I found a web site about the history of tennis and was interested to learn that this game has Pagan roots among the Ancient Egyptians. Here is a snippet from the web site. Ball games can be traced back to ancient times and the earliest representations can be found in carvings in Egyptian temples dating from 1500BC. The Ancient Egyptians and the people that followed actually played ball games as part of their religious ceremonies. These traditions and the whole concept of the ball game spread into Europe in the 8th century, the influence spread by the Moors whose Empire reached into Southern France. As strange as it may seem, it was the meeting of this eastern culture with Christianity which eventually gave rise to tennis!
Christian Monks became interested in the religious rites of the Moors and were the first Europeans to play the ball game that was to become tennis. The earliest version of the game was called 'La Soule' where players would hit a ball to each other using either their hands or a stick. The game became very popular in Monasteries all over Europe, so much so that the Church of the day even considered prohibiting the game!