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The playing area of an adult tennis court is 26 yards long, but that measurement isn't enough to guide you in your plan to build a home court, school stadium or private club or park district facility. Depending on what type of competitions you'll play on your court, you'll need to leave sufficient space between the end of the court and the fence or wall to make the court legal for sanctioned play. You may also have zoning laws to consider if you're putting in a new court. In addition, the International Tennis Federation mandated new court sizes for junior competition beginning in 2012.
Adult Court Playing Length
The length of the playing area of an adult tennis court must be 78 feet to be legal for International Tennis Federation play, which is the requirement for most national, local and private competitions. The court is divided in two by a net, giving each player 39 feet on his side of the court. The net is 36 inches high in the center.
Junior Courts Playing Length
For juniors who are 8 years old and younger, the court is 36 feet long, or 12 yards, with a net height of 33 inches. This is the distance from one doubles sideline to the other doubles sideline on a regulation adult court, or the width of a full tennis court. These junior courts often run sideways on one half of an adult court, which makes it cost-effective for tennis facilities because they can use one court for both junior and adult competitions. Four of these junior courts can be laid out on one adult court. For players ages 9 and 10, the court is 60 feet long, or 20 yards, with a net height of 36 inches. This allows facilities to use an adult court for these matches, with children playing in the same direction as they would on an adult court, but with shorter boundaries, instead of using the adult baselines for their court.
Behind the Baseline
Considered part of a tennis court, the area between the baseline and the fence, curtain or wall should give players ample room to run down lobs and other deep shots. The International Tennis Federation mandates that the total length of an adult tennis court, including the playing area and area between the baseline and backstop, be either 44 or 40 yards long, depending on the event. Depending on your league or governing body, this distance can be less.
In addition to the length of your tennis court, you might be required to leave a specified number of feet or yards between your tennis court and your neighbor's property, even if your court is completely on your property. For example, if your tennis court fence comes to within 2 feet of the end of your property, your municipality might not allow you to build your court if the zoning laws require you to leave 3 feet of space between any structure on your property and your neighbor's property.