A Diagram of Tennis Court Dimensions and Layout

A Diagram of Tennis Court Dimensions & Layout

How Big is a Tennis Court

If you’re new to tennis, then it’s worth taking time to understand the dimensions and layout of a tennis court. I’m a firm believer that this type of knowledge helps instill confidence in new players, and it’s an excellent opportunity to introduce the idea that tennis is a sport of angles.

Beyond that, I think it’s fun to introduce players to the intricacies of the sport, which many players tend to appreciate.

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Tennis Court Dimensions & Layout

In total, tennis courts measure 78 feet x 36 feet or 2,808 square feet. However, the full area of the court is used only for doubles matches. The singles court measures 78 feet x 27 feet or 2,106 square feet. Every court is composed of quite a few elements, so let’s take a look at each component.

Here’s a diagram that you can use as a point of reference as we cover each part of the court.

A Diagram of Tennis Court Dimensions & Layout

The Lines of a Tennis Court

Baseline: Doubles 36 feet / Singles 27 feet
The baseline runs parallel to the net and defines the farthest boundary, or back of the court, on each side. It’s where you will hit most of your groundstrokes (forehands and backhands) and the approximate location you’ll return serves. Any shots that land beyond this line are out of bounds.

Center Mark: 4 inches long
The center mark divides the baseline in half and runs perpendicular to the net. It defines the point you cannot cross when hitting a serve in either the deuce and ad court. It’s a great point of reference, as you’ll find coaches telling you to always return to the center of the baseline after you hit a groundstroke.

Service Line: 27 feet wide
The service line runs parallel to the net and marks the halfway point between the net and the baseline. It also marks the end of the service boxes. However, unlike the baseline, it extends only to the singles sidelines. Any serve that lands beyond this line in the court is out.

Center Service Line: 42 feet long (21 feet on each side of the court)
The center service line runs perpendicular to the net and meets the service line to create two equal-sized service boxes.

Singles Sidelines: 39 feet long
The singles sidelines also run perpendicular to the net and define the side boundaries of the court for singles matches.

Doubles Sidelines: 39 feet long
A few feet outside of the singles sidelines are the doubles sidelines. These sidelines run perpendicular to the net and define the side boundaries of the court for doubles matches.

The Areas of a Tennis Court

Left & Right Service Box: 21 feet x 13.5 feet (283.5 square feet)
The two equal-sized boxes created by the center service line are the left and right service boxes.

Doubles Alley: 39 feet x 4.5 feet (175.5 square feet)
The space between the singles and doubles sidelines is called the doubles alley.

No Man’s Land: 18 feet x 27 feet (486 square feet)
If you’re new to tennis, you’ll probably hear someone yell, “Get out of No Man’s Land,” which is the largest box on the court that falls between the service line and the baseline. Typically, you want to avoid standing in this area because you’ll be too close to the net to hit a groundstroke and too far away to hit a solid volley.

Additional Elements of a Tennis Court

Net: 42 feet x 3.5 feet high at the post (3 feet at the center)
The net splits a tennis court in half and runs directly through the middle of the court. A white strap measuring 2 inches wide in the center of the net controls the height, and it’s fastened to the ground. Tennis nets should be a mesh that is fine enough so that a tennis ball can’t pass through, and the top of the net should have a white band measuring 2-2.5 inches in depth.

Helpful tip: Keep a retractable measuring tape in your tennis bag and measure the height of the net before playing. There are enough variables in tennis already, so I always urge players to make sure they control the factors that they can whenever they step on the court.

Net Posts: 3.5 feet tall and no more than 6 inches wide
In most courts, net posts will fall 3 feet outside of the doubles sideline directly in the middle of the court. Some courts install a singles net, and on these courts, the net posts would fall 3 feet outside of the singles sidelines. The posts shouldn’t be more than 6 inches wide.

Singles Sticks: 3.5 feet tall and no more than 3 inches wide
If you’re playing singles on a court with a doubles net installed, then two sticks should be used to prop up the net 3 feet outside of each singles sideline. Many courts won’t have singles sticks, and often competitive matches in high school and college play without them. However, if you keep an eye out when you watch a professional tennis match, you’ll notice the sticks always in use for singles matches.

