Tennis Vs. Racquetball, What Is the Difference?

Racket games are some of the most thrilling sports in the world. These sports are usually alike, with little differences among them, an example being tennis and racquetball. So, what is the difference between tennis and racquetball?

Tennis players use a bigger court and a net in the middle, but racquetball requires a small court with a wall in front and sideways. Secondly, tennis rackets are more extensive, more potent, and oval-like, but racquetball sticks are tinier and slightly flatter at the top. 

The two sports may be pretty confusing, especially to a first-timer. However, we are here to tell you their uniqueness to help pick your favorite. Read on to find out more about tennis and racquetball. 

Tennis Vs. Racquetball

How Do You Play the Tennis Game?

You must have heard of the big names in tennis such as the William sisters, Nadal, Osaka, and many other professional athletes from around the world. Their surnames alone are enough to associate them with the sport. Let’s have a brief overview of what it means to be a tennis player. 

Tennis is one of the most famous racket games attracting a massive following of players and fans. During gameplay, players use a racket with a frame with strung cords to hit a tennis ball. The ball is a hollow sphere with a felt covering. You can play tennis against one opponent in a singles match or team up with a partner to play against two others in doubles. The game’s motive is to serve and return the ball aiming for the opponent to make a faulty hit. You win the point if the other player fails to hit the ball back across the net or hits the net instead. 

A tennis match can be pretty long, with games going for more than two hours. Anybody can play it, provided that they can maneuver on the court with their racket. However, it is a fast-paced game requiring stamina on the court. You may need a lot of power to hit the ball over the net, and you have to be very attentive to watch the ball and know the right place and proper way to shoot. 

You can play tennis on different surfaces, grass, clay, hard or carpet, depending on the type of competition. Tennis is also one of the most highly-anticipated sports, with games featured in the Olympics and famous grand slam tournaments such as Wimbledon, US Open, French Open, and Australian Open.  

How Do you Play the Racquetball Game?

Since its invention in the 1950s, racquetball has been a favorite among many racket game lovers. It is a slight variation from tennis, but they have a lot in common, although it may not come with great competitive perks as tennis does. 

Racquetball is a racket game that you can play on an indoor or outdoor court. Unlike conventional racket sports, you don’t hit the ball over a net; instead, you strike it against a wall. The entire wall, including the floor and ceiling, are legal playing surfaces. The sport’s motive is to take advantage of the court at the center or behind the receiving line. Therefore, you intend to lock out all the easy-access areas of the court, making it challenging for your opponent to set up a defense. After hitting the ball, you must go back to the court center and anticipate your opponent’s next move. 

A player deploys many strategies when playing racquetball. However, the goal is to avoid being in a tight spot, limiting your maneuvers, or giving your contender the upper hand. You also have to be attentive to the other player’s moves by looking sideways, which helps you prepare for your shots. At the same time, you must also avoid making predictable moves because your opponent will likely use them against you. Overall, racquetball is a high adrenaline sport that also requires stamina. Racket game lovers enjoy playing it and appreciate that it is also a game of strategy.  

What Are the Similarities Between Racquetball and Tennis?

Racket games have always entertained people both indoors and outdoors over the years. Tennis and racquetball compete to gain a more significant fan base given their distinctive features. To understand the sports better, here are the similarities between racquetball and tennis. 

Both games use a racket to hit the ball towards the opponents. Secondly, they both use a rubber ball, which is hollow to enable bouncing upon impact. You can play these sports as a single player or team up with a partner to play doubles. Moreover, you may need gloves or other protective gear like eyewear in racquetball and sweat and wrist bands in tennis to help manage sweat during a vigorous game.

Additionally, both sports have a service line where the first player must stand during the first strike. Lastly, you can play the two games indoors or outdoors for recreation or as a tournament.

Differences Between Tennis and Racquetball 

Given that tennis and racquetball are both racket sports, it becomes challenging for newbies to distinguish them. It is even more tasking to select one sport to play since they are pretty similar. Therefore, here are the difference between tennis and racquetball.

Tennis is the older sport among the two, with the first players dating back to before the 12th century. On the other hand, racquetball is a modification of tennis, explaining why they have similar features. Also, the tennis court is massive than that of racquetball, and it involves the use of a more extensive and heavier ball and racket. Therefore, the tennis equipment has to be bigger because the game is on a giant court. The two sports scoring system is also distinct. 

It began in the 12th century as a “palm game”It started in the 1950s as a modification of tennis
The court is massive, measuring around 78 by 27 feetThe court is smaller at 40 by 20 feet
The racket is oval-shaped, broader, longer, and more powerfulThe stick is a bit flattened at the top, lightweight and shorter
The racket’s strings are tighter for added power and controlThe strings are a bit loose due to the fast-paced gaming
The ball is fluorescent, oversized, and heavy given the giant courtThe ball used is lighter and tiny due to the short court distance
The racket has a grip around the shaft to make gaming comfortableThere is a strap at the butt that goes around the wrist
The scoring system is 15 30 40The game is in three sets with winning variations for different competitions

There’s a lot more to tennis and racquetball. Therefore, we have compiled the outstanding features to help distinguish them.


