why is the net lower in the middle?

Discussion in 'Pros' Racquets and Gear' started by kuhdlie, May 25, 2009.

  1. kuhdlie

    kuhdlie Rookie

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    looks like the regulations state the net is supposed to be 6 inches lower in the middle, what's the reason for this? tradition? less errors so stimulating play? anyone know why?

    a lot of the nets at the local parks are strung totally level but not at the pro tourneys. searched all over but there seems to be no answer for this.
     
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  2. zacinnc78

    zacinnc78 Professional

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    probably to make hitting up the line more of a challenge and going up the middle easier but who knows..it was probably some sort of accident that stuck....
    in other words,i dont know:)
     
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  3. aceroberts13

    aceroberts13 Professional

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    that was pretty good considering; better than anything I could come up with...
     
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  4. esrb

    esrb Rookie

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    This is the smartest answer I ever heard about anything; the truth is not even the USTA know that....rules?
    As an Engineer, my humble opinion is that the net is heavy and does´nt have any pole to keep it straight in the middle....unless the net cord is so tight that if it breaks, could kill the referee....or a ballboy.
     
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  5. THESEXPISTOL

    THESEXPISTOL Hall of Fame

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    lol:)
    once i was playing at a court and my forehand went just right into the cord of the middle... the cord broke (it was sustained by big rusty paper staples) and it bounced for almost 1 minute..
     
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  6. Commando Tennis Shorts

    Commando Tennis Shorts Hall of Fame

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    This is interesting and something I have never really thought about. It is interesting, though, to think about how it has affected tennis strategy over the years. For example, the cross-court diagonal rallies, placement of serves, etc.
     
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  7. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Only for singles
     
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  8. dextor

    dextor Rookie

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    I also wondered why sometimes the doubles net length is used FOR SINGLES. This virtually eliminates any chance of going around the post.
     
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  9. THESEXPISTOL

    THESEXPISTOL Hall of Fame

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    dextor i think that clubs put doubles net into singles matchs whem the court is used for both matches...
    You can see at Grand-slams like i saw in AO09 that after doubles matches they change to singles net.
     
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  10. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Historical
     
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  11. tudwell

    tudwell Hall of Fame

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    Gravity

    10char
     
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  12. THESEXPISTOL

    THESEXPISTOL Hall of Fame

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    o_O explain that
     
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  13. jelle v

    jelle v Hall of Fame

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    In my humble opinion it is a direct consequence of the need to tighten the netcord.. without a band in the middle of the net, the net would hang very lose, which would effect the chance of the ball going over the net when hit against the netcord. Also it simply keeps the net in place. Playing tennis with a bouncing net with be very distracting.
     
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  14. TonyB

    TonyB Hall of Fame

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    Probably the best guess so far.

    It would be physically impossible to keep the net straight across the entire court due to the weight of the net sagging down towards the middle. So, as a compromise, my guess is that they found that the average net height when tightly strung was around 6 inches lower than the posts. So, in order to make net height uniform, that height was chosen to be maintained.

    Why 6 inches and not 5 or 7? I have no idea. Must have just been one of those things that were decided a long time ago and stuck.
     
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  15. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    The post for doubles is still 3 feet 6 inches tall. And the center of the net where the strap is is 3 feet.
     
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  16. Nuke

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    It's physics. The net cord wants to sag in the middle (a parabolic shape). To make it perfectly level across the complete span, the cord would have to be impossibly tight.
     
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  17. GPG

    GPG Semi-Pro

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    I guess that making it lower at the middle with that heigh, gives the net the proper tension
     
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  18. kuhdlie

    kuhdlie Rookie

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    i did mention in the thread starter that a lot of local parks have nets that are 100% level, it's not a big feat of engineering to tighten it.

    "physics" and "gravity" has nothing to do with it. even if the net is made of lead and so heavy it's too hard to lift from both ends, they can have a stick or something to hold it up in the middle to the same height as the sides.
     
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  19. federerdomination

    federerdomination Semi-Pro

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    well why can't they put a post in the middle of the net to keep it the same height then?
     
