Tennis is a racket sport in which two opposing players (singles) or pairs of players (doubles) use tautly strung rackets to hit a ball of specified size, weight, and bounce over a net on a rectangular court. Points are awarded to a player or team whenever the opponent fails to correctly return the ball within the prescribed dimensions of the court. The sport previous name is lawn tennis as it was previously played on a lawn, but as the game modernizes, International Tennis Federation (ITF) drops the “lawn” in the game name as it is no longer played in lawn.
Parts of the Tennis Court
- The baseline is where a lot of the modern game occurs. The baseline runs parallel to the net and defines the furthest boundary or back of the court from the net on both sides. It’s typically where you will hit most of your groundstrokes (forehands and backhands) and the approximate location you’ll return serves from. Any shot (other than the serve) that lands beyond this line is considered out.
- The singles sidelines also run perpendicular to the net and define the side boundaries of the court for singles matches.
- A few feet outside of the singles side lines are the doubles sidelines. These sidelines run perpendicular to the net and define the side boundaries of the court for doubles matches.
- The net is what divides the court into two courts for opposing players and pair
- The center line divides up the service boxes. The center service line runs perpendicular to the net and meets the service line to create two equal sized service boxes.
- The two equal sized boxes created by the center service are the left and right service boxes. It is the are where the served balls should fall.
- The service line runs parallel to the net and marks the halfway point between the net and the baseline. It also marks the end of the service boxes, however unlike the baseline it only extends to the singles sidelines. Any serve that lands beyond this line in the court is considered out.
- The doubles tramline is the additional play space that doubles players have at their disposal. It is also known as the doubles alley.
- As you serve, stand just to the side of the small center marking called the center mark. It divides the baseline in half and runs perpendicular to the net. It’s defines the point you cannot cross when hitting a serve in both the deuce and ad court. In general, it’s a great point of reference when playing tennis as you’ll find coaches telling you to always return to the center of the baseline after you hit a ground stroke.
- The remaining largest area in the court is called the backcourt. Colloquially, it is called the no man’s land as tennis players want to avoid standing in this area because they will be too close to hit a groundstroke and to far to hit a solid volley.
Tennis Court Dimensions
For the tennis, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) is the world governing body for tennis, as they (1) oversees administration and regulation including rulings of the game as well technical specification of the equipment to be used; (2) organizes international competition such as the popular Wimbledon, Australian and US Open, and Roland Garros, the Davis Cup, Fed Cup and the Hopman Cup (3) structures the game by sanctioning international circuits and events; and (4) develops and promotes the game. Today, ITF is composed of 210 nations.
With this, tennis court to be drawn and laid out should conform to the rules and regulations as well as specification set by the ITF. Generally court dimensions are universal until they introduce the International Tennis Number (ITN), a rating system that gives tennis players that represents their general level of play.
For Ages 10 and Up (High School, College and Professional)
- The court shall be a rectangle, 78 feet (23.77 m) long and, for singles matches, 27 feet (8.23 m) wide. For doubles matches, the court shall be 36 feet (10.97 m) wide.
- Service lines on both halves of the courts should be drawn 21 feet (6.40 m) from the net. These line should be parallel with the net. Getting the midpoint of the service line, a line is drawn across the net until it reaches the service line midpoint on the other side of the court, and this line signifies the center service lines
- Each baseline is divided into two and marked by a center mark, a 4-inches (10-centimeter) long line drawn from the baseline. Its width should be 2 inches (5 centimeter)
- The other lines of the court shall be between 1 inch (2.5 cm) and 2 inches (5 cm) wide, except that the baselines may be up to 4 inches (10 cm) wide.
- All court measurements should be made outside of the lines.
- The court shall be divided across the middle by a net suspended by a cord or metal cable which shall pass over or be attached to two net posts at a height of 3 ½ feet (1.07 m).
- The net must be of sufficiently small mesh to ensure that a ball cannot pass through it.
- The height of the net shall be 3 feet (0.914 m) at the center, where it shall be held down tightly by a strap.
- A band shall cover the cord or metal cable and the top of the net. The strap and band shall be completely white. This white band should be within 2-2.5 inches in depth.
- For doubles matches, the centers of the net posts shall be 3 feet (0.914 m) outside the doubles court on each side. For singles matches, if a singles net is used, the centers of the net posts shall be 3 feet (0.914 m) outside the singles court on each side. If a doubles net is used, then the net shall be supported, at a height of 3 ½ feet (1.07 m), by two singles sticks, the centers of which shall be 3 feet (0.914 m) outside the singles court on each side.
For Ages 10 and Below
As tennis gaining popularity across the globe, enhancements and improvements are inevitable. As the tennis as a sport matures, the way aspiring players tap their tennis skills also embraces this inevitable change. Recently in 2011, United States Tennis Association (USTA) has introduced some changes in tennis rules to accommodate younger players. This rule change/addition have been initiated by USTA to gradually train children in tennis. The following chart are additional rule made by USTA for governing younger tennis players: