The ball’s speed, spin, and the speed of the player to move around the court depend on the type of court. It is always a good idea for the players to try playing on different types of tennis courts to build up the right and effective strategies.
There are many different areas and surfaces of courts all around the world. These courts are considered good for the players to attempt their best.
Moreover, playing on different types of courts can help the player to know about his/her way of playing. It will allow him/her to know which surface fits better for him.
So, in this article, I have explained the tennis court and its surfaces in simple words so new players can get the knowledge quickly.
Before we move to the types of tennis courts, let’s first explain the tennis court in detail.
Let’s jump into details without any further delay.
You might also be interested to learn about the tennis court rules to keep your game fair when smashing the ball.s
Tennis Court Explained In Simple Words
Players at the US open play on the hardcourt. At Wimbledon, they play on grass courts, and at the French open, they play on the clay surface.
So, taking part in the international summer tennis camps is the best way to try various types of tennis courts.
While at the same time, learning new techniques, experience with an entertaining and professional environment.
Let’s try to explain the tennis court starting from the basic level. So, the question is:
What is a tennis court?
A Tennis court is a location where we play tennis. We can either play singles or doubles on the tennis court.
A Tennis court is designed as a solid rectangular area having a low stretched net at the center. A tennis court can be of a variety of surfaces (explained below) each having different characteristics from the other.
To understand a tennis court better, look at the tennis diagram below to have visual information. In the following diagram, different parts of the tennis court are labeled with dimensions.
Diagram of Tennis Court
Tennis Court Terminologies
Let’s move further with tennis court terms.
A racket is the most basic thing to have while playing tennis. In the start, racquet manufacturers manufactured rackets using wood. Later on, they started using graphite for the frame of the racket and plastic for the strings.
It is yellow, round, and bounces well. Yes, it is the ball that the players hit with their rackets.
The court is the venue where the players play tennis. We will further discuss the tennis courts in this article in detail.
The net is located at the center of the court. It distributes the court into two equal areas. The purpose of placing the net in the court is to make shots over the net making it hit towards your opponent’s side.
The baseline is the line at the back of the court and is parallel to it.
These are the lines at the external court. These lines are “out” when playing singles and “in” when playing doubles.
A stroke is a way of hitting your ball and swaying your racket to make a shot.
The serve begins the point. The player has two serves on each point, called the first serve and second serve.
Looking to learn about tennis points, check out our detailed article on the tennis scoring system.
You play forehand shot when the back of your hand faces the opponent. For instance, if you are a right-handed player, you will play forehand when hitting the ball from the left of your body.
It is a stroke where the player hits the ball and it bounces back over the net.
Types of Play:
The game is played by the two competitors.
The tennis game is played by teams of two players. In doubles matches, we also include the tramlines on the court as a part of the playing area.
Terms of Play
It is the call made when the ball falls within the playing zone.
It is the call made when the ball falls outside the playing region.
A fault is called when the ball doesn’t land in the opponent’s area.
It is mostly called when the player serves the ball and it hits the net but falls in the right box.
It is the point that a server wins when the opponent doesn’t hit the ball.
The first and most important aim of any team is to score the 4 points at the start. The scoring method of tennis is as follows:
- Love – means zero
- 15 – when a player makes the first point of the game and the opponent makes the second point we say 15-all.
- 30 – when the player makes two points in the game.
- 40 – when the player achieves three points.
- Deuce – when the scoreboard says 40-40 it is a deuce. To win the game a player must win two more scores from the deuce.
- Advantage – it is the point made after the deuce. If the player with the advantage makes the first point the game is over.
Every single set consists of a minimum of six games.
Generally, a set consists of six games. However, if the match ties at 5 games then the set becomes first to seven plays.
The match is determined by the best 3 or 5 sets in a professional match.
Tennis Court Surfaces
There are different surfaces each with different characteristics when we talk about tennis courts surfaces. Let’s look at each surface.
1. Grass Court
Grass courts, however, are difficult to maintain but they are mostly found in the professional circuit. They are not very common. The ball bounces fastly and lowers since the surface is slippery. The Grand Slam commonly known as Wimbledon uses the grass-court for tennis matches.
2. Clay Courts
Clay courts are slightly known more than the grass ones. We name these courts over clay but are not exactly made of clay.
