A tennis court is the venue where the sport of tennis is played. It is a firm rectangular surface with a low net stretched across the center. The same surface can be used to play both doubles and singles matches. A variety of surfaces can be used to create a tennis court, each with its own characteristics which affect the playing style of the game.
The dimensions of a tennis court are defined and regulated by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) governing body and are written down in the annual 'Rules of Tennis' document. The court is 78 feet (23.77 metres) long. Its width is 27 feet (8.23 metres) for singles matches and 36 feet (10.97 metres) for doubles matches. The service line is 21 feet (6.40 metres) from the net. Additional clear space around the court is needed in order for players to reach overrun balls for a total of 60 feet (18 metres) wide and 120 feet (37 metres) long. A net is stretched across the full width of the court, parallel with the baselines, dividing it into two equal ends. The net is 3 feet 6 inches (1.07 metres) high at the posts, and 3 feet (0.91 metres) high in the center. The net posts are 3 feet (0.91 metres) outside the doubles court on each side or, for a singles net, 3 feet (0.91 metres) outside the singles court on each side.
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Popular lawn tennis rackets vary primarily in length, weight, balance point, stiffness, beam thickness, string pattern, string density, and head size. They generally conform to unofficial standards that differ from past rackets. Currently, almost all adult rackets produced by companies such as Prince Sports, Yonex, Wilson, Babolat , Dunlop Sport, Head, Tecnifibre, and Völkl are made from a graphite composite. Those made from wood (the original racket frame row material), steel, fiberglass, aluminium are considered obsolete, although those materials are technically legal for play. Inexpensive rackets often have poor performance characteristics such as excessive flexibility and inadequate weight. No recent manufacturers use single-throated beams, although Prince tried to reintroduce the single throat design in the 1990s: the only professional who used one was Mirjana Lučić. Braided graphite rackets were considered high-end until recently and molded rackets have been the norm for some time. Molding is less expensive to manufacture and offer high stiffness. Dunlop started the transition away from aluminum based frames and popularised graphite-based racquets. Especially the Dunlop Max 200G model, once used to great effect by Steffi Graf and John McEnroe set the tone. Graphite-composite rackets are today's industry standard in professional tennis.
The components of a tennis racket include a handle, known as the grip, connected to a neck which joins a roughly elliptical frame that holds a matrix of tightly pulled strings. For the first 100 years of the modern game, rackets were made of wood and of standard size, and strings were of animal gut. Laminated wood construction yielded more strength in rackets used through most of the 20th century until first metal and then composites of carbon graphite, ceramics, and lighter metals such as titanium were introduced. These stronger materials enabled the production of oversized rackets that yielded yet more power. Meanwhile, technology led to the use of synthetic strings that match the feel of gut yet with added durability.