Tennis and Table tennis, another has a table in its name but both sound the same otherwise. However, that isn’t the only difference between the two. Whether you like tennis or table tennis, it’s important to know the many differences between the two as a racket sports lover or just a curious human being.
This article will teach you everything you need to know about the differences between table tennis and tennis. Also, I will teach you what the similarities are, which one is harder, and compare the two even further. But first, what are the differences?
In short, tennis is played on a court that is 78ft (23.77m) long and 27ft (8.23m) wide, whereas a table tennis table is 9ft (2.7m) long and 5ft m (1.5m) wide. A tennis ball is made from vulcanized rubber and weighs 56g, whereas table tennis is played with an ABS plastic ball that weighs 2.7g.
That is the short version of it, but there are many other differences that we need to dig deeper into if we want to understand how different the two really are. Let’s get started!
- 1. Playing differences
- 2. Differences in rules
- 3. Equipment differences
- 4. Cost
- 5. Popularity
- Videos about tennis and table tennis
- Is table tennis harder than tennis
- Which came first; tennis or table tennis
- My Favorite Tennis Equipment
1. Playing differences
Let’s start with the playing of the sports itself. There are various differences between the court, playing tempo, and other things that I want you to know.
Court & table
The tennis court and table tennis tables are really different and that is the one that stands out the first.
The Tennis court is always 78ft (23.77m) in length. Single tennis matches are played in a 27ft (8.23m) wide and double 36ft (10.97m) wide. The tennis court’s net is 3.5ft (1.07m) high. All of this is considerably larger than a table tennis table.
When it comes to the surface of a tennis court, there are 4 main types that are grass, clay, hard, and artificial grass.
- Grass court is the traditional lawn surface of tennis, but it isn’t seen too much these days because of the need and cost of maintenance. However, you can find grass-court from various high-end tennis clubs and famous tennis arenas and tournaments like Wimbledon.
- Clay courts are funny in their own way because it slows down the ball when it hit’s the surface; therefore, clay courts are optimal for the players that like to play more tactically than with brute speed and force. Clay courts are made of crushed stone, shale, or brick.
- Hard courts can be made from concrete or asphalt, and they are usually surfaced with acrylic material. Generally, hard courts are a good midway between grass and clay courts when speed and bounce are considered. Hard courts are blue because it gives a good contrast between the ball and court, so the players, live and tv watchers can see it well.
- Artificial grass courts are made from polyethylene and nylon, which generates that nice surface for tennis. Artificial grass is like grass in terms of speed and bounce and is found in many tennis courts because it doesn’t require much maintenance.
Now, let’s move to ping pong tables and I’ll teach you the main points about them!
The standards size of a ping pong table is 9ft (2.75m) long by 5ft (1.5m) wide, and the funny thing about this is that the table’s size is the same when playing single’s and doubles. Ping pong tables weigh anywhere between 150lb (68kg) to 450lb (205kg) and can vary even further. This is because there are many materials and models out there which can alter the weight so drastically. Finally, the ping pong table’s net is 6inches (15.25cm) high.
When it comes to the coloring of the tabletops, the far most common color is blue, but there are also black and white ones. Also, most ping pong tables come in 2 parts and can be folded to save space and move easily, which brings us to the wheels that most tables are included with.
There are various materials and playing surfaces that a ping pong table can be made of, and the biggest determining factor here is whether it is an indoor or outdoor table. Let’s start with the indoor.
Indoor ping pong tables usually have a metal core that includes the feet and support rails. The tabletop itself is made from woods such as plywood, spruce, and pinewood. However, many tables are also made from high-density fiberboard or particleboard.
It’s really not wise to keep indoor ping pong tables outside because the materials can’t withstand much sunlight or moisture; therefore, players can play with an outdoor ping pong table. There is much more to know about the differences between indoor and outdoor tables so you should definitely check out my article about it.
Outdoor ping pong tables are commonly made from non-corrosive materials such as aluminium and stainless steel. Then nets, posts, and surfaces all need to be weatherproof with outdoor ping pong tables so they will last. The thing with outdoor ping pong tables is that the playing surface isn’t nearly as good as indoor tables because the ball’s bounce, spin, and control can’t compete with indoor tables.
The difference between tennis and table tennis is huge when looking at the speed. The distances that a tennis player needs to travel when trying to get to the ball are far longer than in table tennis, so it’s much more physically challenging. Tennis players need good reflexes, but it needs to be top quality in table tennis.
Table tennis players need excellent reflexes because the ball travels really fast, but the distance is considerably shorter.
