Tennis Vs Racquetball: The Difference Between
I’m a big fan of different racket sports, and some of my favorites are tennis and racquetball. Even when they are racket sports, some differences set them apart. In this article, I will explain all the major differences between tennis and racquetball, so you can know the difference and make your mind about your favorite of the two. So, what’s the difference?
Tennis is played on a court 78ft (23.77m) long and 27ft (8.23m) wide, whereas a racquetball court is 40ft ( 12.19m)long, 20ft (6.9m) wide, and 20ft (6.9m) high. A tennis ball is made from vulcanized rubber and weighs 1.975oz (56g), whereas a racquetball is made from latex rubber weighing 1.4oz (40g).
Naturally, there are more differences between the court and ball that each has more differences. To explain the differences in-depth, we need to dive into each subject alone and examine them individually. Without further due, stick with me, and let’s begin our comparison!
What’s the Difference Between Tennis and Racquetball?
Below you can find a comparison and an in-depth look from six tennis and racquetball categories. They are court, equipment, gameplay, rules, popularity, and earning potential. Let’s start with the playing grounds.
The first difference between tennis and racquetball is the playground. In short, tennis is an outdoor sport, and racquetball is an indoor sport, yet you can find tennis courts and halls indoors and racquetball courts outdoors.
There are four main types of tennis courts;
- Hardcourt: Hard courts are the hardest and fastest courts to play on. Due to the hard concrete or asphalt surface covered with an acrylic top, the ball bounces off fastest. In addition, it’s the only court material you can dry with squeegees efficiently.
- Clay court: Clay courts are orange tennis courts, often made from crushed shale, stone, or brick. The playing tempo is considerably slower than on a hard court, yet the bounce is quite high. Thus, rallies are longer, and your shoes and socks will get dirtier than any other court type.
- Grass court: Grass courts are the original material of lawn tennis, as the name states. The playing conditions are pleasant, yet the maintenance costs are higher than any other court type. Therefore, they are often only found in well-doing tennis clubs.
- Artificial grass court: Artificial grass-court replicates the real thing but are less expensive and easier to maintain. They are made from synthetic material blends, which give the authentic feel of tennis without headaches.
The floors are usually made from hardwood when it comes to racquetball courts. The walls and ceiling can be of various materials, usually panels with galvanized steel frames to support the whole thing. A
great thing about racquetball courts is that they are often included with a glass door and back wall systems, so you don’t feel so boxed inside the court. Don’t worry; the glass is always really sturdy.
I love racquet sports because you don’t need a ridiculous amount of equipment for each body part. Thus, tennis and racquetball are mainly played with a racket and a ball. Other important equipment includes proper shoes. Racquetball is usually played with gloves and safety goggles too.
Anyways, there are considerable differences between the rackets and balls, starting with the racket.
Tennis rackets are up to 29inches (73.6cm) long with a weight range of 8-12.6oz (227-357g). In contrast, racquetball racquets are up to 22inches (56cm) long with a weight range of 5.3-6.5oz (150-185g). As you can see, racquetball racquets are considerably lighter in weight, yet the length-to-weight ratio can be higher.
Generally, there are two types of tennis balls: pressurized and pressureless. The difference is that pressurized balls are considered the quality ones as they perform better with a more quality bounce. Yet, their lifespan is shorter as the pressure will start to decrease immediately after opening the box. Non-pressurized balls rely the bounce on the rubber structure alone, potentially lasting for years to come.
Also, tennis balls are made from rubber and covered with a green/yellow felt. The felt is there to slow down the ball, so the pace isn’t too fast. Also, the bounce quality is better because of the felt.
Racquetballs are a different story. They, too, are made from rubber, yet they aren’t covered with anything other than color, and they weigh less than tennis balls. Racquetballs weigh 1.4oz (40g), whereas tennis balls weigh between 1.975-2.095oz (56-59.4g)
Speaking of the colors on racquetballs, there are many of them, and they dictate how they act.
- Blue: Considered the most beginner-friendly ball. The speed is medium, the bounce and trajectory are very predictable and durable.
- Black: Very slow racquetballs. Used to create longer rallies, so they tend to last long too. Great for people requiring more response time than with traditional racquetballs.
- Purple: Professional level racquetballs as they are the fastest. Tend to wear out fast as the most powerful hitters strike them continuously.
- Red: Created for fast-paced, outdoor play. The bright red color is easily noticeable; thus, it’s perfect for the outdoors.
- Green: A great middle road between blue and purple balls. Green balls are faster than blue, yet predictable but still slower than purple. Great for intermediate players.
- Multicolor: Multicolored balls are rarely used, yet they are great for extra visibility and spin training.
The biggest differences between tennis and racquetball equipment lie in the racket and balls. Yet, there are other differences too. Let’s check them out.