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  20. Nanshiki

    Nanshiki Hall of Fame

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    Those are the rules. Three feet in the middle, 3.5 feet at the posts (or singles sticks). End of story.
     
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  21. Nuke

    Nuke Hall of Fame

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    They may look level to your eye, but unless the tension on the net cord is very high, the middle of the net will be a low point, even if only a fraction of an inch.
     
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  22. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    ^See above^
     
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  23. Nanshiki

    Nanshiki Hall of Fame

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    No, historical is why Wimbleton uses wooden net posts and everyone wears white.

    The reason the standard net height is 36 inches is because those are the rules of the game.
     
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  24. kuhdlie

    kuhdlie Rookie

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  25. jimbo333

    jimbo333 Hall of Fame

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    Firstly do you realise you've actually missed the "d" by 2 buttons on your keyboard:)

    Secondly, the rules of the game were made many years ago, in history, hence historically:)
     
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  26. jimbo333

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  27. TonyB

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  28. Grizvok

    Grizvok Semi-Pro

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  29. jmverdugo

    jmverdugo Hall of Fame

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    Rules ALWAYS have a reason behind them, and you can question the rules, that is way rules can and usually change. I am sure that it has to do with the fact that no matter what it will always be lower, so they decided on a standard heght, ideally i would think that something else had that height so (maybe) it could easily be measured with some of the things in hand in a court.
    jmo.
     
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  30. kuhdlie

    kuhdlie Rookie

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  31. Nanshiki

    Nanshiki Hall of Fame

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    Rules don't always have a rule behind them. Some are completely arbitrary.

    The question was why the net is lower in the middle... the reason is that the rules of tennis say it is.

    The question you're thinking about is why the rules of tennis say that the net is exactly 36 inches in the middle. Perhaps they found that the game played best that way... But for the most part, the rules of any game that haven't been adjusted over time are based on arbitrary standards that are set by the game's creators.
     
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  32. Nanshiki

    Nanshiki Hall of Fame

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    Rules are rules. They stay that way not because of historical reasons, but because they haven't changed the rules.

    Calling a reason "historical" only applies if the only reason for not changing something is out of tradition. Generally not because of the rules of a sport.

    Also, I type at 90 WPM so it stands to reason that I occasionally make typos...especially with phonetical spelling.

    realize, btw.
     
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  33. Grizvok

    Grizvok Semi-Pro

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  34. mary fierce

    mary fierce Banned

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    The notion that it is what it is because it started out that way is likely not true. Accounts of the history of tennis that I read years ago indicated that fence material was used for the first nets, since there was obviously nobody manufacturing that sort of net material in the nineteenth century. So the very first "nets" were the same height all the way across.
     
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  35. mary fierce

    mary fierce Banned

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    Addendum -- The original "net" when Wingfield invented the game was at least 5 feet high.
     
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  36. woodrow1029

    woodrow1029 Guest

    In case anyone would like to know the correct way to get the net to the proper tension, unbuckle the bottom of the net strap so the net is not held down. Crank the net cord until the net height is 40". Then the tension will be proper, and rebuckle the center strap in.
     
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  37. kuhdlie

    kuhdlie Rookie

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  38. Nanshiki

    Nanshiki Hall of Fame

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    Actually I think it varies by location... in Wimbledon the net is basically draped over the court, letting netcords bounce short and low, whereas at the US Open it's tight, and causes netcords to bounce high and long.

    And FWIW, in "court tennis" or "real tennis," (the game that came hundreds of years before lawn tennis, the game we're playing today) the nets were drooped across the net *very* loosely and with the center being much lower than the sides...and there was no center strap.
     
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  39. Nanshiki

    Nanshiki Hall of Fame

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    I think for practicality purposes, a net that is under tension and held down by a center strap is a far simpler, far better way to make sure that all nets are set up essentially the same way.

    Plus it gives us the tactic of aiming at the center when we want the best net clearance.
     
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  40. TBobLP

    TBobLP Rookie

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    in the game "real tennis" the net is parabolic (it appears to hang naturally with loose tension). this was an earlier version of tennis. according to wikipedia it was beginning to evolve as early as the 12th century and has evidence of it being played close to its current form in the 1500s. the modern game didnt start to evolve until the late 1800s. perhaps it came into play as a way of organizing play to be made uniform as it went from something being played for fun to being something played competitively. in making the rule this way, they could be sure that every net (and every statistic and record) was based off the same exact game's rules.
     