The speed of a tennis ball can vary anywhere between 60 (95kph) to+150mph (240kph). The variation is so big because so are the strokes in tennis. The first serves are by far the fastest strikes, and then the speed will drop from there. Forehands are the fastest after serves, and backhands are the slowest. Naturally, the speed will also vary from the sex and body strength of the player.
The speed of ping pong balls can reach 70mph (120kph), which is considerably lower than tennis. However, table tennis players still need faster reflexes because of the short distance from the table. Also, the ping pong ball can rotate at the speed of thousands of rotations per minute, which is a big part of the game itself.
You might be interested in: What Is The Difference Between Table Tennis And Badminton?
2. Differences in rules
Now, there are so many rules in both of them, so I’m going to show you a listicle about the rules to see the main differences between the two from there.
Rules & scoring
|Who serves first is
|Every 2 point
|Usually 3 or 5
|Usually best of 5 games
|Game played to
|4 points with a
difference of 2
|11 with a difference
of 2 after 10-10
|”Let” on a serve
|”Let” on a point
|Striker gets point if
the ball lands inside
|Striker gets a point
Here are some differences and similarities between tennis and table tennis. Another important thing that I can’t leave unsaid is the tennis point system. Let’s take a look at it.
- 0 point ”love”
- 1 point is 15
- 2 points are 30
- 3 points are 40
- 4 points are ”Game”
As we can see, the point system can be weird if you haven’t ever heard of it before. Next, I need to tell you about the match times, and that can really surprise you.
The game times of tennis and table tennis are really different, and the competition between two players in tennis can last far longer than in table tennis.
- A tennis game that is the best of 3 games lasts around 90minutes, whereas the best of 5 matches lasts 2hours and 45 minutes, on average. However, in tennis, anything is possible, and it can be much less than that or far longer, as the historical +11 hour match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut.
- A table tennis game usually lasts anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes, so if a match is best of 5, then the competition between two players lasts from 15 to 50 minutes.
3. Equipment differences
There are many equipment differences between tennis and table tennis. Let’s start from rackets, then balls, and finally some additional equipment
The standard length for a tennis racket is 27inches (68cm), but there is a legal range to tournaments that range from 26.5inches (67cm) to 29inches (73.5cm). When it comes to the weight of a tennis racket, the average racket weighs 0.66lbs (300g), which is surprisingly low when looking at its size.
Tennis rackets are made from lightweight graphite or graphite composite, including titanium, fiberglass, or kevlar. The strings are made of natural gut, polyester, or nylon, and polyester is the best of the 3 for advanced athletes.
On the other hand, table tennis rackets are usually 6inches (15cm) wide and 10inces (25cm) long if you include the handle. Official rules of table tennis say that the racket can be any shape, size, or weight; however, nearly all table tennis rackets look the same because that is the optimal model for the game.
Table tennis paddles are usually made from 5 or 7 layers of wood, but some layers can be ply composite wood and titanium carbon fiber in the high-quality paddles. In addition, the paddles are always covered with rubber, and there are different kinds to choose from hard and powerful to soft and controllable.
Tennis balls need to have criteria in order so that they can be played in tournaments and competitions. A tennis ball’s diameters are 2.57–2.70 inches (6.54–6.86 cm), while it needs to weigh 1.98–2.10 ounces (56.0–59.4g). Also, tennis balls need to pass bounce criteria regulated by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
Finally, tennis balls are made from a hollow rubber shell. It is filled with pressurized gas, and the rubber shell is covered with green felt made from nylon or wool.
Table tennis balls are smaller and way lighter than tennis balls. The ping pong ball’s diameter is 40mm (1.57inches), weighing only around 2.7grams (0.095oz). Ping pong balls go through a long process of testing their surface, hardness, roundness, and weight so they can be approved for competitive play.
Ping pong balls were made from the 1900s to 2014 from celluloid, but International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) made changes that from 2015, all balls would be made from ABS plastic which they are made today.
While tennis and table tennis revolves mainly around their courts, tables, rackets, and balls, certain equipment, especially tennis players, is used due to the physically challenging sport and the length of the matches. Let’s take a look at some additional equipment.
In addition to the racket and ball, most tennis players use wrist and headbands because they can keep hair up and get rid of sweat quickly, making the match easier. We all know the feeling that salty sweat gets in the eye; it’s not pleasant. Table tennis players may also use these, especially if the player has longer hair.
Proper tennis or table tennis shoes are essential for maximizing the performance on the court. Tennis and table tennis shoes have a lot of similarities, but also some differences.
