Doubles squash can be played on singles courts, and on courts that are expanded to Doubles width & International Competition width – 7,620 & 8,420mm respectively, as opposed to singles court width 6,400mm. But in South East Asia a variation called Jumbo Doubles is played too on North American sized ‘Hardball’ courts – which are 7,600 wide but much longer than an international court; 13,716 as opposed to 9,750mm.
In Thailand in the early 1900’s a group of expatriate tobacco planters based in Chiang Mai started playing doubles on a singles court at the Gymkhana Club. Soon after they initiated a tournament for residents of Thailand.
Then, during the 1980’s the Royal Bangkok Sports Club built a Jumbo Doubles court, using the dimensions of an American hard ball squash court, and started a tournament, the Chiang Mai Cup.
This became the first International Jumbo Doubles Tournament when other nations were invited in 1988. This tournament became an annual event and grew in popularity, attracting players from Hong Kong, Malaysia, Australia, Singapore, UK and USA.
In 1997 the Raintree Club in Kuala Lumpur decided to build their own Jumbo Doubles court and within a year had introduced KL to the Doubles circuit. A second court was added in 2004.
A year on in 1998 The Tanglin Club in Singapore joined in and built a Jumbo court – 3 years later a second court was commissioned. Later the Singapore Island Country Club added one too; so adding a fourth tournament spread over the year.
All these tournaments were hugely successful with Tanglin attracting as many as 64 pairs from around the world plus up to 32 pairs in the Veterans (50+). Manila is now building a court and have planned their first International tournament.
In the early 2000’s a court was built in Surabaya (Indonesia) in a health club, and they held two tournaments before the owners of the club converted the court to alternative use for commercial reasons.
In 2016 a disused Doubles court was discovered and renovated in Yangon (formerly Rangoon), Myanmar, and in November the same year 32 players from the region (mainly Hong Kong and Singapore) went to Myanmar for their inaugural tournament. This event continues every year in November. Myanmar’s capital Napidyaw has two Jumbo doubles courts. Jumbo Doubles was first introduced into the South East Asian Games in Singapore in 2015, with a Singaporean pair, winning the inaugural Jumbo Men’s Gold medal. In 2017 when the SEA Games Jumbo Doubles event was held at Raintree Club in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore won both the men’s and Women’s events.
Why is it called Jumbo Doubles? Because the Raintree Club Patron Tunku Naquiyyudin, called it that because of the sheer size of the court!
Supporters say that Jumbo Doubles allows older players with better teamwork and skill to match if not beat much younger opponents who in a game of singles they would never beat.
It also extends the life of the squash player which proponents have found to be very beneficial to the National push for active aging. It is infinitely interesting and with such a huge court to cover, tactics and strategy play an important part, they say.