Tennis was initially a simple version without the modern nets or rackets. Instead, players used their hands to hit the ball at their opponents. It was previously called the “jeu de paume” but has so far evolved to be the great sport you know and love. This old game gets credit for the other variations of racket games present today. It also led to the rise of modern tennis with new rules and equipment. The game shot to fame in the 1960s when it amassed worldwide tennis following of players and fans. 

Thanks to the “palm game,” we now have racquetball, squash, badminton, pickleball, and other versions. Racquetball is relatively new to the racket games after its inception in around 1950, particularly during the Korean War. Its founder was Joe Sebek, who saw the need for a racket game played in a tight space indoors. It didn’t need a grand court or a net but maintained the same equipment and style of play. 


You can play outdoor or indoor tennis and on different surfaces depending on the tournament and level of competition. The most common ground is the hard court, which is of concrete or asphalt material. You will also find courts of clay, grass, carpet, or artificial turf. The court is broader than the grounds of most racket games, measuring a whopping 78 by 27 feet for singles and 18 by 36 feet for doubles. There is also more space around the court. 

The net is also huge. It is 3 feet high and stands across the grounds. The net cuts the field into two equal portions for each player and is always parallel to the baselines. On the other hand, a racquetball court has walls on each side measuring around 20 feet while the floor is 40 by 20 feet. It is entirely enclosed and has lines on the floor marking the service point and the serve reception spot. 

However, there are different variations of the court depending on the venue and the type of tournament. For instance, some courts have short sidewalls while others are open. Usually, a short line is closer to the wall and runs parallel to the front wall and the service line. There is also another set of marks in between meant for doubles players who don’t serve. You will notice the receiving line, which runs parallel to the others but is a dashed mark.


The equipment used in any game depends on the nature of the play. For instance, since tennis requires a larger court than racquetball, the tennis racket must be bigger and more powerful. A typical stick for the grand court is usually 27-29 inches, while it is never longer than 22 inches in racquetball. The racket size also has a lot to do with the size of the ball. The tennis ball is broader and heavier; hence, it needs a more potent racket to help push it over the giant court. 

Secondly, the players are often very close to each other on the racquetball court; therefore, having a broad racket will interfere with the gameplay, as it risks collision. A smaller stick is the best option to help prevent cramping up in the small space. The rackets’ shapes also differ, and it is very evident at first glance. Tennis rackets have a more defined oval shape with a round top; however, racquetball sticks tend to flatten at the head. Additionally, looking closely at the strings, you will notice that they are pretty distinct. 

They are not of the same material and have different designs. First, strings on a racquetball’s racket are a bit loose, essential in providing the player with more power, given the fast-paced gaming and quick, strong impact. Tennis rackets, in contrast, are created with control and strength in mind, explaining why they are tighter. Lastly, racquetball rackets always have a strap attached to the bottom, which goes around your wrist as you play. In contrast, tennis rackets only have a grip around the shaft. 


In tennis, games typically consist of different sets, with one player serving the ball. Tennis is a sport with a strange scoring system of 15 30 40 with the match beginning at “love.” You win a game with at least a two-point advantage over your opponent, and you must have at least four points. If you tie at three points, the 40-40, you are at the “deuce.” Otherwise, if you lead by one point, you are at the “advantage.” 

Generally, tennis allows any side to score regardless of who served the ball, and each point is 15. If you get to 60 first, you win the game as long as you have the advantage. On the other hand, in US racquetball, the game is in three sets, with the first two having a maximum of 15 points while the last round has 11. However, Canada rules only require a two-point advantage for you to win. Therefore, the scoring system relies on your country and the type of competition. 


Another critical piece of equipment in both games is the balls. It is the determining factor in both sports because you will earn a point whenever your opponent fails to make a valid hit. The balls for each game have different colors, weights, and sizes. You will notice that tennis balls are fluorescent yellow, while racquetball balls come in various colors, but the most common is blue. Tennis balls are usually fluorescent yellow to increase the visibility on the court. Secondly, the tennis ball tends to be heavier at about 2 oz, but the racquetballs weigh around 1.4 oz. 

Their diameters are also different, measuring approximately 2.7 and 2.25 inches. This significant difference in weight and measurement is likely due to the size of the tennis court. Since a tennis game requires a giant ground, the ball must be more significant and heavier to cover the long-distance and be noticeable. On the contrary, racquetball courts are a small enclosure; hence, they may not necessarily need a massive ball.


Tennis and racquetball share some aspects because they are both racket games. However, tennis is the pioneer sport, while racquetball is a slight variation. Taking a closer look, you will realize that they may have the same objective but are pretty distinct. First, they use different rackets, with the tennis version being stronger, heavier, and more oval-shaped. Secondly, racquetball uses a smaller and lighter ball since its court is relatively tinier. However, tennis is a large-scale variation with a grand court and a high net. The scoring system is also different as tennis has the 15 30 40 while racquetball involves three sets.

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David Lee

Hey there, my name is David Lee and I am the person behind this website. I started playing tennis over 20 years ago and on this site I will show you how to enjoy tennis.

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