- Shoes: Generally, tennis shoes are made outdoors; thus, the outsole is more durable. In the meantime, racquetball shoes are made for indoors and must have a great grip on the wooden floors. Tennis shoes are often included with an additional upper piece at the front of the shoe to protect them from rough court materials. Otherwise, the shoes are quite similar.
- Gloves: Tennis is rarely played with gloves, yet they are used in racquetball. The point is to decrease the number of water blisters and calluses. The grip will also be improved, especially if you’re a sweater.
- Safety goggles: The same thing with the gloves; they are only used in racquetball. The distance and power in tennis aren’t the same as on racquetball. Therefore, safety goggles are used for plain protection from the ball that could do serious damage if it hits an eye.
The playing conditions, feel, and overall game for the sports of tennis and racquetball also have major differences.
First and foremost, tennis is played outdoors and racquetball indoors. Both have pros and cons, but the main benefit of tennis is that you get to enjoy the weather outdoors and sunlight. Yet, you can’t play tennis when it’s raining, with some exceptions. Racquetball is a sport of any weather as it doesen’t concern indoor racquetball courts.
Second, racquetball is much faster in pace than tennis. In fact, swinging ”kill shots” on racquetball is a popular practice, even though you can hit aces on tennis. Yet, they are common in racquetball.
The speed of the balls is different too. The average speed for racquetball at a professional level is between 150-160mph (241-257kph), and the fastest recorded serve was over 190mph (305kph)! Tennis balls are slower with an average speed of 65-85mph (104-136kph), yet, serving is faster with speeds ranging from 120-150mph (193-241kph). The fastest tennis serve recorded is 163mph (262kph)!
These are the major differences between tennis and racquetball. Naturally, there are more differences, but that amount is too great to be listed in one overall comparison. Next up, rules!
I will list the most significant rule differences between tennis and racquetball, as all rules listed wouldn’t be practical on this kind of side-by-side examination.
|First server is determined by||Coin toss||Coin toss/racquet spin|
|Server changes||Every game||Until failure|
|Serve must bounce||Yes||Yes|
|Games played to||4 points with a|
difference of 2
|Total games played||Usually 3 or 5||Usually 3 or 5|
There you have it, the most commonly asked differences and similarities in tennis and racquetball. Overall, the sports are quite similar, yet quite different simultaneously.
The popularity between tennis and racquetball is drastic too. It shouldn’t be a surprise that tennis is far more popular globally and in the United States than racquetball, even when racquetball is more popular within its popularity.
That’s partly because there are so many fewer people playing racquetball overall than tennis. It’s estimated that there are 87 million tennis players globally, of which 17.68 million are from the US. In contrast, there are 20 million racquetball players worldwide, whereas 3.53 million are in the US.
Even when racquetball is the most popular in the United States and tennis isn’t even in the top 5 countries, the number of tennis players in the US is many times over. One of the reasons is that racquetball’s popularity has been decreasing for a very long time, although it seems to have stopped in recent years.
You can find a table of the top 5 countries where tennis and racquetball are popular below.
The difference is probably the biggest when it comes to the earning possibilities for tennis and racquetball players.
Top-level tennis players can earn up to tens of millions of dollars annually. In extreme cases such as Roger Federer’s, you can earn much more such as $106 million in just one year!
The same isn’t simply possible for racquetball players. The average racquetball player’s salary is $57,749, which is astronomically smaller than the top-level tennis player. Even top lever racquetball players that earn +$112,256 annually doesen’t come close.
Yet, if you love racquetball, even the average salary is decent, and the top-level earnings are good! For tennis players, the potential earnings would allow you can live a luxurious life.
Videos of Tennis & Racquetball
To finish this article, you can visually see every difference that tennis and racquetball have by looking at the videos below. If you’re a fan of high speed and indoor sports, I’m sure racquetball will be your thing. However, if you like the outdoors and a longer distance is better, then tennis is better for you as it is for me.
Check out some amazing clips from tennis!
Here are some cool racquetball highlights!
My Favorite Tennis Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Below you’ll find my top tennis equipment recommendations would like.
- Racket: My preferred tennis racket is the Wilson Ultra 100 V3. This racket is made from graphite and carbon fiber, making it durable, firm, and easy to swing. The racket weighs 300g, making it lightweight yet not too lightweight to generate power. The racket’s main benefit is power. I like to add multifilament strings to the racket, such as Wilson NXT Soft 16 (recommended tension 52lb/23.5kg), because they are comfortable and soft on the arm with a great feel to the game.
- Tennis balls: Best tennis balls are always pressurized, and I like them having extra-duty felt, which is fit for hard court play. I like Penn Championship Tennis Balls, and so does the ITF because these balls are approved for competitive play. So yes, these are the real deal.
- Tennis shoes: I can’t stress enough the importance of comfortable and supporting shoes. ASICS Gel-Resolution 8 tennis shoes are unique because the balance between durability and support mixed with comfort is something out of the ordinary.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.