Real Tennis

The Structure of Tennis in the UK

The Structure of Tennis in the UK

The sport is governed in the UK by The Tennis & Rackets Association (T&RA), which is also responsible for the sport of Rackets. Around 5,000 people regularly play Real Tennis and over 3,600 are members of the T&RA.

The T&RA is responsible for the following key areas:

  • setting and administering the rules of the sport; and custodian of its history and traditions;
  • helping to finance, restore, construct and maintain courts in the UK;
  • organising national championships, for both male and female players, both amateur and professional;
  • supporting the development of both elite players as well as new professionals; and
  • broadening the appeal of the sport across all age groups.

Structure of the T&RA

The T&RA is governed by an elected Board, working alongside a full time Chief Executive, who is based at the T&RA's office at The Queen’s Club, in London. Both players and clubs are represented in the T&RA governance structure. Members elect representatives to the Board and to the Tennis Committee, which is responsible for administering the game, while clubs have representation at the Tennis Committee level.

Tennis Clubs

Most active players are based in the 24 Tennis clubs which have their own courts and which are spread across the UK. Each club is run on a day to day basis by a team of professionals, who typically report to a management board drawn from the members of the club. Club professionals are a key part of the game as they are often a player’s main contact with his or her club and are responsible for the court, coaching, arranging matches and tournaments and so on. These Tennis professionals are represented by the International Real Tennis Professionals Association (IRTPA). The IRTPA acts for tournament professionals and its focus is on the competitive professional game; it has more recently undertaken a role in the development of professionals in the sport.

Tennis Tournaments

The T&RA has a well-developed programme of Tennis competitions and tournaments, for both professionals and amateur players. In any season – which runs from September to June – approximately 700 to 750 unique players enter one or more T&RA sponsored tournaments which typically take place in our various member clubs across the country.

Tennis Associations

The T&RA is one of four National Associations governing Real Tennis, the other three being Australia, the USA and France. Together they are responsible for the biannual World Championship challenge. While sponsorship of this event is not within the gift of any one Association, each has an important role when the event is held in its own jurisdiction every 6-8 years. The World Championship was last held in 2018, at the Queen’s Club in the UK.