a ball with the hand against the walls of monasteries. The rules stabilised around 1600. The game was popular among 18th and 19th century aristocrats, but there are still only a few dozen courts in the world.
The basic rules and scoring are similar to those of modern lawn tennis, which derives from real tennis. However real tennis has extra complexities in which the ball is played to bounce twice.