One of the most complex sports, regarding the design of the field of play, is tennis. A discipline that, although it does not require large spaces to play, does require a series of lines, measurements and demarcations that it is essential to know both to better understand the game and to build your own tennis court.
Base line, service zone, doubles lane… these are some of the parts of any regulatory tennis court. A sport that, due to its characteristics, requires a specific and concrete design in its field of play, so that it develops as it should.
The good news is that these measurements are common to all types of tennis courts, so despite the differences in the support used, a grass tennis court will have the same measurements as a sand or cement court. Therefore, enjoying the measurements of the Roland Garros courts is as easy as following the guidelines that we give you below.
To begin to better understand the measurements of a tennis court, we are going to take a look at the external dimensions. In general, a regulation tennis court measures 23.77 meters long by 10.97 meters wide. This width includes the doubles aisles, which are 1.37 meters wide each. This leaves a width of 8.23 meters for when it comes to individual play. The tennis court is divided in half, each of these halves having dimensions of 11.88 meters long by the 10.97 meters wide that we have already mentioned.
In addition to these main measures, there are other internal measures, which belong to the rest of the lines that give the tennis court its traditional appearance. Among them, we have the so-called service areas. These zones have a rectangular format, extending about 6.4 meters in length from the central network of the track. Each of these areas is 4,115 meters wide, equivalent to dividing the individual playing area in half.
Regarding the playing area, this would be the rectangle located between the bottom line, the two doubles lanes and the line that closes the two service lines. It has a width of 8.23 meters and a length of 5.48 meters. A small central line is located in this area, which serves as a reference for the serve and is located right in the center of the bottom line.
To complete these measures, we have to take a look at the network. This has a height of 91.5 centimeters from the ground in its central part, being held by posts 107 centimeters high. It must be suspended by a metallic cable and covered by a white ribbon, with a width of 5 to 6.3 centimeters.
Since tennis is a sport with considerable mobility, it is essential that there is a certain safety zone between the lines and obstacles, such as walls, stands and other elements, except for the net and the chair of the head judge. For this reason, the regulations establish that there must be a distance of 6.4 meters from the bottom line to any obstacle, while that distance remains at 3.65 meters with respect to the lateral line.
By the way, depending on where you place your tennis court, you may be interested in surrounding it with an electric shepherd for dogs, which prevents animals from accessing the court during the game. Something fundamental both to prevent accidents when playing and to prevent animals from damaging the surface of the track, if it is sand or grass.
Why are these measurements so strange?
Having listed the dimensions of a tennis court, you may be wondering why these are so strange. The explanation comes from the country of origin of this sport. Tennis was originally invented in England, back in 1873. At that time, Major Walter Wingfield Clopton designed and patented a game based on certain Badminton rules.
Among these rules, the dimensions that the track should have were collected, although obviously they were modified until the first Wimbledon tournament was held back in 1877. In this tournament, the standard rules of this sport were established, among which were Find the measurements of the track. Measurements that, like good Englishmen, were established using the imperial system and not the metric system, which we use almost everywhere in the world. Thus, the 23.76 meter long runway is equivalent to 78 feet, while the 10.97 meter total width of the runway would be the equivalent of 36 feet.
Until now we have talked about the track, but there are also other elements whose measurements are convenient to know. One of them is the diameter of a tennis ball, which must be between 6.54 and 6.85 centimeters, according to current regulations. In addition, tennis balls must have a specific weight, which ranges between 56 and 59.4 grams.
Regarding tennis rackets, there are no specific measurements or dimensions. This does not mean that the regulations leave aside the dimensions and characteristics, for which the international tennis organization offers an extensive annex of specifications. In general, the measurements depend both on the age of the player and on his own preferences. A longer racket allows for more power, while one with a smaller head helps improve control.
As a reference, most conventional rackets have measurements ranging from 68 to 71 centimeters long, although it is also a highly variable figure depending on the different designs and the level of the player, as we have been commenting on.