Definitive Guide: Key Differences Between Pickleball Courts VS. Tennis Courts

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From an outsider’s point of view, pickleball and tennis may seem very similar, but once you get into pickleball you realize it’s a vastly different sport from tennis. Although there are many key differences between tennis and pickleball, let’s dive into the differences between pickleball courts vs. tennis courts.

Court Dimensions

The main difference between a pickleball court and a tennis court is the size of the playing surface. A tennis court is much bigger than a pickleball court. For reference, you can fit 4 pickleball courts onto one single regulation tennis court.

Let’s dive further into regulation court size for pickleball courts and tennis courts.

Pickleball Court Dimensions

According to the United States, International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) here are the following regulation pickleball court dimensions.

Pickleball Court Length: 44 Feet long

Pickleball Court Width: 20 feet wide

pickleball court dimensions of the lines.

Tennis Court Dimensions

Here are the regulation tennis court dimensions according to the International Tennis Federation (ITF)

Tennis Court Length: 78 feet long

Tennis Court Width: 27 feet wide

Net Size

A tennis net and a pickleball net look very similar in size, but a pickleball net is slightly smaller for a few reasons.

  1. The pickleball court is narrower than a tennis court.
  2. The center of a pickleball net is lower at the center because a pickleball does not bounce as high as a tennis ball and, in pickleball, you rely heavily on shorter shots like dink shots and drop shots.

Pickleball Net Measurements

Pickleball Net Height (Side Posts): 36 inches (91.4 cm)

Pickleball Net Heigh (Center): 34 inches (86.4 cm)

Pickleball Net Width: 22 feet

Tennis Net Measurements

Height (Side Posts): 42 inches (106.5 cm)

Height (Center): 36 inches (91.5 cm)

Width: 42 feet

Playing Surface

Typically for a pickleball court, you’ll see either a concrete court if you’re playing outdoor, or a hardwood court for indoor play.

Tennis courts can be constructed of clay, concrete, and real or artificial grass.

Depending on the court surface for pickleball, you may have to use different equipment like indoor or outdoor pickleballs. You’ll also want to ensure that you have the correct pickleball shoes.

Singles and Doubles play

In pickleball, the court size does not change for singles and doubles play. It’s already a small court so you can cover a lot of ground if you’re playing singles.

In Tennis, the court size depends on if you’re playing singles or doubles. For singles play the sides are considered out-of-bounds making the court 27 feet wide instead of 36 feet wide.

The shift in court size makes it easier for the players to get from one side of the court to the other.

Court Layout

a pickleball court and a tennis court have a similar layout, but you’ll notice some of the lines are different to enforce the different rules in each sport.

A pickleball court has a non-volley line because of the rules in pickleball that do not allow you to volley in the non-volley zone (kitchen).

A tennis court has a corridor where the sidelines differ depending on if you’re playing singles or doubles.

The court layout dictates the overall strategy differences in both tennis and pickleball. Pickleball is all about the soft, short game and well-placed dink shots in the non-volley zone.

Whereas a tennis court has a more playable area so it’s beneficial to mix it up and hit drives as soft volleys.

Pickleball Court Layout

A regulation pickleball court has the following features.

  • Baseline: Backline of the pickleball court
  • Centerline: The line down the center of the court that divides the service areas
  • Sideline: The line that runs down the length of the
  • Non-Volley Line: Runs along the width of the court that creates the non-volley zone.

Tennis Court Layout

A tennis court has the following features.

Tennis court illustration showing the various line names.
  • Baseline: The line that runs down the width of the back of the court
  • Singles Sideline: The inner line running down the length of the tennis court
  • Doubles Sideline: The outermost line that runs down the length of the court.
  • Service Line: Creates boundaries for the service boxes.

Final Thoughts: The Difference Between Pickleball Courts and Tennis Courts

When looking at pickleball courts vs. tennis courts, you’ll notice a lot of similarities. They can be built on the same material, the nets are very similar, and they utilize some of the same lines like a baseline and sideline.

There’s no denying that pickleball and tennis share a lot of similarities. A temporary pickleball court can even be made on a tennis court.

However, there are significant differences that reflect the rules and strategy of each sport. For instance, pickleball has a non-volley line which is unique to the rules of pickleball. Tennis on the other hand has a doubles ally which is unique to the rules of tennis.

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