Ask any tennis players about the importance of tennis net height and you will get just one answer. Proper tennis height is necessary for a game of tennis.
Many tennis professionals would even measure the net before playing in it. That’s just how important proper net height is in the sport.
It’s understandable. It’s the only structure in the court which makes it the most critical part of the court.
The tennis court you practice in should have the same dimension as the tennis court you play in, no matter the location. Precision and uniformity is key when it comes to tennis courts.
How High is a Tennis Net?
The measurement needs to be exact. According to official tennis rules, the net should be 107 cm at the sides and 91 cm at the middle.
Now, you may be wondering why is there a discrepancy between the measurements on the sides and middle?
Given that tennis nets are made from braided mesh materials, there would be a sag in the middle. That’s physics.
Don’t worry though as that sag is accounted for, hence, the two measurements given in the rules.
Length of a Tennis Net
The length of a tennis net depends on what type of tennis is played. If for singles, the length of the net should be 10 m.
For doubles, since the court is wider, the net length is 12.8 m.
Many tennis clubs don’t use singles net requirements because that would be a waste of money. Ninety-nine percent of tennis courts are marked for both singles and doubles since that makes the most practical sense. Hence, they use the doubles net requirement.
If you are in the market for a tennis net, you will likely get offered a doubles tennis net. It’s practically the same thing but longer.
What is the Height of Net Posts?
The height of the posts where the net is attached should be 1.07 m. It’s the same height as the required height for the net at the sides.
There is a slight difference for singles and doubles, though.
Since most tennis courts have doubles nets (12.8 m required) installed, the posts sit farther than it needs to when played in singles (10 m required). One solution here, and one that’s used even in professional play is the installation of mini-posts near the original posts.
This keeps the tennis net at a proper height.
What is a Tennis Net Made Of?
There’s no single answer to this because tennis nets can be made from different materials. If you browse from a sporting goods store, you will probably see nets that are made from at least 5 different materials.
For the most part, these nets should adhere to the standard set by the ITF. Even the strap at the top of the net should have proper dimensions.
The most popular material used is the braided net along with a metal cord or rod inside the strap. This gives strength to the structure.
As long as the net follows the ITF guidelines, it can be made from all kinds of materials. But what are those requirements anyway?
What are the Exact Dimensions of Bands and Straps?
Of course, you can play using only the height dimensions. However, if you want to replicate the exact dimensions that professionals use, you need to follow ITF guidelines down to a tee.
Even the metal cord inside the net needs to follow a dimension requirement.
The width of the strap used in tennis nets must be 5 cm. They should also not be more than 6 cm deep on both sides.
The maximum diameter of the metal cable used in nets should be exactly 0.8 cm.
As for the posts needed for the net, they must not exceed 7.5 cm in diameter. Ideally, they should be at the same height as the net height requirement on the sides (107 cm). But a height discrepancy of 2.2 cm is allowed.
Why the Need for Specific Dimensions?
The main reason is they want to have uniform dimensions all throughout the game. Precise and consistent dimensions on all courts are important in tennis where inches can literally decide the winner of the game.
This dimension requirement is not exclusive to tennis. Most sports have some form of control over the dimensions of all the structures on their field of play.
In tennis, even the strap material needs to be vetted before use. They must absorb a good portion of the energy of the ball. The ball must not bounce high on the strap of the net. Instead, the ball should almost just drop-down when you hit the strap.
Why is There a Sag in the Middle?
The main reason is, of course, physics. Load-bearing beams naturally just sag even if they’re light. For the tennis net to be consistent throughout the length of the court, there must be several posts within the length of the net.
That doesn’t remove the sag altogether though. All it does is increase the number of sags proportional to the number of posts, which introduces an even bigger problem.
The elegant solution is to just have the ‘sag’ be part of the structure requirement.
Another reason for allowing the sag is it makes for more exciting rallies. With the net being lower in the middle, there’s a slight benefit to playing more aggressively since the net can accommodate it.