Wrapping Up

Well, there you have it! You’re now a master of the dimensions and layout of a tennis court. Make sure you share with friends and teammates and heck, now you have some cool little tidbits of knowledge for your next cocktail party.

Have questions about tennis courts? Let me know in the comments below – I’d be happy to help out.

Photo Credit: Johnny Lucas

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17 replies
  1. TennisCompanion
    TennisCompanion says:

    Hey Narendra!

    Thanks so much for your question.

    International Competition
    For international competition it’s recommended that the space or distance between the baseline and the backstop should be 21 feet. The distance between the sidelines and the sidestops is recommended to be 12 feet. If you’re measuring from the net post this distance should be 9 feet because the distance from the sideline to the net post should be 3 feet.

    Recreational Play
    The recommended measurements for recreational play are slightly shorter. 18 feet between the baseline and the backstop and 10 feet from the sideline and sidestops or 7 feet from the net post.

    Hopefully this helps :) Please let me know if you have any other questions.

    PS – here’s a quick bonus. If the court is indoors the minimum recommended height of the ceiling should be 30 feet.

    All the best,
    Jon

    Reply
  2. John Wates
    John Wates says:

    Thank you for the useful info on your site. Can you tell me what the stndard length of a net should be. If the posts are 3 feet outside of the doubles court lines how much is allowed for the static hook and winder spindle on either side.

    Reply
    • TennisCompanion
      TennisCompanion says:

      Hey John,

      Great question! Nets made for singles and doubles play are 42 feet in length. The width of a court including doubles alleys is 36 feet and the net posts are required to be placed 3 feet outside the doubles sideline. If we take the quick total (36+3+3) that gives us our 42 feet, which the net needs to cover.

      Recognizing this the net should extend right to the edge of each net post. The cable that passes through the band at the top of the net will be a few feet longer than 42 feet so that there is ample cable to wind the net so that it’s taut – this extra length can vary slightly from manufacturer.

      Hopefully this helps!

      All the best,
      Jon

      Reply
  3. jeremy
    jeremy says:

    its an amazing site 4 sure….I have a whole team n we train each an every day….. we’ve Neva met with a strong team….. we need a challenger

    Reply
    • TennisCompanion
      TennisCompanion says:

      Hi Monte,

      I love this question! It’s not super straightforward, but let’s dive into some of the details.

      Generally, courts should have a north to south orientation. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, so this orientation keeps the sun out of the player’s eyes. However, there are two other key factors to take into consideration:

      – Time of day courts get the most use
      – Seasons when courts are used (spring, summer, winter, fall)
      – Latitude of the court’s location

      The direction of the sun changes throughout the day and year. It also varies for locations further south or north of the equator. The key is to consider these three factors and then determine the best direction to optimize play by keeping the sun out of players eyes.

      As for wind, I wouldn’t worry about it :) It’s best to focus on the direction of the sun first and foremost.

      Hopefully, this helps point you in the right direction.

      Feel free to share more details, and we can figure it out together.

      All the best,
      Jon

      Reply
  4. Bryan
    Bryan says:

    Great resource. I was looking for tips on how to set up the singles sticks to ensure the net is 6″ higher at its edges than in the middle. Is there an official way? How do you do it?

    Reply
    • TennisCompanion
      TennisCompanion says:

      Hi Bryan,

      Thanks for the note! Yes, there’s definitely an official way to make use of singles sticks.

      First off, you’ll want to make sure your net is well tensioned. Then check to make sure the height at the middle of the net is 3 feet and adjust the strap if necessary.

      Once you’ve done that, you can place the singles sticks on either side of the net 3 feet from the singles sideline, and that’s it. For reference, singles sticks are the same height as the net posts or 3.5 feet tall, and if you notice, the net posts are placed exactly 3 feet outside of the doubles sidelines, which I find is a good point of reference to help remember.

      Hopefully, that helps, let me know if I can help clarify anything.

      All the best,
      Jon

      Reply

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