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  41. BorisBeckerFan

    BorisBeckerFan Professional

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    This seems to be the best answer. I asked this same question about 20 plus years ago to my teacher and told me it was brought over from real tennis to lawn tennis and lawn tennis is what developed into the modern game of tennis so despite the many good answers I've seen here I think historical is actually the correct one.
     
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  42. woodrow1029

    woodrow1029 Guest

    Well, I don't really think that the OP was comparing the grand slams. As a guideline, as it is quoted in the rulebook, the way I posted it is the way to get the proper tension on a net.

    Comment 1.1:
    How do you tighten the net to the proper tension?

    First, loosen the center strap. Next, tighten the net cord until the center of the
    net is approximately 40 inches above the ground. Finally, tighten the center
    strap until the center of the net is 36 inches above the ground. These
    measurements should always bemade before the day’s firstmatch and when
    possible before each match.
     
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  43. kuhdlie

    kuhdlie Rookie

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    maybe the technology/machinery centuries ago weren't strong enough to keep the net more level so they just kept the tradition years later, but they could have had things along the net proping it up to the same height. other than the historical reason, there doesn't seem to be a real purpose to it being low in the middle. if they want less errors during play they could lower the entire net.
     
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  44. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    From http://tennis.about.com/od/history/a/earlyhistory_2.htm:
    "The early tennis courts were quite different from the modern "lawn tennis" court most of us are used to. The early game matured into what is now called "real tennis," and England's Hampton Court, built in 1625, is still used today. Only a handful of such courts remain. The net is five feet high on the ends, but three feet in the middle, creating a pronounced droop."
    (Wingfield invented the original rules of lawn tennis in 1874 to sell his patented portable tennis game set that included 4 racquets, a net and rubber balls for 5 guineas. One of those hardest hit by the sudden popularity of the new sport was the All-England Croquet Club at Wimbledon. To keep from financial ruin, the club added facilities for [lawn tennis] in 1876. http://www.trivia-library.com/b/world-history-1874-part-1.htm )
    "In 1877, the All England Club held the first Wimbledon tournament, and its tournament committee came up with a rectangular court and a set of rules that are essentially the game we know today. The net was still five feet high at the sides, a carryover from the game's indoor ancestor, and the service boxes were 26 feet deep, but by 1882, the specifications had evolved to their current form."

    Just conjecture, but the height of the net and the dimensions of the tennis court evolved as the new rubber tennis ball (made possible by the vulcanization of rubber in 1850), the commercial production of gut strings (sold by Piere Babolat in 1875), and better wood racquets all made the current standard court dimensions and tennis net heights a good test of skills of the best club members of that era.

    It is quite remarkable how many of the rules and court/field dimension of our standard sports that evolved so long ago still provide a good backdrop for testing of modern skills.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2009
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  45. mtommer

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    I do wonder sometimes if the tennis authorities will change the court or other aspects of the game. I could see the height of the net getting higher a bit. This would slow down the game yet keep today's modern techniques. I wouldn't even be hard for most courts to adapt as all they need are new nets and posts.
     
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  46. Commando Tennis Shorts

    Commando Tennis Shorts Hall of Fame

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    Why are basketball courts 94 feet long?
     
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  47. DarthMaul

    DarthMaul Professional

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    Anyone ever thought that the main reason is to help serving?
     
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  48. Josherer

    Josherer Professional

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    to promote crosscourt and consistent rallying and to make going down the line harder.
     
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  49. Commando Tennis Shorts

    Commando Tennis Shorts Hall of Fame

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    Sorry, I couldn't concentrate at all while reading your post. Your avatar is absolutely frightening. I literally thought that if I took my eyes off of it, it would attack me. I think I would rather come across the Joker from the Dark Knight in an alley than Darth Maul
     
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  50. 15_ounce

    15_ounce Guest

    I agree with the historical reason and the gravity reason too. Type in "jeu de paume" in wikipedia....

    [​IMG]
     
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