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T&RA Initial Guidance on Oversized Real Tennis Racquets

Oct 20, 2017
Both Grays and Gold Leaf Athletics are currently making and promoting oversized Real Tennis racquets.

The T&RA support innovative methods that encourage participation in Tennis, especially by younger players, and believe that oversized racquets are one such method.

The Laws of Tennis stipulate the maximum dimensions for a racquet, and the oversized racquets do not meet those dimensions. Therefore oversized racquets cannot be used in matches and tournaments that are governed by the Laws of Tennis. However they can be used in social, club or friendly matches where it has been agreed beforehand that the Laws of Tennis shall not apply.

The T&RA has set up a Working Group to undertake a review of the oversized racquets and their impact on the game. The Working Group will consult with players, professionals and racquet manufacturers. The T&RA will consider all relevant factors, including their benefit to the game, and to what extent their use may or may not be allowed in the future.
Interim Guidance on Handicaps and Entering Results on Realtennisonline.

At the moment there is no definitive evidence on the performance of oversized racquets. It Is not clear how they impact players’ abilities and handicaps.

As the impact of oversized racquets is not known yet, there is a risk that handicaps may be rendered inaccurate if results from matches involving oversized racquets are entered on Realtennisonline.

Therefore players wishing to use oversized racquets should ask their Professional to set them up with a wrong handed (w/h) handicap on Realtennsonline. The handicap must either be based on a Professional’s observation of them playing with an oversize racquet or, in the absence of any this, be set at 3 points lower than their current handicap and as volatile. Under either scenario the handicap should be set as volatile for 5 matches. The w/h handicap will apply universally to all types of oversize variation, so players may switch between them.

We realise that a blanket 3 point reduction will not cope with the complexities of the impact of the oversized racquet, in particular it does not account for any diminishing improvement among better players. However, there is not enough data currently to support a more complex arrangement, so to do so would provide a level of false accuracy. Where there is clear doubt about the handicap, we strongly recommend a Professional sets the initial level after watching the player.

There are no funds currently available to change the Realtennisonline system to enable more than one regular and one oversize handicap to be recorded in each of the singles and doubles categories. Players that already have a wrong handed handicap either have to change it to an oversized handicap or choose not record an oversized handicap at all.

We recommend that for matches between a player with an oversized and a player with a regular racquet, players should agree in advance whether the result is to be recorded online. If the players disagree, or if the issue is not discussed beforehand, then the result should not be recorded on Realtennisonline.

October 2017

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