Tennis is played on a rectangular flat surface, usually of
grass, clay, or concrete. The court is 78 feet (23.77 m) long,
and its width is 27 feet (8.23 m) for singles matches and
36 feet (10.97 m) for doubles matches. Additional clear space
around the court is required in order for players to reach
overrun balls. A net is stretched across the full width of
the court, parallel with the baselines dividing it into two
equal ends. The net is 3 feet 6 inches (1.07 m) high at the
posts, and 3 feet (914 mm) high in the center.
There are three main types of courts depending on the materials
used for the court surface. Each surface provides a difference
in the speed and bounce of the ball.
* Clay court
* Grass court
* Indoor Court
The general term hardcourt
can encompass many different surfaces, ranging from old-fashioned
concrete courts to coated asphalt to wooden gymnasium surfaces
to artificial grass similar to Astroturf ® .
Clay courts are considered
"slow", meaning that the balls bounce relatively
high and more slowly, making it more difficult for a player
to hit an unreturnable shot. Hardcourts
and grass are considered "fast"
surfaces, where fast, low bounces keep rallies short, and
powerful, hard-serving players have an advantage. Grass
courts add an additional variable, with bounces depending
on how healthy the grass is and how recently it has been mowed.
Of the major Grand Slam
tournaments, the Australian
Open and U.S. Open
use hardcourts - though both
originally used grass courts
- the French Open uses
clay courts, and Wimbledon
uses grass courts.