chapter  42
6 Pages

The social structure of racket sports practice in Spain


Tennis was first played in Spain towards the end of the nineteenth century at the Universal Exhibition of Barcelona in 1888. A year later, the Royal Tennis Club of Barcelona was founded, now the oldest tennis club still working in Spain. In 1902 the Recreation Club of San Sebastian and the English Club of Madrid were founded. By 1909 the basis of the Royal Tennis Federation of Spain, as it is now known, was fully working and four years later became a member of the Lawn Tennis Association, which in those days established the rules for worldwide tennis playing. Even as late as 1969 the Spanish Tennis Federation only had seven thousand members while at present there are 97,309 members. This means that, according to memberships given out by Spanish Sports Federations, tennis is the eighth most popular sport played in Spain. Referring to popular sports played in Spain the latest survey on sports habits show that 8.9 per cent of the sport-playing population prefer tennis, putting this in ninth place behind swimming, football, cycling, fitness, mountain sports, aerobics, jogging and basketball (García Ferrando, 2006).