Rather than that, red clay courts are made with crushed brick and green clay courts are made with metabasalt. Generally, Europe and South America use this type of court.
On clay, the ball bounces slower and higher while favoring the players who play topspin a lot. It is the opposite of the grass courts.
One more core characteristic of a clay court is the ability of the player to hit the ball while still in motion.
The widely known clay tournament takes place in France called the Grand Slam French Open. The real and skilled clay tournament champion is the Spaniard Rafael Nadal. He won the majority of matches on the clay rather than any other surface. Nadal is also known as King of Clay.
3. Hard Courts
Hard courts are known throughout the world since it allows the ball to bounce relatively fast and high. The game is easier on the hard courts since the bounce of the ball is predictable.
Moreover, the players can use different methods of hitting and spinning the ball hence allowing them to play dynamically and freely. Hard courts are made of concrete or asphalt and are manageable while playing.
4. Synthetic Carpets or Indoor Courts
In tennis, carpet courts refer to any removable court covering. These types of surfaces offer different thicknesses, textures, and materials.
As a result, the ball bounces fast and low on these courts. The look of these courts is more like natural grass.
However, to add more information to it, the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) have banned these carpet courts since 2009.
The major reason behind banning carpet courts was that it caused more injuries as compared to the other surfaces.
Types of tennis courts that match your playing style
Clay courts favor different play styles hence allowing the tennis players to apply different bouncing and ball hitting techniques.
In contrast to this, the grass and hard courts favor only one play style. You can read the guide given below to find the best court that fits best to your play style.
1. Slow Courts
Slow courts make the ball bounce slower and higher. The clay courts make the players sliding hence making them more tired after the game than they would be on the hard or grass court.
However, playing on slow courts lets the players prepare their strokes since they have more time. The matches played on the slow courts are usually long. In general, the clay courts are tough on the player’s body.
Clay courts help the baseline players who prefer waiting for the ball to reach the back of the court instead of going close to the net to hit it.
2. Fast Courts
Unlike slow courts, fast courts make the ball bounce faster and lower. This especially applies to the grass courts.
Players’ fast service is also important to play on fast courts. Players must be very quick and make short strokes as the speed of the ball gives little time for preparation.
Fast service by the player means a good point start and maintaining control.
So far, we have learned about the tennis court, the types of its surfaces, and court terms. Let’s now look at how long is a tennis court and what are the dimensions?
Tennis Court Dimensions
Tennis courts have standard sizes. The size of the tennis court in square meters is defined by the rules of the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
The tennis court is 23.77m long and 8.23m in width. While when it comes to doubles matches, the courts are 36ft wide.
For visual information on tennis court dimensions, have a look at the diagram of a tennis court we just shared above.
As talked earlier, the tennis courts are standard size however, there may be minor differences between the ITF and ATP courts.
Generally, we divide the court into two equal parts. Each part separates the net at the center.
The tennis net measurements include the height of the net that is 1.07m (3 feet 6 inches) high at the posts and 0.91m (3 feet) at the center.
The lines at the end of the court are called the baseline. And the lines on the side of the court sidelines.
The width of the baseline is 10cm. Service lines are a couple of lines that lie between the single sidelines about 6.40m from every single side of the net and parallel to it.
The other lines on the court have a width between 2.5cm and 5cm.
For marking lines on the clay and grass courts a diluted chalk paint mixture is used. Lime can be used to line the orange and red courts on natural grass for short-terms. This is not suitable for artificial grass.
Something that is the same as a painter’s tape lasts up to six months.
On artificial clay and grass surfaces, we use semi-permanent paint.
The following table contains the key dimensions of a tennis court that apply to all types of surfaces.
|Full Length||78 ft / 23.77 m|
|Surface Area||2106 sq ft/ 195.7 sq m (for singles), 2,808 sq ft / 260.9 sq m|
|Overall Width||27 ft / 8.23 m (for singles) 36 ft / 10.97 m (for doubles)|
Areas of The Tennis Court and Dimensions
The following table contains the dimensions of different parts of the tennis court in feet and meters.
|Service Box Length||21 feet/ 6.4 meter|
|Area of Service Box||283.5 sq feet / 26.3 sq meter|
|Width of Service Box||13.4 feet/ 4.1 meter|
|Backcourt||18 feet / 5.5 meter *27 feet / 8.2 meter (486 sq feet/ 45.2 sq meter)|
|Dimensions of Net||3feet / 0.9 meter high in the centre, 3.5feet / 1.1 meter high at the net posts|
|Doubles Alley Dimensions||39 feet / 11.9 meter * 4.5 feet / 1.4 meter (175.5 sq feet / 16.3 sq meter)|
|Center Line||4 inches / 0.1 meter long|
Tennis Court Lines & Areas
There are some basic points for learning more about the tennis court parts, lines, and area. Below are the tennis court lines explained briefly.
