SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO MARK OUT A COURT
The following procedure is for the usual combined doubles and singles
court. (See note at foot for a court for one purpose only).
First select the position of the net; a straight line 42 feet (12.8 m) long. Mark the centre (X on the diagram above) and, measuring from there in each direction,
at 13'6" (4.11 m) the points a, b, where the net crosses the inner sidelines,
at 16'6" (5.03 m) the positions of the singles sticks (n, n),
at 18'0" (5.48 m) the points A, B, where the net crosses the outer sidelines,
at 21'0" (6.40 m) the positions of the net posts (N, N), being the ends of
the original 42'0" (12.8 m) line.
Insert pegs at A and B and attach to them the respective ends of two measuring
tapes. On one, which will measure the diagonal of the half-court,take a
length 53'1" (16.18 m) and on the other (to measure the sideline) a length of
39'0" (11.885 m). Pull both taut so that at these distances they meet at a point C, which is one corner of the court. Reverse the measurements to find the other corner D. As a check on this operation it is advisable at this stage to verify the length of the line CD which, being the baseline, should be found to be 36'0" (10.97m); and at the same time its centre J can be marked, and also the ends of the inner sidelines (c, d), 4'6" (1.37 m) from C and D.
The centreline and serviceline are now marked by means of the points F,
H, G, which are measured 21'0" (6.40 m) from the net down the lines bc, XJ,
Identical procedure the other side of the net completes the court.
If a singles court only is required, no lines are necessary outside the
points a, b, c, d, but the court can be measured out as above. Alternatively, the corners of the baseline (c, d) can be found if preferred by pegging the two tapes at a and b instead of at A and B, and by then using lengths of 47'5"
(14.46 m) and 39'0" (11.885 m). The net posts will be at n, n, and a 33'0"
(10 m) singles net should be used. When a combined doubles and singles court with a doubles net is used for singles, the net must be supported at the points n, n, to a height of 3 feet 6 inches (1.07 m) by means of two singles sticks, which shall be not more than 3 inches (7.5 cm) square or 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter. The centres of the singles sticks shall be 3 feet (.914 m) outside the singles court on each side. To assist in the placing of these singles sticks it is desirable that the points
n, n, should each be shown with a white dot when the court is marked.
Note: As a guide for international competitions, the recommended minimum
distance between the baselines and the backstops should be 21 feet
(6.40 m) and between the sidelines and the sidestops the recommended
minimum distance should be 12 feet (3.66 m).
As a guide for recreational and Club play, the recommended minimum
distance between the baselines and the backstops should be 18 feet
(5.48 m) and between the sidelines and the sidestops the recommended
minimum distance should be 10 feet (3.05 m).
As a guide, the recommended minimum height to the ceiling should be
30 feet (9.14 m).
USTA Comment L.1: Tennis Court Layout
All courts should be laid out for singles and doubles play. The
same lines-except for the sideline extensions for doubles play
are required for each.
Courts in the northern two-thirds of the United States should
generally be laid out with the long axis north and south; it is advantageous,
however, to orient the courts in the southern one-third of
the country 15°-25° west of true (not magnetic) north in order to
minimize the adverse effects of the afternoon winter sun.
Figure 1 indicates the exact dimensions of the lines as well as
recommended side and back spacing. Note that the dimensions
shown in the diagram are measurements to the outside edge of the
lines. For regulation play, the space behind the baseline (between
the baseline and fence) should not be less than 21 feet, for an overall
dimension of 60' x 120'. For stadium courts, this perimeter
spacing should be increased to allow space for line umpires without
impeding the players. Net posts should be located with their centers
three feet outside the doubles sideline.
Most courts are laid out with lines two inches (2") wide. Lines may
be one inch (1") to two inches (2") wide excepting the center service
line which must be two inches (2") wide and the baselines which
may be up to four inches (4") wide.
For more detailed information on the subject, Tennis Courts, a
book containing United States Tennis Association and U.S. Tennis
Court and Track Builders Association recommendations for the
construction, maintenance, and equipment needs of a tennis court
installation, can be obtained by contacting the USTA Bookstore, AT
If you have a rules problem, send full details, enclosing a stamped selfaddressed envelope, to:
USTA Tennis Rules Committee
c/o Officials Department,
70 West Red Oak Lane
White Plains, NY 10604-3602.