Tennis Court Markings Explained

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Tennis court markings determine the boundaries for each shot, so understanding the layout and dimensions of the court is an integral part of the game.

Measuring 78ft long by 36ft wide, the total area of a tennis court is 2,808 square feet – but the full area is only used for doubles matches. With a total area of 2,106 square feet, the singles court is the same length as the doubles court, only it is 27ft wide.

The court is composed of several different areas, so let’s take a look at them individually:

(click images to enlarge)


 

Baseline

The baseline runs along each end of the court. Whether you’re serving or waiting for your opponent’s serve, each point begins behind the baseline.

 


 

Doubles Sideline

This runs along the outer edges of the court when the full 36ft width of the court is in use for doubles matches.

 


 

Singles Sideline

Marking the full width of the singles court and running its full length, this line is parallel to the doubles sideline and 9ft inside it.

 


Service Box

The ball must be placed in the opponent’s service box; diagonally opposite from where you’re standing when you serve. The first serve of each game is to the service box on your left. Your second serve is played into the right-hand service box. Alternate until your service game is completed.

 


 

Centre Service Line

The centre service line is the line dividing the two service boxes.

 


 

Service Line

The ball must land inside or on the service line or centre service line and within the relevant service box for it to be deemed in.

 


 

Doubles Tramline

Doubles players have this additional playing space between the doubles sideline and the singles sideline.

 


 

Baseline Centre Mark

When you serve, it’s beneficial to stand immediately to the side of the small baseline centre mark to achieve maximum court coverage when your opponent returns.

 


 

Net

The net is slightly lower in the centre, so the extra height must be taken into consideration when shots are hit down the line, while volleys are played closer to the net.