Equipped with your favorite racket and sneakers, headband secure around your brow line, you’re ready to go. The game is about to begin and you step onto the court. The floor is smooth to the touch, lane lines painted to an approximate edge. But have you ever wondered…how was this very tennis court built? In this weeks blog, we will explore the way in which a court is built so we can enjoy this classic game.
There are many different types of court surfaces to choose from. The most popular are as followed; clay courts, grass courts and hard courts. The International Tennis Federationhas five different categories (simply marked category 1,2 and so on) that classify surfaces speeds, with “1” being the slowest and “5” being the fastest. Clay courts are made of crushed shale, stone or brick and typically produce a slow pace and bounce. The French Open is notorious for their use of this particular court style. Grass courts, which are made of naturally grown grass which is then mowed down or AstroTurf, are the fastest type of court. Wimbledon has always been played on a grass courts. Hard courts are very common and are made out of various materials including; acrylic, asphalt and concrete. While the speed varies with hard courts, they are typically never slower than a clay court and never faster than a grass court. The US Open and Australian Open are both played on hard courts. Determining what type material you want to make your court out of will drastically change the way you, or anyone else plays on that particular
Once a material for the court is decided, you then have to meet specifications laid out by the International Tennis Federation. A regulation court is 78 ft long (approximately 24 meters) and 36 ft wide (approximately 8.5 meters) this creates the baseline. After you have the foundation, the rest of the lines are then painted on. The service line needs to be 21 ft away from the center net on both sides of the court. Next, you create the singles sidelines by drawing two parallel lines 4.5 ft away from each side of the court. This way, you will have the 36 ft playing court for doubles and a 27 ft court for singles. After, these steps you then place your net across the center of the court. The net should be 3 ft 6 inches at the posts and 3 ft high at the center.
Knowing how to adjust your game to a particular court can give you a distinct advantage over your opponents. So next time you walk onto a court, take a second and appreciate the dynamics that went into it, it may be the difference in that particular match. Until next time, happy playing.
Scarborough East Tennis is an indoor and outdoor tennis club in Columbus.