Squash vs. Tennis: The Ultimate Guide for You To Understand Differences
Squash and tennis are two of the most popular racket games in the world, and it’s easy to forgive amateurs who might find it difficult differentiating the two.
Both games originated from a game called racquets that was started by some prisoners trying to kill time by playing a hollow rubber ball against the wall.
However, the main difference between the two games is that in squash, a player or players hit the ball against the wall using a racket in a court that has four walls.
On the other hand, tennis may involve two or four players playing against each other on the court that has a 3 m net in between them in singles and doubles respectively.
Let’s dig a little deeper
Although both games originate from the original racquets game from England, squash was formally started in the Harrow school in the 1830s. Eventually, the game spreads to other schools before becoming internationally recognized. The first makeshift courts were very dangerous as students played in cramped areas with chimneys, ledges and water pipes getting in their way of play. The school, later on, developed a better outdoor court where students used a rubber ball made from natural rubber and makeshift rackets. There were no set standards for squash until 1907.
According to historians, tennis can be traced back to the 12th century where a France enthusiast of the game, by then called game of the palm (jeu de paume), build the first tennis court that resembles what we have today. It wasn’t until the 16th century that the use of rackets was incorporated into the game making it more enjoyable. The modern tennis game, however, has its origins from Birmingham, England in the early 1860s.
The basic rules are almost the same except that in squash, you have to maintain the ball in the legal play area in the four walls. However, in tennis, you should ensure that the ball does not bounce twice on your court when receiving a serving from the opponent. You need to keep the rubber ball at play in the designated area until either of the competitors loses control of the ball or is unable to return a serve from the opponent.
Equipment (Racket and ball)
When it comes to rackets, both games use pretty much similar rackets only that they may vary in size, shape, and weight. Although tennis rackets vary in size and weight, they are known to be the heaviest in racket sports in general. You could expect them to be anywhere between 250 g and 350 g. Furthermore, tennis rackets are always bigger than squash rackets and all other racket sports. Tennis rackets are limited to around 73 cm in length and have a typical oval head.
Squash rackets, on the other hand, are typically small in size and have a head that resembles an inverted triangle. They are mostly limited to a maximum of 68 cm in length. You can also expect them to weigh between 100 g and 175 g.
Although both racket games use the same kind of balls, they are mainly distinguished by the material used to make the balls. Furthermore, squash balls are typically smaller in size as compared to tennis balls. Both balls are made of rubber and are hollow. However, tennis balls are mainly covered with an extra layer of colored fabric. You can as well distinguish them by weight as squash balls tend to be lighter when compared to tennis balls.
When it comes to courts, again tennis courts are a bit larger and must have a 3 m net in the middle of the court. Courts can be built of clay, grass or carpet and can be indoors or outdoors. Tennis courts are also rectangular and have different markings for singles and doubles to mark the field of play.
Squash courts, on the other hand, are smaller in size and are mostly indoors. They have four walls surrounding them which ensure that the ball doesn’t go out of play. The players face on the same direction and hit the ball against the wall.
Both tennis and squash are played by either two players against each other or four players going against each other in doubles. There are no age or gender restrictions for players in both games as well.
In squash, players spin a racket to determine who serves first. A legal service requires a player to hit the ball against the wall with one leg in the service box without touching any line. The ball must as well hit the wall directly in front of the players and above the service line before landing at the opposite back quarter court.
In tennis, players toss a coin to decide who serves first. The typical service involves a player tossing the ball in the air and hitting it towards the opponent’s court. A legal service coming from the opponent’s side must first bounce on your box in the constraints of the marked play area. If you are unable to return the service, then the opponent gains a point.
Scoring in tennis is pretty much easy, and it only requires your opponent’s inability to return a serve or a shot. Both sides are tasked to keep the ball playing in the court without bouncing more than once in your court or going out of play. If the opponent is unable to return your serve, then you gain a point.
In squash, scoring is a bit more similar to racquetball. However, in squash, they play best of three or five with every one of the games carrying 11 points. This means that the first player to get 11 points wins the game. Just like tennis, if the opponent is unable to return a serve s/he exposes himself to danger. There are various scoring systems in squash as well which include English scoring(original) American scoring and point-a-rally scoring.
In both games, there are some officials in every game, but there is always the main referee who makes most of the decisions. As in every game, the referee’s decision is final, and players/spectators/coaches aren’t allowed to interfere with refereeing. At one single game, the number of officials in the game may vary depending on the level of the tournament. In tennis, there can be up to 11 officials at the same time in one game. In squash, however, the most important officials are the referee and the marker. They share responsibilities in the game.