Real Tennis

Blueprint for Tennis Court Development

Court Development


A key objective of the T&RA is to increase Real Tennis participation, acknowledging that most of the 27 existing courts in the UK are seeing high levels of utilisation, with a number at or near capacity.

In these circumstances, the key to increasing participation is to develop new courts. To this end, the T&RA has appointed a Director of Court Development with a brief to encourage the development of new Tennis courts. The focus will be particularly on schools, where, as with all the existing courts at schools, students will be offered the opportunity to play the game whilst an external club open to all operates in parallel.

The role involves seeking out suitable locations for new Tennis courts and, where realistic potential has been identified, providing advice and support from the T&RA in terms of design and construction, planning and finance, as well as helping in the production of presentations and/or applications to the relevant authorities as and when required.

Court Development


Cheltenham Ladies' College
Cheltenham Ladies' College

Of the current Tennis courts in the UK, 26 are concentrated in 15 counties of England and one is in Scotland.

The current strategy, endorsed by the T&RA Board, is to improve the coverage throughout the UK and to fill in the gaps. To this end, an analysis has been produced for each of the 48 counties of England as well as the major cities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This study covers the overall population, the biggest towns and cities as well as the major schools, sports clubs and universities; in addition, current and former Tennis courts have been included.

Court Development


We focus on densely populated parts of the UK without a Tennis court. The Top Ten targets are:

  • Buckinghamshire
  • Cheshire with Merseyshire
  • Devon
  • Derbyshire
  • Gloucestershire
  • Kent with East Sussex
  • Shropshire
  • Somerset
  • Wiltshire
  • Worcestershire
  • Yorkshire
  • Edinburgh in Scotland

A Tennis-playing and well-connected local resident has been (or hopefully will be) identified as Champion for each, with a brief to identify likely locations and then to carry forward the most promising.

Court Development


Tonbridge School
Tonbridge School

The ambition is to develop at least one court in each of the counties specified, including Edinburgh/Scotland.

The gestation period for any new court is at least five years and, in many cases, it may well be that one would be required to fit in with the institution will have academic, cultural or different sporting priorities before a Tennis project would be considered.

Court Development


Marlborough College
Marlborough College

The Board has set a realistic, achievable and financially affordable target of developing three new sites within the geographical priorities set out above over the next 8 years up to 2030.

There may be other sites which appear in counties which a court cluster. These projects will also be supported by the T&RA; we anticipate at least one new court will satisfy this criteria.

Court Development


Two new professionals will need to be recruited for each new court, which, for the purposes of this exercise, is assumed to be four new courts (three in the Top Ten counties and one further as above).

New courts will require professionals. This aspect of the T&RA’s development programme is being addressed by the Investing in Professionals initiative.

Court Development

T&RA Support and Advice

T&RA is able to draw on the experience of members who can help and advise in one or more of the following areas:

  • Court design
  • Quantity surveying
  • Construction & engineering
  • Property matters including planning applications
  • Fund-raising
  • Starting and running an efficient club
  • Employment of professional staff
  • Achievement of charitable status
  • Preparation of business plans
  • Presentations to boards and/or potential investors
Court Development


As can be seen, the T&RA has an agreed strategic ambition with a realistic target to develop new courts.

Using a conservative 150 new players per court, this programme would produce an increase of 600 or a 15% uplift in the number of active players within the ten-year period.

Please address any issues or questions arising from the above to Simon Talbot-Williams at