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T&RA Revised Doubles Advice

Jul 27, 2020
Change in doubles advice from Saturday 1st August

This Guidance is effective 1st August. Please check with your Club to find out whether they have decided to allow social doubles play and, if so, from what date and under what conditions

Update to T&RA’s Resumption of Doubles Play guidance

On the 16th July T&RA set out the reasons for not recommending the resumption of doubles. We highlighted that a return to doubles would be based on the following:

  • The latest information on indoor aerosol transmission from WHO and any other relevant bodies
  • Relevant feedback and data from the LTA, England Squash and Badminton England on their experiences of playing both singles and doubles
  • Feedback from Real Tennis clubs on the implementation of Covid prevention measures (Including ventilation and gaps between court bookings) and data on any infections.

T&RA Guidance Resumption of Doubles Play

  • There is undoubtedly an increased risk to playing doubles that some people can accept if they want. The increased risk cannot be sensibly quantified at present.
  • In discussion with our friends at Badminton England, we have established that Government guidance on social distancing allows for some risk, in order for the game to continue to be played and to retain its fundamental playing characteristics. The guidance refers to maintaining 2m or 1m plus social distancing “where possibleâ€, and accepts that 100% guaranteeing of social distancing is not possible. Following clarification, we feel that social doubles can meet this requirement, with some modifications to normal play.
  • Tennis Clubs have made excellent progress understanding, interpreting, tweaking and communicating the Play Safe Guidelines for their clubs.
  • We note the feedback from many doubles players about their willingness to tolerate any potentially higher risk from doubles play. This is not as straightforward as allowing “consenting adults†to play, because as doubles is a higher risk then other club members will be exposed to this as a result of the doubles play taking place. Clubs may still choose to not allow doubles play at present, if they feel the risks still outweigh the benefits.
  • The infection rate and number of new cases are not generally increasing.

Based on the above T&RA are happy to update its Play Safe Guidance to allow a return to doubles immediately, with the following restrictions:

  • Only social doubles will be allowed. No competition or tournament doubles should take place at present.
  • Social doubles can only occur if players formally agree to play a format that ensures social distancing. Informally agreeing to “stay away from each other†is not sufficient. At the service end, players may agree to play ‘one up/one back’, or to restrict themselves to one half of the court (i.e. left or right). At the hazard end, restricting each player to one half of the court should ensure social distancing.
  • We include, as an Appendix to this document, some suggested formats that restricts players to one half of the court, which Clubs may choose to adapt and adopt. This may require the marking of a centre line with tape, but with small modifications, the format can be implemented.

Social doubles play may commence with effect from 1st August under the conditions explained in this Guidance.

T&RA remain concerned at the unquantified risk related to indoor aerosol transmission. We will continue to review the available evidence, and the data from indoor facilities following resumption of various activities on 25th July. The evidence may support a change to the Play Safe Guidelines relating to doubles or in other respects.

In light of the above, we emphasise the especial importance of good ventilation and non-playing gaps between courts, in addition to other elements of the Play Safe Guidance.

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