Racquetball vs. Tennis: The Complete Comparison to Know Your Sport


Racquetball and Tennis are often compared by many journalists, sports enthusiasts and players alike. There are various unique features in both games.

As I was surfing the Internet, I came across a thread discussing the differences between these two games.

There are many differences in regards to their rules, history, equipment and the techniques used to play the games. In this context, I decided to have a look at the differences and similarities of the two games from different perspectives.

So let's begin

Racquetball vs Tennis

Brief History

Tennis has a rich history which dates back thousands of years. Originally, the game was played by hand using the same techniques used today by sportsmen and women. People used to hit the ball back and forth using their hands before the game evolved slowly to include the use of rackets, nets, and lines. Eventually, the game would grow to have a set of rules that advanced with time. History has Birmingham, England as the origin of the modern tennis, then known as lawn tennis.

Racquetball, on the other hand, is believed to have been started in the 1950s by a gentleman called Joe Sobek during the Korean War. The idea of the game was to ensure that people could be able to enjoy playing a racket game in areas with space restrictions. However, the original idea came from the tennis game which also gave birth to other racket games played today such as table tennis and squash.

Basic Rules

The objective of the two games is similar, and therefore the basic rules are pretty much the same. The idea is to hit the ball in a way that your opponent is unable to return it before it bounces twice on their court. However, in racquetball, there is no out of bounds area, and therefore you need to be quick enough to avoid having the ball bouncing twice before hitting it back.

In tennis, you should ensure that your serve hits the opponent’s court and they are supposed to hit it back before it bounces twice. Both sides should ensure that as they hit the ball back, it passes over the net and lands on the marked area of the opponent. If the ball goes out of play in your hands, the opponent automatically earns a point.

Equipment (Racket, Shoes, Ball)

Both games use the same rackets although, in racquetball, players are encouraged to use rackets that are not longer than 22 inches from the handle to the top. However, in tennis, rackets can go all the way up to 29 inches in length from the base to the top. Typically, these rackets are made from a mixture of materials such as rubber for the grip, graphite for the frame and synthetic nylon to make the string mesh used to hit the ball.

In both games, the balls are similar although the racquetball is slightly smaller in size. Although both are made from bouncy rubber, the tennis ball is covered with wool and comes in multiple colors.

When it comes to shoes, players are likely to confuse the right shoes for each game by looking at them. In most cases, they look similar in appearance to running shoes, but there are subtle differences in design that go a long way in increasing the player’s performance. For example, tennis shoes have a blunter toe and stronger edges where racquetball shoes are designed to provide enough traction due to the smoother nature of the racquetball court.


Playing Tennis; Image: http://www.nydailynews.com/


The Racquetball court is smaller in size as compared to tennis and does not have a net in between the players. The typical racquetball court is 40 feet x 20’ and comes with four high walls around’ 20 feet each. The idea of the game is to serve the ball against the opposing wall and ensure that it bounces off in any surface on the court. On the other hand, the tennis court is a bit larger at around 78 feet x 9’. In the middle of the court, there is a 3 feet high net that goes across the court separating the opponents. In most cases, the surface of the tennis court is made of clay, cement or grass.

A tennis court also has markings for singles and doubles. There is also a service line which is around 21 feet from the middle of the court which is divided into two parts which create a surface where the first serve must fall. The ball is intended to bounce on your opponent’s side without hitting the lines or outside of the box.


In tennis, the game is played by both male and female players. Tournaments allow singles and doubles meaning one opponent against another and two opponents against two opponents of the same gender. The same case applies to racquetball.

As you would expect, players are expected to play using the correct gear and display sportsmanship behavior during tournaments. The most famous players in tennis are Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Maria Sharapova, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and the William sisters. Renowned racquetball professionals include Marty Hogan, Paola Longoria, Rocky Carson, Samantha Salas and Shane Vanderson among others.


Serving in tennis is the first shot of a game. In most cases, players toss the ball in the air and hit it hard towards the opponent’s box. Experienced players use a couple of techniques such as spins, kicks, and flats to ensure that the opponent is unable to hit back the ball as required by the rules consequently earning themselves a point.

In a case where the ball is served and hits the net but successfully bounces on the opponent’s court, the player is given two serves to get it in. The play might also receive two serves in case the opponent wasn’t prepared for the serve. Most professional players maximize their serving experience as it gives them the best shot at earning points.

Just like tennis, racquetball serving requires some technique and experience. The most common services seen on the court are pinch and jam serves. Ideally, there are two basic serves which are offensive and defensive. The main idea is to get the opponent to return a weak hit or miss the ball thereby earning a point.

Playing Racquetball; Image:


In Racquetball, scoring is pretty easy as compared to tennis. The main goal of the player or players in case of a double-team is to reach 15 points before the opponents. You need to win two games in a match, and in case of a tie, the two sides play an 11-point third game as a tiebreaker. In this game, the only way to score is through your serve or benefit from rallies coming from your serve. In case you win a rally from the opponent’s serve, you are awarded the right to serve.

In tennis, scoring is a bit different as players are engaged in a best of three or best-of-five set. In every set, there are a couple of games, and to win, you need to beat the opponent in more games as compared to their win. E,g 4 to 2. In a case where both teams have a tie, the games continue until one side gets ahead with at least two games. All games begin with zero points popularly known as love and progress to 15, 30 and more until the winning point. If again the two opponents are tied at 40-40, to find a winner, one needs to win a point for an advantage and a subsequent one to win the game.

In racquetball, scoring is much easier than in tennis as you can only score when you serve to gain one point. On the other hand, tennis players can score at any time regardless of who serves the ball.


When it comes to officiating the game, in most tournament games, referees are required to have a certification depending on the nature of the tournament. It goes without saying that these referees undergo rigorous training in the respective games. The referees must also show an understanding of the game and its rules. However, the number of officials differ in racquetball and tennis.

In racquetball, a single referee is responsible for making most of the decisions but is also assisted by four line referees. Nevertheless, the referee’s decision is usually final. On the other hand, in competitive tennis, there can be up to 11 officials in a single game. These officials are categorized in regards to their responsibilities in the game. Nevertheless, it’s not uncommon to see competitive games without official referees in the court.

How to Play Racquetball Clip

How to Play Tennis Clip

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    Peter S. Harper

    I am Peter, a 39-year-old friendly being from the United States. I love playing a lot of sports such as tennis, table tennis, volleyball, softball, and badminton... I have created this blog to help you find information on different types of sports equipment and finding the right one to enhance your skills at the game.

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