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Georgian Court University to Host Court Tennis Exhibition Featuring World Champion

A black and white picture of a student holding a racket

Camden Riviere poses with the World Championship Trophy, on which all the names of the previous champions are engraved. Photo: Tim Edwards

Camden Riviere, Current Men’s and Doubles World Champion, Is GCU’s Newest Court Tennis Pro

Georgian Court University will host a court tennis exhibition match on Thursday, February 23, from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. in the Casino building on GCU’s historic Lakewood campus. The match will pit Camden Riviere, GCU’s newest pro and the current men’s world champion and men’s doubles world champion (world ranked #1) against John Lumley, assistant professional at the Racquet Club of Philadelphia (world ranked #11). The match is open to the GCU campus community and members of the media.

Court tennis, also called real tennis, is often referred to as the “game of kings” and dates back hundreds of years. According to the United States Court Tennis Preservation Foundation (USCTPF), court tennis combines “the exactitude of billiards, the hand-eye coordination of lawn tennis, and the generalship and quick judgment of polo.” The USCTPF has been working in cooperation with the university to utilize the facility by offering lessons for students, staff, and faculty, as well as attracting court tennis players from around the world, creating a true resurgence in interest in this unique court. Funded by a generous gift from the USCTPF, Camden Riviere is on campus twice a week to introduce the sport, provide lessons, and set up matches between players.

Camden Riviere. Photo: Tim Edwards

“Consistently, there’s about 35 to 40 students coming in every week, including members of the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams and the women’s softball team,” Mr. Riviere noted.

About Camden Riviere

American-born Camden Riviere, 29, is the current world champion and spearheads a new generation of court tennis players who are changing the way the game is played. He currently holds every major professional title including all four Opens (U.S., French, British, and Australian) as well as both the Singles and Doubles World Championships. Mr. Riviere is known for his fitness, retrieving skills, and control of the ball on court earning him the nickname of “The Ginger Ninja.” He became the pro at Georgian Court University this fall after serving as the head professional at the National Tennis Club in Newport, Rhode Island.

John Lumley court tennis
John Lumley

About John Lumley

A native of the United Kingdom, John Lumley, 24, is one of the most talented up-and-coming players on tour. In the last year, he has broken in to the top tier of court tennis, winning the French Open Doubles Championship and making the 2015 Australian Open Singles Semi-Finals. Mr. Lumley is known for his speed around the court as well as his constantly changing hairstyles, earning him the nickname of “The Hare.”

Court Tennis and Its History at Georgian Court

A black and white picture of Jay Gould II holding a
Jay Gould II, c. 1905. Photo: Library of Congress

Court tennis, also known as real tennis or royal tennis around the world, differs substantially from lawn tennis, the game with which most people are familiar, including names like Agassi and McEnroe. While the purpose of hitting a ball over a net is similar, and some of the scoring is familiar too, that is where the similarities end. The rules of play are so complex, that many a world-class lawn tennis player (Pete Sampras included) has been baffled at first sight by this ancient game.

GCU’s court tennis facility was built in 1899 as part of George Jay Gould’s country estate, and it is the second-oldest court of its kind in the United States. It is one of 11 court tennis facilities in the country and is the only U.S. court located on a university campus. Today, court tennis courts are only found in three other countries—England, Australia, and France. Court tennis players are almost—but not quite—as rare as the courts themselves, especially in the United States. The United States Court Tennis Association (USCTA), though growing, has about 1,000 members.

GCU’s court was home to America’s finest-ever amateur, Jay Gould II (George Jay Gould’s son), who found elite supremacy as U.S. Champion from 1906 through 1926. Jay Gould II learned to play court tennis at the age of 12 here when his family lived on the estate. He went on to win the amateur American championship from 1906 to 1926, one of the longest streaks in the history of sport. During that time, he never lost even a set to an amateur and lost only one singles match, to English champion E. M. Baerlein. He also won the Olympic gold medal for the United States in 1908, the only year the sport was included in the games.

Aerial view of GCU.

About Georgian Court University

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is Central and South Jersey’s only Catholic university. GCU is a comprehensive, coeducational university with a strong liberal arts core and a historic special concern for women. As a forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, GCU is known for expanding possibility for more than 2,100 students of all faiths and backgrounds in 35+ undergraduate majors and 10+ graduate programs. The GCU Lions compete in 15 NCAA Division II sports in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC). In 2020, GCU was named a Best Value College by and a Best Bang for the Buck (Northeast) by Washington Monthly. High student retention and graduation rates also make GCU a Top Performer on Social Mobility on U.S. News & World Reports rankings. The main campus is located in Lakewood, New Jersey, on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, also serves students at other locations, such as GCU at BrookdaleGCU at Rowan College of South Jersey–Cumberland Campus, and through multiple online certificate and degree programs.

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