Tennis shoes are usually a bit longer because the game requires more support, and the sole is usually made for the hard tennis courts. Table tennis shoes, however, the cut are usually lower because the players need to move from side to side constantly, and a longer cut might irritate the ankle. Also, the soles are more shock-absorbing because of the nature of table tennis.
Finally, both tennis and table tennis players wear usually t-shirts, shorts, or skirts.
The cost of everything is always fun to read and if you want to make this interesting, guess which one of the sports costs more. Anyways, I’m going to walk you through the costs of equipment and the cost to play.
Learn more: Is Table Tennis Expensive?
Tennis racket prices go anywhere from $25 to +$500, and there are special rackets such as the Roger Federer autographed racket that cost $7500.00. When it comes to the cost of a tennis ball, a single ball costs somewhere near $3-$5, and a bulk order such as 24 cases costs around $60. Proper tennis shoes are usually on both sides of $100, but you definitely can find cheaper ones below $50. All in all, equipment costs aren’t high.
Table tennis rackets can go similarly from $20to +$500, and as in everything, special rackets with an autograph or limited-time editions cost thousands of dollars. Ping Pong balls are cheap, and a 3-star ball costs around $1. Table tennis tables, however, aren’t so cheap and they go from $500 to $4000, and the average price of a table tennis table is around $1500. Table tennis shoes go on both sides of $100, similarly to tennis shoes.
In conclusion, both tennis and table tennis equipment is relatively cheap compared to other sports, and the cost for a beginner is at least ridiculously low. The real difference where we see the price variations between the two is the cost to play.
Cost to play
This is where the real price difference goes between tennis and table tennis. When we think about how easily available ping pong tables can be and compare that to large tennis courts with high maintenance needs, it is natural that tennis is more expensive. Let’s take the average costs under the microscope.
The thing is with tennis is that there are public and private courts. Public courts are free; however, it is close to impossible to get a spot there, and they aren’t as pleasant to play on compared to private ones. Let’s take a private tennis membership of New York Tennis as an example. Below you can see what they have to offer.
Tennis playing costs:
- Seasonal pass from 7-9am: $900
- Seasonal pass from 8am-16pm: $1400
- Seasonal pass from 16pm-pm: $2600
- Seasonal pass from 20pm-22pm: $2200
As you can see below, table tennis is far cheaper than tennis. And the more expensive it makes that a season lasts 28 weeks, therefore the annual price of tennis is twice than you can see above.
Table tennis, on the other hand, isn’t nearly as expensive as tennis; however, it isn’t free either. Let’s take Table Tennis America as an example. Below you can see what they have to offer.
Table tennis playing costs:
- One-day pass: $10
- Three-day pass: $25
- Single one month plan: $65
- Monthly plan for junior: $35
- Monthly plan for adult: $45
- Monthly plan for the family: $85
- Annual plan for junior: $335
- Annual plan for adult: $445
- Annual plan for a family: $885
When we look at the one-day pass, it isn’t super expensive, but it isn’t cheap either. However, when we look at annual plans or monthly plans, they aren’t expensive because you can go as you please. Therefore if you take advantage of your pass, you can really get your money’s worth of ping pong. Take notice that there aren’t time limits to any of the passe’s.
There are quite big differences in the popularity between tennis and table tennis. According to ITF, there are 87million tennis players globally, whereas ITTF reports that there are more than 300 million table tennis players worldwide. In both cases, it is safe to say that tennis and table tennis are really popular sports, but table tennis is so much more popular because it is so easily accessible.
I have listed the top 5 countries on both tennis and table tennis, where the sport is most popular.
Top 5 tennis-playing countries:
- New Zeland
- United Kingdom
Top 5 table tennis playing countries:
- South Korea
Videos about tennis and table tennis
I thought that it would be nice to see the differences between tennis and table tennis visually, so you really can get the idea about the two.
Great moments of Tennis
Amazing shots of Table Tennis
Is table tennis harder than tennis
In my opinion, table tennis is much harder when you try to play competitively. Table tennis is way faster in pace and is included with hard spins and strikes. However, tennis is much more physically demanding because the strikes need more power, longer distances, and the games last far longer.
If you want to learn more about the difficult differences between tennis and table tennis, I highly encourage you to read my article about it.
Which came first; tennis or table tennis
In short, tennis came before table tennis because table tennis was invented from tennis in the first place. Tennis was first played around the 1860s, whereas the prototype version of table tennis was played in the 1880s.
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.
As we can see, there is a boatload of differences between tennis and table tennis; however, there are clear similarities as well between the two.
I hope you now have an obvious idea about what tennis includes and what table tennis is. I am happy to always educate about racket sports because they are so close to my heart and life.