Tennis is a remarkably popular sport and no matter where you live, you are likely to have an official tennis court size nearby.
The ITF GLOBAL TENNIS REPORT 2019, the largest study of its kind about the popularity of tennis, claims that there are over 87 million tennis players globally, playing on over 489,000 courts. And those are only the official courts that meet the required tennis court dimension – there are many more private tennis courts out there that didn’t make the count.
With Tennis courts to be found everywhere from Grand Central Station in New York City, to cruise ships, to the highest court in the world atop the Burj al Arab hotel in Dubai, we set out to answer the question -- How much room does a tennis court actually need, what tennis court dimensions are there, and what are the different types of tennis courts.
Key Tennis Court Dimensions
Although recreational tennis court dimensions can vary in the court size, the ITF (International Tennis Federation) has established very specific guidelines to govern the tennis court size for tournaments or competition courts.
The following numbers reflect ITF specifications for tennis court dimensions:
How Many Square Feet Is a Tennis Court?
The ideal playing area on a tennis court is 261 square meters or 2808 square feet.
How Long Is a Tennis Court?
Each regulation tennis court has a playing surface area that has a tennis court length of 78 feet. In metric terms, that equates to a tennis court length of 23.77 m.
How Wide Is a Tennis Court?
Width-wise, a regulation tennis court is 27 feet (8.23 m) to 36 feet (10.97 m). These numbers are for singles and doubles play, respectively.
Where is the service line in tennis?
The service line in tennis is the line that is the middle of the tennis court that is parallel to the net. The service line is not the baseline or the no man's land. The service line is the same for singles and doubles. The service line is the playing area where the server has to serve the ball successfully inside the service line and service box without hitting the net or producing a let to continue play. If the ball hits the service line during the service than it is a good serve.
What is the service box and where are they located?
The service box is made up by four boundaries: the singles sideline, the service line, center service line, and the net. Each service box is 21 feet x 13.5 feet or 283.5 square feet and there are a total of four service boxes per court. The service boxes dimensions apply for singles and doubles. The goal of the server is to serve inside the service box without hitting the net. If the player serves from the left side than the tennis player needs to hit the right service box of the opponent.
What is the baseline?
The baseline is the line that marks where to serve from. It's the line that runs parallel to the net at the farthest end of the tennis court. The center mark on the baseline signifies which side to serve from. For example, if it's deuce, the server will serve on the right side, (this is called the deuce service box) and the receiver will receive it on the right side. If you are interested in learning more about how to keep score in tennis or understand what a deuce is then click here.
What is the no man's Land?
The no man's land is the playing area between the service line and base line.
How long is the singles sideline and what are they for?
There are two singles sidelines that run parallel to each other from one side of the tennis court to the other. The total length of the singles sidelines are 78 feet long, the same length of the court. The width between each sideline is 27 feet. They make up the boundary or court lines of the singles game but are not the boundary for the doubles game. However, they do make up the service box as mention above.
How long is the doubles sideline and what are they for?
Doubles sidelines, or doubles alley, have the same length as the singles but have a width of 36 feet. Doubles alleys make up the boundary for the double match.
Singles Match Court Size
For a singles court or singles matches, singles matches use a smaller inside playing area of the marked playing surface. The singles court boundaries use the full 78 feet of the tennis court’s overall court length but are limited to the marked singles sideline width of 27 ft for play.
Doubles Match Court Size
Doubles matches are fun and exciting because the strategy is very different from singles. Unlike the singles matches court, in doubles matches, the doubles court length of the legal playing surface remains the same as the singles court, but the doubles court width extends to the outer doubles marker lines, which are 36 ft wide. This extra playing area allows for doubles matches to have more room to play.
How Tall is a Tennis Net?
Because Singles and Doubles tennis matches use different width courts, they each use a different net and different posts, or “sticks” to suspend it. The ITF has set the net height at the posts at 3 feet 6 in (1.07 m), and the net height at 3 feet (0.91 m) high in the center. The net posts are located 3 feet (0.91 meters) outside the doubles court marker line on each side. For a singles net, the net post are located 3 ft (0.91 m) outside the singles court boundary.
How Big Is the Overall Playing Area of a Tennis Court?
Beyond the actual tennis court dimensions, some extra room, or run-off space is necessary, so players don’t injure themselves by running into fences, and, for competition, to provide space for the umpires and judges.
There are two different tennis court types, and each requires a different amount of space. These are average courts like you would build at home or find at the local rec center, or competitive courts, that you would find at a tennis club or a professional tournament venue. Competitive courts offer more room for a side run and recovery.
What Is the Recommended Overall Playing Area of A Tennis Court
Let’s start with the overall playing space needed for an average tennis court. Generally speaking, an average court needs to be 120 ft (36.57 m) long and 60 ft (18.3m) wide. (Remember the boundary length of the court is 78 feet long). This allows for 42 ft (12.8 m) behind the baselines and 16.5 ft (5 m) on either side of the doubles lines to allow players to move freely.
A competitive tennis court needs to be slightly larger with an extra 10 ft (3 m) on either side, so, around 130 ft (39.6 m) by 70 ft (21.3 m). The run-off areas for competitive courts may vary slightly by the venue.
How Much Overhead Space for Indoor Courts Do You Need?
While most tennis courts are outdoors, tennis clubs often build indoor courts to allow year-round play. The main concern with an indoor court is the amount of headroom, or overhead clearance required to make sure the ceiling doesn’t interfere with play.
