Tennis Court Dimensions
Tennis courts come in all shapes and sizes. Whilst the specific dimensions of a full sized tennis court should always remain the same, there is actually quite a lot of variation in tennis court surface, surrounding space and design.
There is a lot of information out there on the internet explaining how different court surfaces impact your approach to the game. From court speed to bounce height to movement patterns, changing between different tennis courts can present a whole new set of challenges.
However, one aspect of the tennis court that is not actually considered that often is the dimensions of the court itself. It’s funny, as tennis players we spend so much time on the court and never really stop and think, how big is this thing?
You would think that this would be a fundamental part of any training regime, as you would need to know exactly how much distance you need to cover when moving around the court, but this is rarely brought into the equation.
Of course, if you are doing fitness or repetitive consistency based drills on the court then you can use the various lines as a guide, but particularly in off court training court dimensions are often overlooked.
It would also be useful to know how big (or small depending on your perspective) the tennis court is from a motivational point of view.
If a coach constantly says you only need to cover ‘this’ distance at any given time, it can instil a belief in you as a player that you can practically get to any ball you may face!
This can offer a massive confidence boost and enhance a player’s performance no end. But, this is not often the case as most people simply don’t know the dimensions of a tennis court and may not understand why it would be important to know them.
That’s why we have put together this guide to help you understand not only what the dimensions of the tennis court are, but also the names of the different areas of the court and how tennis courts can vary in their surrounding space and design.
So, let’s get into it!
How Big a Tennis Court is
When you watch tennis on TV it can be difficult to appreciate the size of a tennis court.
Then, if you actually step out there on to one yourself it can be daunting seeing all that space in front of you, but at the same time challenging to think how you will get your serve into such a small service box!
Depending on your perspective, a tennis court can feel like a very big or a very small place. If you are full of confidence, timing the ball well and moving effortlessly around the court, your opponent’s end of the court can feel huge.
You may feel like you can hit the ball anywhere you wish with ease, whilst your end of the court almost feels like it has shrunk since you can get to any ball you like.
On the other end of the scale the tennis court can feel like a very lonely place at times if your confidence is low.
Despite all of this, the actual dimensions of a regulation sized tennis court remain the same no matter where you are in the world.
This is a reassuring fact, as no matter where you are, who you’re playing against or how many people it is in front of, you will always have to cover the same amount of space when tracking down a ball inside the court.
The size of a court is traditionally measured in feet, so here are the measurements of a tennis court plain and simple:
Overall Court Length: 78ft
Singles Court Width: 27ft
Doubles Court Width: 36ft
More specifically, here are some of the internal dimensions of the tennis court:
Service Box Length: 21ft
Service Box Width: 13.5ft
So, when you actually look at it, a tennis court’s dimensions don’t have to be intimidating at all!
However, whilst the dimension of the court itself may stay the same regardless of where you are playing, the playing surface itself can vary massively!
The run-offs on the sides and back of the court can vary in size, which can majorly impact the way you play the game.
Whilst there is not a one size fits all guide to overall tennis court playing surface dimensions, there is a guide set out by the ITF that gives a steer on this at both a recreational and professional level.
Overall Court Length: 132ft
Overall Court Width: 66ft.
Whilst these are slightly more than the internationally recognised minimums (120ft length and 60ft width), side run offs and run backs can be even wider on larger show courts around the world.
Clearly, a court with minimal run back or side run off space would favour an aggressive player that likes to get inside the court and finish their points at the net rather than a baseline grinder that would need a lot of space to track down balls and do their defensive work.
Conversely, the same net rusher may struggle to hit through a court with huge side and back run offs, as their opponent could run at full tilt right to the edge of the court without having to worry about hitting any fences or sponsorship boards.
Therefore, you may need to adjust your tactical approach to the game depending on the overall space you have to work with on the court.
Tennis Net Height
The height of a tennis net is a widely debated topic at the recreational level. It is all too often that you hear enthusiastic tennis players grumble about a net being too high too low, only to try and use their tennis racket to somehow measure the net height.
This is not only inaccurate as tennis rackets come in all different shapes and sizes, but it also causes a lot of arguments on the court!
So, let’s settle this once and for all. How high should a tennis net actually be?
Well, a tennis net should come with a net strap that holds the middle of the net down in line with the centre line. At this point, the net should measure exactly 3ft. However, at the netposts (which are higher than the centre of the net), the net tape should stand 3.5ft tall.
This is one of the reasons that tennis players like to play cross court for consistency. Not only do you have more court to hit into, but you are also hitting over the lower part of the net!
What Tennis Court Areas are Called
There are a few common terms that you may hear at your local tennis court referring to a number of different locations. Here is a brief explanation of these:
Baseline: Back line of the tennis court representing the end of the tennis court’s length
Singles Sideline: The outer edge of the singles court
Doubles Sideline or Tramline: The outer edge of the doubles court
Service Line: The border of the service box
Centre Mark: Mark on the baseline to show the centre of the court, inline with the centre line (so you can align your feet when serving)
Centre line: Line showing the centre of the court that spans both service boxes (also in line with the net centre strap)
No Man’s Land: The area between the service line and the baseline. Often referred to as no man’s land as it is the transitional area between baseline play and net play.
Hopefully this should give you a bit of an idea of some of the tennis lingo you may hear out on the court!
Different Court Designs
As we have mentioned, the actual dimensions of a tennis court do not change as there is a regulation length to all tennis court lines. However, there can be a fair amount of variation in the run offs at the back and sides of a tennis court.
There can also be massive differences in the design of tennis courts. For example, clay courts may have raised plastic lines so they can be seen more prominently around the red dirt.
Also, tennis courts can come in any colour you can imagine, they don’t just have to be the traditional blue or green.
Pink, purple, orange, black and even multi coloured tennis courts are out there waiting to be found!
Also, you may occasionally see tennis courts that just have the singles sidelines and have no doubles tramlines at all. These are generally used when there is limited court space or if the court is being used as a show court, as this setup can accentuate the dynamics of singles play.
Overall, tennis court dimensions are an often overlooked aspect of the game that should really be considered when thinking about how to play on a particular surface.
Not only should you take the underfoot surface, weather conditions and opponent into account, the court dimensions (particularly side and back run offs) can play a major role in your tactics on the day.
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