Back to the basics: Tennis slang

When it comes to playing tennis most people forget the basics.  This is a very simple explanation of the court to get started.  This will also help you learn the language of tennis. In total the playing area of a doubles tennis court is 78’x36’, while the singles playing area is 78’x27’. The total fenced in area ideally is 60’x120’. Each court is composed of quite a few elements. Below is a diagram and glossary of the different sections within these courts.


  1. Baseline- The base line is 39’ from the net and 36’ wide, for doubles it is 27’ wide and for singles it is 39’ wide. Start each point just behind the baseline, whether you’re serving or awaiting your opponent’s serve.  The baseline is where a lot of the modern game occurs.
  1. Singles, sideline- The entire singles court is 27’ wide by 78’ long.The 27’ is the outer edge of the singles court, where you will place down -the-line balls to take your opponent out wide.
  1. Doubles, sideline- The court becomes 36’ wide by 78’ long for doubles.
  1. Net- The net is 3’ high in the Center and 3’6” at the posts. You need to take the added height into consideration when you hit shots down the line.  you should also approach the net to play volleys.
  1. Centre service line- The Centre line divides the court up in to four service boxes.
  1. Service box- The tennis court service boxes are each 21’ from the net and 13’6” wide.When serving, you must place the ball in the opponents service box on the opposite side from where you stand.  The first serve of each game should finish in the service box to your left. On your second server, move to the left-hand side of the court and play into the right-hand service box.  Alternate until you have served out the game.
  1. Service line Is 21’ from the net and 27’ wide. Balls must land inside ,or on, the service line and the Centre service line in the correct service box to be called in.
  1. Doubles, tramline- This is the additional play space that doubles players have at their disposal. There is an additional 4’6” on each side, or  in the doubles court it is 9’ wide than a singles court.
  1. Baseline Centre mark- Is a small rectangle approximately 6”x2” in the center of each base line. As you serve, stand just to the side of the small Centre marking.  Placing yourself here will give you maximum court coverage for returns.

Net Diagram

tennis net elevation 1

Tennis Court Diagramtennis-court-dimensions-and-layout

USTA Tennis Court Diagram

US Open Tennis Dimensions