Tennis is a racquet game which belongs to the category of racquet sports. Tennis can be played between either two teams ("doubles") or two players ("singles"). Since tennis is a racquet sport players use stringed racquets to hit a ball (which, by the way, is rubber, hollow and covered in felt) over the net into the opponent's half of a court. Sometimes in some places tennis is called lawn tennis in order to tell it apart from real tennis which is also known as court tennis or royal tennis and is older type of the game played indoors on absolutely different kind of a court. Tennis was originated in England in the 19th century and spread first all through the English-speaking people, especially among the upper human classes.
Today tennis is one of Olympic sports played by all ages and at all levels of society in many countries throughout the world. The rules of the game have remained outstandingly unchanged since the early 19th century. Millions of people are a fond of tennis as a very spectator sport along with millions tennis players. The biggest popularity over the years have gained four Grand Slam tournaments.
Tennis as we know it today is always played on the court that is a flat rectangular surface, usually of clay, grass, or concrete. Tennis court dimensions are not the point of preference. Official tennis court dimensions are approved by International Tennis Federation (ITF) and are as follows: length of 78 feet (23.77 m); width for single matches of 27 feet (8.23 m), width for doubles matches of 36 feet (10.97 m). To enable players to reach overrun balls additional vacant space must be added without affecting court dimensions.
There are three basic types of tennis courts deriving from the materials used for the surface of the court: grass courts, clay courts and hardcourts.
Tennis net crosses the tennis court in the middle dividing it into two equal parts. Tennis net must be stretched across the entire width of the court and has to be strictly parallel with the baselines. The tennis net must be suspended at the altitude of 914 mm high in the centre and 1.07 m high near the net posts. To ensure that a tennis ball can't pass through a it, tennis net must also be of appropriately small mesh. A special band must cover the metal cable or the cord as well as the top of the tennis net. Both band and the strap must be absolutely white.
The following net parameters have been approved by International Tennis Federation:
- The maximum strap width must be 2 inches;
- The maximum diameter of metal cable or cord must be 1/3 inch;
- The band must be between 2 inches and 2.5 inches deep on each side.
For doubles tennis matches, the centers of the net posts must be 3 feet outside the court on each side.
For singles tennis matches, provided that a singles net is involved, the centers of the net posts must be 3 feet outside the court on each side. If a doubles net is in use, then the tennis net has to be supported, at altitude of 3.5 feet by two singles sticks, the centers of which have to be 3 feet outside the court on each side.