As a sport with a long history, tennis had undergone many different changes, from game rules to racket sizes. Even the tennis court size is not exempted from these changes! However, these changes are necessary for the development of the modern tennis game that we know today.
Interestingly, tennis court dimensions are one of the aspects of tennis that has changed dramatically. These courts have changed shape, size, and even material over the course of centuries. But, what are these changes? Well, let’s find out by recounting the history of tennis!
There have been many debates on where tennis first originated. Many people would say that it originated from Persia while others say it was the invention of monks. But, wherever the sport was invented, no one can deny that the French and British nobility made it popular.
The “Real” Tennis, a precursor of the modern tennis, was described as a game with complex rules and odd tennis court dimensions. The “Real” Tennis court measurements weren’t fixed since the ends of each court were asymmetrical. The court was surrounded by four walls, three which had rooves on them.
Did you know? Some "Real" tennis courts are still being used today. England’s Hampton Court is one of the few surviving originals tennis courts and remains active to this day.
Major Walter C. Wingfield is the Father of Modern Tennis for a reason. In 1874, he drafted a set of simplified rules for "lawn" tennis, which quickly became popular during the Victorian era. Aside from these rules, he had also come up with new tennis court dimensions for "lawn" tennis.
The Wingfield Tennis court measurements were almost similar with the measures of the Modern Tennis court. Unfortunately, historians could not find the exact measurements of this tennis court. Even more interesting about this tennis court is its shape in an hourglass figure.
Did you know? Major Wingfield had intended to name tennis "sphairistike," a Greek word that means "still ball." The word "tennis' had come from the French term "tenetz," which players of that time yell before hitting the ball. The word literally means "take heed."
Wingfield’s court was later modified in 1875 by Wimbledon’s All England (AE) Croquet Club. The AE Croquet Club altered the Wingfield Tennis court dimensions. Once again, exact measurements were unknown, but it was said that service boxes were 26 feet in length.
One of the most significant alterations is the shape of the tennis court. The AE Croquet Club even changed the original hourglass figure to a rectangular one. Thanks to these alterations, the AE Croquet Club had paved the way to the modern tennis court that we know today.
Did you know? The AE Croquet Club held its first tennis tournament in 1877.
The modern tennis court dimensions were finally set in 1882. Now, a tennis courts dimensions are 23.77 meters long, 10.973 meters wide (doubles court) and 8.230 meters wide for singles. The service box became smaller from the AE Croquet Club length of 26 feet to 5.486 meters long.
What do you think the next tennis court changes will be?