The tennis net is a mesh net strung horizontally across a tennis court that players must hit the ball over during a match. The net evenly divides the court into two halves, ensuring players have an equal amount of court on both sides. The mesh of the net should not allow the ball to go through the net.
One of the most important pieces of equipment in tennis is the net. The net dissects the entire tennis court and provides an obstacle for the players to hit the ball over. This forms the basic gameplay of tennis.
But how does the net stay up? How can people make sure their tennis net is not too tight or too loose? This is where net posts come into play.
Net posts are wooden or metal bars that pull a tennis net taught, ensuring adequate use for gameplay. The net posts act as guides for the net. They contain a strap, cord, or cable that runs along the inside of the top of the net. This is connected to cranks at either end for players to adjust the net as necessary.
There are two main types of tennis net posts: internal wind and external wind. Internal wind net posts have their crank mechanisms on the inside of the net post, while an external wind net post will have its crank on the outside.
Net posts are usually made of aluminum or a similar metal, but some fancier models are made of wood.
In most official tennis competitions, the net must be 3 feet 6 inches high at the net posts and 3 feet high at the center. Naturally, the net posts are 3 and a half feet high. This natural sag in the middle is considered part of the game.
If the net posts use a cord or cable to keep the net taught, the maximum diameter of the cord or cable must not exceed 1/3 of an inch. If a strap is used, it may not be wider than 2 inches.
The net posts themselves should be 42 feet apart from one another. This covers the width of a standard tennis court, which is 36 feet across, plus an extra three feet on either side.
A Tennis net is made up of four main parts:
The Tennis net body, or the mesh part of the net, is made up of braided mesh material, usually polyethylene and polyester. These materials are braided together to form the mesh body of the net. The more braids in the mesh, the better and more resistant the net is to weathering. The net is also able to absorb more energy when there are more braids, preventing the ball from bouncing too far away from the net when it makes impact. Competitive level tennis nets are usually double braided.
The net headband is the topmost part of the net, usually made up of a white vinyl material. There should be multiple layers to the headband to make it strong and resistant to impact from the tennis ball.
The side and bottom bands of the tennis net are cordlike bands that give the net shape. They are often very tightly wound to ensure the net maintains its shape when being hit by the tennis ball.
The net cable is a tightly wound cable that runs down the side of the tennis posts and across the top of the net underneath the headband. The purpose of the cable is to keep the shape of the net during play.
The standard dimensions for tennis nets set by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) is a height of 1.07 meters (or 3.5 feet) at each of the posts at both ends of the net and 0.914 meters (or 3 feet) high at the center of the net. The length of the net, or the distance between the posts at either end of the net, is 12.8 meters (or 42 feet). The thickness of the net often ranges between 2mm and 3.5mm.