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A Guide to the Playing Surface and Equipment Required for Tennis

Tennis Equipment
Using proper equipment for any game is quite necessary. Tennis is also such a game that requires the right equipment to take the true flavor of the game.
Poushali Ganguly
Last Updated: Jul 21, 2017
Tennis is a ball game, which can be played by two people or even four. When played between two people it is called "singles" and when played by four people (two people in each team), it is called "doubles". To hit the ball each player has a racquet (racket) and there is a net in between the two teams in the middle of the court. Tennis can be classified as an indoor as well as an outdoor game. It is one of the most popular games in the world and the players of this game are nothing less than celebrities. Their fan following can be a matter of envy for the cine stars as well. Tennis was initially played by the aristocrats and was called court tennis in the USA; in France it is called Jeu de Paume and in Australia it is called Royal Tennis. In Great Britain it was called Real Tennis and the modern Lawn Tennis is derived from the same.

The court plays a significant role in the whole game. It is rectangular in shape and it is divided into two equal halves by the net that lies in the middle of the court. The length varies with the number of players playing, for singles 'it is thinner than in doubles. To be precise the court is 23.77 m long and 8.23 m wide for singles matches, and 10.97m wide for doubles matches. Additional space is provided for the players to access overrun balls.

Tennis courts are of three types:
  • Clay
  • Hard
  • Grass
  • Suspended
  • Indoor
Clay courts can be of two types:
  • Red clay
  • Green clay
Red clay courts are made of compressed brick particles and are covered with a layer of loose particles. This kind of court is common in Europe and South America. The French Open is played on a red clay court. The other kind is a green clay court, which is not very different from a red clay except for the fact that Har-Tru(C) or American Clay is used to make the underlying bed and then it is covered with red clay. Green clay courts are mostly found in the Eastern and Southern parts of United States.

Hard Courts are made of cement, plastic, asphalt and even concrete are an advantage for people who play speedy games and like to hit the ball hard. The US Open in played on a hardcourt surface and these are quite common in West America and California and the Australian Open is played on a Rebound Ace, which is a synthetic hardcourt. There lies a difference between the Rebound Ace and the ordinary hardcourt as they differ in the degree of hardness. Rebound ace is softer as a result of which when the ball bounces the first time its speed decreases. The speed and friction also depends on the materials that are used to prepare the top layer of the court.

Grass courts can be made of synthetic or natural grass and the bounce of the ball would be dependent on the quality of grass that the court has .Synthetic grass court is similar to Astro Turf that is used for football matches. Grass courts are expensive to maintain. The ball does not bounce well but takes on good pace. Grass courts are used in Wimbledon.

Tennis equipment is made by big brands and a lot of detailing is involved in the manufacturing. It has now become such a grand sport that everything associated with it also assumes a lot of importance.
  • Tennis Ball: A tennis ball can be yellow, green or white in color (colors approved by the USTA) and has fixed standards for size ,weight and deformation. These balls are made of pressurized rubber covered with high quality cloth, which is made of wool and nylon. These balls are kept under pressure of two atmospheres before initial use.
  • Tennis Ball Machine: This is practice equipment, which is used by the players to train themselves. It helps the players to practice the footwork and handle all kinds of shots that the opponent might use. These machines come in different models and are quite a help.
  • Tennis rackets (racquets): To play tennis the first things that are elementary are the racket and the ball. A racket in general has a handle and an oval frame, across which a network of strings is stretched. The size of a modern racket for an adult would be 27" to 27.5". Tennis is a power game and requires a lot of stamina and strength for only to hold the racket since handling such a heavy device becomes quite a challenge. When choosing a tennis racket the following things have to be kept in mind like the grip, the head size, length, flex, string tension, weight, and balance.
  • Bag: This is one of the most neglected but important accessories related to the game. Whenever a bag is brought, the space that is needed, the feature that would suit the best and the style that is required should all be kept in mind. Too small or too biog a bag can be equally useless. Price for a good quality bag varies from $50 to $60.
  • Tennis Apparel: Tennis apparel has gone through a metamorphosis as has done the perception of the game, wherein the former definitely contributes to the latter. Initially men played the game in long trousers and women wore long dresses and stockings whereas now tennis players are style icons and the apparels are designed by brands that have made it quite fashionable. Any fashion brand would have a different section for tennis apparel, one only has to go and choose the apparel one is comfortable in.
  • Tennis Shoes: When buying shoes for this game, one should go for a proper shoes. The shoes should be court specific, since its conformity and compatibility differs from one pair to the other. Shoes, like apparel, should also be comfortable and should ensure that the feet are protected. The toe area should have better protection than the other parts of the foot as a tennis player uses his toes for foreground grand strokes. Nowadays shoes come with special cushioning and moisture absorbing mechanism as well. Since the game requires a lot of sudden movements, shoes should support the feet and protect it to an extent.
All these and many more comprise the tennis gear, I hope this article gives an insight to the beginners as to what exactly is and requires.
Simple image of a tennis base
Grass Tennis Court
Tennis racket and ball sitting on empty court
Sport shoes