The sport called tennis in the United States is called lawn tennis in Great Britain, to distinguish it from court tennis. In the United States, the regulations are set by the United States Tennis Association.¹

In 1989 Information and Display Systems, Inc., of Jacksonville, Florida used radar to measure the speed of tennis balls at the Lipton Championships. The fastest speed recorded was 137 miles per hour, served by Greg Rusedski; the fastest ball hit by a woman went 118 mph, hit by Brenda Schultz-McCarthy.

1. United States Tennis Association
1212 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10016
(212) 302-3322

Tennis balls

Stitchless, either white or yellow. It weighs more than 2 ounces but less than 2 ¹⁄16 ounces; its diameter is between 2½ and 2 58 inches. Dropped from a height of 100 inches to a concrete surface, it bounces more than 53 inches but less than 58 inches. Limits are also placed on how much the ball can deform under pressure, which is measured with an 18-pound load coming from three different directions.

For play at altitudes above 4000 feet, two additional types of balls are permitted. One, called a “pressurized ball,” has an internal pressure greater than the surrounding atmospheric pressure and, dropped from a height of 100 inches, bounces higher than 48 inches but not as high as 53 inches. The second type is called a “zero pressure” or “non-pressure ball.” It must be allowed to acclimatize at the altitude at which it will be played for at least 60 days before being put into play, and the standards for the height of its bounce are the same as for the regular ball.

Tennis racquets

The maximum length is 32 inches and the maximum width 12½ inches. The string surface has a maximum length of 15½ inches and a maximum width of 11½ inches.

Grip sizes, from 1 to 5, indicate the circumference of the grip in increments of ¹⁄8 inch, starting with 4 ¹⁄8 inches (so size 5 is 4 58 inches).

String” is sold in 5 gauges: 15, 15L, 16, 16L, and 17, with the higher numbers indicating thinner string. As a rule of thumb, a tennis racquet will require restringing as many times per year as it is used each week.

Tennis courts

drawing of half a tennis court, with dimensions

The cord or wire supporting the net must be no more than ¹⁄3 of an inch in diameter.

The posts support the ends of the net at a height of 3 feet 6 inches. 

The band along the top of the net extends down each side at least 2", but no more than 2½ inches.

The center line is 2 inches wide; the baseline may be as much as 4 inches wide; all other lines must be not less than 1 inch wide nor more than 2 inches.

The center mark is 4 inches long and 2 inches wide.

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