Real Tennis

Participation

Participation

It is reckoned that there are around 7,500 Tennis players in the UK, including those currently dormant. A best estimate of active players is approximately 5,500, of whom about 1250 are under 28 and around 750 are women. This compares with membership of the Tennis & Rackets Association which at 30 September 2019 was 3700, of which approximately 3,000 are Tennis players with the rest playing Rackets or no longer playing either game. There are many older players who are not members of the T&RA since they only play social tennis and are thus not worried about having a handicap but there are also an increasing numbers of students at primary school, secondary school and universities who are just beginning to play and who are yet to play in competitions and join the National Governing Body.

Tara Lumley
Tara Lumley
Bryn Sayers
Bryn Sayers

Objective

A key objective of the T&RA is to increase participation within the target groups of youngsters, women and the disadvantaged. Separate funds exist to support the first two groups and the T&RA remains fully prepared to support disadvantaged players. At grass roots level, the Dedanists’ Foundation provides training and competition for both boys and girls, and this has been recently expanded to support the Duke of Edinburgh Awards programme. The Ladies have their own association which runs a programme to support young girls.

Men's Doubles at Queen's
Men's Doubles at Queen's
Ladies Doubles at Seacourt
Ladies Doubles at Seacourt

Conclusion

When a new court is built, there is generally an increase in participation of anywhere between 250 and 500 new players, depending on the location. This figure is unaffected even if there is another court nearby or when the new court is more isolated, showing organic competition is healthy and encouraged.

Men and women are able to play on equal terms as physical strength is not an overwhelming factor in a sport where tactics and skill are of greater importance; similarly, one has the ability to play across a wide age range, from 9 to 90, so removing any artificial barriers. The playing field is further levelled by the most effective handicapping system. These factors tend to encourage participation.