This is where you or your opponent serves. If the ball hits the baseline that means it is a good shot. On the other hand, the shots that land outside this line are out.
2. Singles Line
The single lines are marked to limit the outer lines of the sides of the court. These lines are along the full length of the court that is 78 ft long. If the ball lands outside these lines are considered “out”.
3. Doubles Line
The doubles lines are marked for the game of the doubles. In doubles matches the court is extended for the additional two players.
During the doubles game, the singles lines are ignored and the court is widened except for the service box. The service box is the only area of the court which is not extended wider.
The distance between the singles and double lines is 4 ft 6 inches.
4. Service Line
It is a line that lies in the middle of the courts and is parallel to the net. The serve you or your opponent does need to land at the front of the service line. Moreover, this is the area where most of your volleys will hit.
5. Center Service Line
It is the line that divides the service boxes into two halves on each side.
6. Service Box
Two boxes on each side of the net. A server should serve from one side box to the other that is opposite to him/her.
7. Deuce court
The deuce side is on the right side when you play on the court. This is the side where you start playing tennis. You will heed the hash mark at the center of the baseline. This divides the court into two areas or sides.
7. Ad Court
After playing from the deduce side you switch your position from deuce to as side. The ad side is on the left side when you face the net. The player keeps switching from deuce to add until the game ends.
8. Center Mark
The center mark divides the baseline in half and it goes perpendicular to the net. It is the defining point you can’t cross when serving.
9. Doubles Alley
Two lines run straight along with the net on the court. The space between these two lines is called a double alley. When you are playing singles, shots that land in doubles alley is considered out.
When you are playing doubles against the other team you are allowed to use the double alley. This allows the four players to have more space.
10. No Man’s Land
The region on the front of the baseline and behind the service line is called No Man’s Land. It is also known as a dead zone.
The tennis court net is stretched along the center of the court. The dimensions of the net are set by the International Tennis Federation (ITF). The tennis net height at the posts is 43 inches and 36 inches at the center.
12. Net Posts
In most tennis matches the net tennis should be 3 ft 6” high and 3 ft high at the center. This sag is also a part of the game.
13. Singles Sticks
Singles sticks are used to play singles matches on doubles courts and are the equipment of 3 ft 6 inches high.
Summary – A Final Look At Tennis Court Explanation
The structure, the line marking, and the terminologies of the tennis court might seem difficult to you. But once you start playing and studying every aspect of the sport you can get to know more and it’ll get easier to understand.
To make it easier for you, we tried to explain the tennis court in detail with a diagram in this article. If you still have any questions/confusion related to the tennis court, do ask in the comments section below.
On the other hand, if you found this article, do share it with your friends, family, and tennis colleagues who might also find it helpful.
1. How wide is a tennis court?
The width of the tennis court is 8.23 meters and the length of the court is 23.77 meters. However, the width for doubles is a little bigger which is 10.97 meters.
2. How tall is the tennis net?
The height of the tennis net is 1.07 meters or 3 feet 6 inches at the posts while the height of the net is 0.91 meters or 3 feet at the center.
3. What is the length of a tennis court?
The length of the tennis court is 23.77 meters.
4. How thick are tennis court lines?
The thickness or width of the sidelines is 10cm while 6.40cm for single sidelines.
5. How much space is needed to build a tennis court?
The minimum required space to build a tennis court is 7200 square feet or 668 square meters. The length of the space should be 120 feet and the width 60 feet.
Hey, it’s 32 years old Robert Dexter here, a huge fan of Roger Federer. I love tennis since the age of 12. I write about tennis whenever possible. I have keen interest in equipment and the technicalities of tennis. Other than tennis, I love to post new stories on Instagram, read books and cooking.