Have you ever walked onto the tennis court and thought to yourself…
“Mmmm, that tennis net looks a bit low”
To be honest, I’ve never thought about such things when I’m playing, and it’s usually other tennis players who pick up on it.
I’m not the most observant person at the best of times 🙂
However, there are certain rules about the tennis net which should be followed; how long it should be, where it should be positioned and how high it should be.
In this article, let’s look at these things in more detail:
What is a tennis net made of?
The tennis net stretches across the middle of the court dividing it into equal sections.
Tennis nets are made from braided net court material. The top 6 rows of the net usually have double the mesh which helps to cushion the impact when the ball hits it.
The braided material helps to absorb more of the energy when the ball strikes the net, which means the ball usually just drops down, rather than rebounding off at a fast speed.
This article has some useful info on how to choose a tennis net.
Different tennis net lengths can be used for singles and doubles matches.
Singles tennis net
For singles, a singles tennis net can be used. The centre of the net posts should be 3’ (0.91cm) outside the singles court on both sides making a total length of 33’ (10m).
However, the vast majority of tennis clubs will not have courts just for singles matches as it isn’t practical and it’s really a waste of money.
Tennis courts are almost always used for singles and doubles matches, unless you’re playing at the Centre Court at Wimbledon!
Doubles tennis net
A tennis net for doubles is by the far the most common choice as most courts have the doubles tramlines as standard. The centre of the net posts should be 3’ (0.91m) outside the court making a total length of 42’(12.8m) ; this is the standard length when you buy tennis nets online or in shops.
How high is a tennis net?
According to the official tennis rules, the net should be 3.5’ (1.07m) at the sides and 3’ (0.91m) high in the middle. The strap in the centre of the net should be no wider than 2” (5cm) and it should be white in colour.
What is the height of the net posts?
The tennis net attaches to the net posts at the side of the court. These posts should be 3.5’ (1.07m) high. As the full 42’ (12.8m) net length is almost always used on tennis courts, in singles matches two sticks are placed 3’ (0.91m) outside the singles court which help keep the height at 3.5’.
You can see it here inside the doubles tramline.
How do you measure the tennis net height?
You measure the height at the centre of the net where the vertical centre strap is situated.
The net can be measured using a special tennis net measure, although some players just use an ordinary one, a ruler, or even by using their racket and hands!
Why is the tennis net lower in the middle?
The reason for this is twofold, one is simply to do with physics and the other is to do improve the game.
Firstly, as the net is long and heavy it’s going to sag a bit in the middle as there is no vertical post there (only on the sides). The net would have to be at an incredibly high tension to be at the same height all the way across. Here’s a scientific explanation why things sag in the middle when force is applied at either end.
Secondly, it encourages longer rallies which can make the game more entertaining. Playing cross court shots across the middle of the net is a higher percentage shot with less risk. Players usually hit down the line when they’re going for a winner and it’s made a little tougher because the net is higher on the sides.
How can you adjust the tennis height?
You simply turn the handle on the net posts to raise or lower the net height accordingly.