Difference Between Tennis and Lawn Tennis

Europeans started playing tennis a long time, especially the French people. But sports started gaining popularity especially as a professional game since the 19th century.

Some people today use tennis and lawn tennis interchangeably because according to today’s evolved game and its rules, the difference is small.  The quality of the surface on which the game is played is very crucial. 

Tennis vs Lawn Tennis

The main difference between tennis and lawn tennis is that tennis is the evolved version of lawn tennis and it is played on any hard surface and preferably indoor. On the other hand, lawn tennis is more close to the actual game that was played in the 19th century in well-mowed lawns and trimmed green grass. Today, lawn tennis can be played both indoor and outdoor. 

Tennis vs Lawn Tennis

In the history of tennis, the twin brothers William and Ernest Renshaw are very famous because they won championships several times. Due to lack of fixed rules, tennis was removed from the Olympics, but again from 1988 and till now, it is included as an Olympic sport.

Tennis is played either in singles or doubles. 

There isn’t much difference between tennis and lawn tennis in the way it is played. There are three categories in a lean tennis game, singles, doubles, and mixed doubles.

Lawn tennis was very famous when the game was initially played but the term has been vanishing especially since the late 20th century.

Comparison Table Between Tennis and Lawn Tennis

Parameters of ComparisonTennisLawn Tennis
DefinitionTennis is the evolved form of lawn tennis and it can be played on any surface including concrete and clay courts. Lawn tennis is the more traditional form of the game that is especially played on grass courts.
HistoryThe history of playing tennis dates back to the 12th and 13th centuries when French people played a game called jeu de paume.The first lawn tennis club was founded in 1872 and eventually, it became a professional sport. 
ScoringThe two-game buffer rule is not considered for tennis. In lawn tennis, the two-game buffer rule is present.
EquipmentTennis (or long tennis) uses much heavier balls as compared to lawn tennis and they are also handmade. Lawn tennis balls are lighter and they bounce more than balls used in tennis. 
RacketsThe head of the rackets are less wider and cannot exceed 9.5 inches. The head of the rackets is comparatively wider than the rackets of tennis. 
SurfaceCan be played on any surface.Played in well-trimmed grass surface.
Indoor/OutdoorIt is played within the confinement of four walls. It is played on a lawn or a courtyard. 
PlayersFamous tennis players are Robert Fahey and Pete Sampras. Famous lawn tennis players are Roger Federer and Serena Williams. 

What is Tennis?

We have often seen two people passing a ball on opposite sides of the court in many games like football, volleyball, basketball, tennis, etc. But in tennis, we use a racket to throw the ball on our opponent’s field, and then the other player does the same.

A tennis game is composed of a total of 3 sets and whichever player manages to win the first two sets is the winner. The main goal is to get 6 games first in a set with at least one difference between two matches.

In the case of a tie, an extra game is played and whoever makes 7 games first is the winner. 

Since tennis can be played in singles or doubles, the court size varies accordingly. For a singles game, the court is 23.77 meters long and 8.23 meters wide but for a doubles game, the width increases to 10.97 meters.

There is a net to divide the field of two opponents and the players have to throw the ball from the service area to the opponent. There are three types of cour in which tennis is played, namely, clay court, hard court, and grass court. 

Various tennis tournaments are organized for tennis but the most prestigious ones are Rolland Garros, Wimbledon, US Open, and Australia Open. In a tennis match, there is a total of 12 judges divided into several categories. 

What is Lawn Tennis?

Though tennis became popular in the 19th century, the rules were not fixed which created a lot of confusion. Walter Clopton Wingfield, a British army commander created tennis rules for the first time in 1873 and then renamed it lawn tennis.

The word “lawn” was added to the sports because, in the early days, the sport was played exclusively in well-trimmed grass lawns. Today, the term is not very popular because tennis is placed indoors as well.

In 1991, United States Lawn Tenis Association was founded for better regulation of the sport and tournament procedures. 

The lawn tennis equipment size varies from that of tennis. For example, the ball used in playing lawn tennis should be between the diameters of 2.5 to 2.6 inches.

The weight of the ball is also less than that of tennis and is either white or yellow. The rackets used in lawn tennis are of three types based on the size of the racket head but the weight varies between 10 and 11 ounces. 

The rules of the game are almost the same as that of tennis except for the two-game buffer rule that is only present in lawn tennis. Before starting the game, toss is done to decide which side will serve first.

India Open and Royal India Open are two famous lawn tennis tournaments in the country. 

Main Differences Between Tennis and Lawn Tennis 

  1. Tennis is the evolved form of lawn tennis and it can be played on any surface including concrete and clay courts whereas lawn tennis is played exclusively in well-trimmed grass courts.
  2. The two-game buffer rule is not considered for tennis whereas it is an important rule for lawn tennis.
  3. Tennis (or long tennis) uses much heavier balls as compared to lawn tennis and they are also handmade whereas lawn tennis balls are lighter and hence they bounce more. 
  4. The head of the rackets in tennis is less wide than the head of the rackets in lawn tennis.
  5. Tennis is played within the confinement of four walls whereas lawn tennis is played in courtyards and lawns. 
Difference Between Tennis and Lawn Tennis


Since the basic foundational rules of tennis and lawn tennis is not different, a person who is trained in tennis can play lawn tennis as well. History is the evidence that in earlier days only rich people had the advantage of playing tennis but the scenario is changing all over the world.

French people started playing lawn tennis whereas modern tennis was made popular by the English people. Apart from tennis and lawn tennis, table tennis is also a popular sport and it is played indoors. The rackets in this game are much smaller and the balls are also lighter. 


  1. https://cyberleninka.ru/article/n/14866474
  2. https://journals.lww.com/jbjsjournal/Abstract/1973/55060/Tennis_Elbow__Its_Course,_Natural_History,.4.aspx
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