If you’re new to the game and are hoping for a better understanding of a court’s layout or even if you’re looking to mark out your own court at home, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about the dimensions of a tennis court.
In this article we’ll be looking at:
Dimensions of a Doubles Court
As noted above, according to the ITF’s 2021 edition of ‘The Rules of Tennis’ a regulation tennis court comprises a rectangle measuring 78ft by 36ft, an area of 2,808 sq ft.
As you can see from our graphic, the horizontal lines are known as the doubles sidelines. And at either end we have the baselines.
Each baseline is bisected by a 4in line called the centre mark.
Dimensions of a Singles Court
Within that rectangle are two parallel lines running the length of the court, 4.5ft from the doubles sidelines. These are called the singles sidelines as they form the edges of the singles court.
The singles court measures 78ft by 27ft, a total of 2,106 sq ft. That’s 23.8 metres by 8.2 metres or 195.16 sq metres.
Dimensions of the Service Boxes
On either side of the net the singles court is divided by a line 18 ft from the baseline. This is called the service line.
The box that is formed is itself split into two, creating two service boxes on each side of the net. Each one is 13.5 ft wide and 21 ft long. These are called the Advantage court (or Ad court) and the Deuce Court.
When serving from the right the ball must land in the opponent’s Deuce Court. From the left it’s the Ad Court.
Of course the game isn’t just played within the lines of the court. Players need space to run into. In fact players such as Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal are known as baseliners due to their tendency to play the game from behind the back of the court.
There are no official regulations for the size of the run-off area. It varies from club to club and even between pro tournaments. Of course, in larger arenas the playing area tends to be bigger to incorporate space for umpires, ball boys and girls and line judges.
Although there are no hard and fast rules, in 2020 the ITF published a set of ‘best practice’ guidelines for building a court. For a recreational court they suggest a minimum total width of 17.07 metres and a minimum total length of 34.75 metres. That requires a total area of 669 sq metres. So maybe time to rethink that back garden court.
For professional courts it’s larger still, going up to 40.23 by 20.11 metres. An area of 809 sq metres.
The ITF states that the centre service line and the centre mark should each be 2 inches wide or 5cm.
All other lines should be between one and two inches wide although two is generally the standard.
The only exception is the baseline which can be up to four inches wide. You tend to see this more on pro courts where the wider markings make it easier for line judges, TV and arena audiences to see the baseline from their viewing angle. It is becoming more common on public courts though.
Tennis Net Dimensions
The tennis net is held up by two net posts, each 3ft 6in high.
The centre of the net should be 3ft high.
The net posts must sit 3ft outside of each doubles sideline for doubles matches and 3ft outside of the singles sidelines for singles matches.
If a doubles net is used for a singles match then the net should be supported by two smaller posts called singles sticks, each 3ft 6in high and positioned three feet outside the singles sidelines.
The net posts should be a maximum of 6in square or 6in in diameter.
The singles sticks should be no more than 3in square or 3in in diameter.
Are all tennis courts the same size?
Yes. All courts – from club level to grand slams – are the same size. The varying TV angles from tournament to tournament and even court to court can make it seem like the size varies but it doesn’t. Or at least it shouldn’t!
The only exception is for Mini Tennis or junior tennis (more of which below!)
As we’ve seen, the run-off area surrounding the court may vary but otherwise all courts should be exactly the same.
Wait, what about indoor courts?
Yes! Even indoor ones. Of course if you are planning an indoor court you have to factor in ceiling height. The ITF recommends recreational courts to have overhead clearance of at least 9 metres above the net and 6.1 metres above the baselines.
For professional courts it’s more though. 12.19 metre clearance is needed above the entire playing area.
What are the court dimensions for junior tennis?
Junior tennis – often known as Mini Tennis in the UK – is a form of the game for players under 10 years old. It’s played on a reduced sized court.
For ages 5-8 – also known as Red Level – the court size should be 36 ft by 18ft.
9-10 year olds – or Orange Level – play on around a ¾ sized court. It measures 60ft by 21ft for singles and 60ft by 27ft for doubles.
You can see the markings on our graphic above.
Is the orientation of a tennis court important?
Yes. As the sun moves from East to West through the day it’s important to avoid laying your court in that direction. Otherwise one player will always have the sun in their eyes in the morning or late afternoon.
As a general rule, a court should be laid from North to South. Although this can vary depending on geography and latitude. Best to check this ITF guide to be sure.
How much space will I need to build my own tennis court?
As mentioned above, the minimum playable area according to the ITF is 17.07 metres by 34.75 metres or 56 ft by 114 ft. A total area of 6384 square feet. Or 669 square metres. But if that doesn’t put you off you might want to know…
How much will it cost to build my own tennis court?
According to UK site Check a Trade the average cost to hire someone to build a court is around £45k but that will vary depending on the surface you choose and the finish you’re aiming for.
Bankrate.com suggests an average of $60k in the US.