The rule of thumb is that an indoor tennis court needs a minimum of 35 feet from the ground to the court ceiling at the centerline. A sloped roof is acceptable as long as it provides at least 20 ft of clearance above the baselines.
How Big Should an Indoor Tennis Court Be?
Overall, indoor tennis courts don’t require any more space than outdoor to run around the court.
What Is the Best Tennis Court Size for Your Home?
Although you can build your home court to any specification you want, 120ft by 60 ft is the recommended court size for a full-sized residential tennis court. This provides enough surrounding buffer to ensure that fences or uneven surfaces don’t hinder your movement as you play.
Some people like touch tennis courts because it requires less space but it is not the same sport.
Types of Tennis Courts
If you plan to build your own court, the first thing you need to consider is what type of tennis court will best suit your needs. Just like if you are shopping for tennis racquets for kids, beginners, or overall racquets. There are many different types of tennis court surfaces, each with different advantages and disadvantages and characteristics of play, construction, and maintenance.
Given that tennis was originally called lawn tennis, the grass court is the most traditional playing surface, and the most well-known example of a grass court is Wimbledon. Issues like drainage and maintaining a healthy living surface make grass courts fairly unsuited to a home build. Grass courts require time and money to maintain, and they can only be used for a part of the year.
Grass courts play more quickly than clay courts, and they are considered less demanding on a player’s body than hard courts. Tennis ball machines are a great for practicing but you probably don't want to place one on a grass court because it will damage the grass overtime.
Find out the best tennis balls for grass courts here.
Clay courts have a distinctive red color and are most often associated with the French Open venue Roland Garros. They are the most difficult to maintain as they require constant grooming and must be very well-drained. Clay courts also dry very slowly after a rain and are messy and unplayable until they do.
A clay tennis court plays more slowly than a well-cropped grass or hard court and favors players with excellent spin and ball control. It is known that playing on a clay court can be very tiring to play on.
Hard Courts, or Sport Courts, as they are often called in the US, are the easiest to construct and maintain and the most commonly built for personal use. If you decide to build a hard court, there are two main base surfaces you can use -- concrete and asphalt. They are great because they do not require a lot of maintenance and are solid enough to withstand most weather conditions.
Once you have decided on a base material, you can customize the way it plays by selecting a surface coat that has the play characteristics you prefer. Generally speaking, a hard court’s play speed sits between that of grass or clay.
Hard courts are the easiest to construct and maintain, and the quickest to dry after a rain. They can also be played year-round, making them the most popular for home play.
Grand Slam Tournament class examples of hard courts include the Australian Open and the US Open.
Finally, the least popular of tennis court surfaces are carpet courts. Largely unavailable in the US, a carpet court surface uses a combination of artificial turf and a layer of sand. Carpet courts play very quickly and are easy to maintain, but they are unpredictable and have been banned from all major tournament court play. Carpet courts are only built in places where extreme cold is likely to damage other surfaces.
How Does a Tennis Court Affect Playing Style?
Faster grass and hard courts are suited to one style of tennis, while clay courts favor a different style of play.
Slow courts, like clay, make the ball bounce high and slow. Points usually play out more slowly, and matches last longer. Slow courts are for you if you like to play a baseline game, waiting away from the net for the ball to come to you. Rafael Nadal with his aero racquet, has dominated the slow courts, especially clay courts in his career like the French Open Tournament.
Fast courts, like grass and some hard courts, have a fast, low bounce and favor aggressive mobile, mid-court players with a strong serve. If you like to mix it up behind the net, you will prefer a faster court.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much money does it cost to build a tennis court?
Asking how much money it costs to build a tennis court is like asking, “how long is a piece of string?” There are so many different factors that can go into building your own tennis court that it is an impossible question to answer definitively.
A ballpark answer would put the average cost of a tennis court build at $25,000 to $50,000. That said, if you want to go high-end, $100,000 to $200,000 is not inconceivable.
How much space do you need to build a tennis court?
A full-size tennis court needs a minimum of 120 x 60 feet; however, nothing is stopping you from building a smaller court if it suits your needs. Perfecttennis.com suggests for a recreational home court, you could get away with 114 ft by 56 and still fit a full-size court.
Are all the courts the same?
Except for the ITF’s strict guidelines regulating their court size and line markings, not all tennis court dimensions or materials of tennis courts are created equally. Different playing surfaces, construction, and even climate make each tennis court unique.
Do professionals play on larger courts?
Full size courts for professional play are all the same court size, although the run-off or surrounding areas can differ.
What are the best tennis court types?
There is no best tennis court type, each playing surface or type of court is suited to a different style of play. However, in the US, hard courts are the most popular for their consistency and ease of maintenance. Clay courts are found mainly in France and Spain, and England hosts the majority of grass courts.
What is the least popular surface for tennis courts?
Carpet is by far the least popular surface for a tennis court. Carpet is mostly unavailable in the US and is used only in colder climates in Europe.
Are larger tennis court dimensions required for tennis ball machines?
No, tennis ball machines are designed to be used in regular sized courts. You do not need to change the dimensions of a tennis court to accommodate a tennis ball machine. In fact, you want to place the tennis ball launcher near inside the serving area because it will be more resemble playing with a tennis partner. If you place the machine too far back you will have a lot of time to react; therefore, making it unrealistic.
If you still have any questions regarding tennis court sizes please feel to reach out to us.