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Can you play pickleball on a tennis court?

picture of Brandon Mackie
Brandon Mackie

Updated on: Aug 10, 2022

An image of a tennis racket and three tennis balls

Do you have a tennis court near you? Then I bet you’re wondering… can you play pickleball on a tennis court? You know—the rapidly growing sport now played by millions of Americans.

Of course, it’s best to find local pickleball courts in your area. But if you can’t then a tennis court can totally work—even if the lines and nets are different. Read on and discover how to play pickleball on a tennis court.

Can you play pickleball on a tennis court?

The quickest answer is: yes, you can play pickleball on a tennis court. That’s huge for pickleball fans since it makes the game much more accessible.

In fact, the Tennis Industry Association estimates that there are 270,000 tennis courts in the United States alone. That means there are hundreds of thousands of places to play pickleball, and chances are good that there’s one near you.

Sometimes, you’ll find tennis courts that have pickleball lines on them as well—either permanently, or because they’re used regularly enough for pickleball that players leave them in place. In that case, they’ll typically be a different color from the tennis lines.

Otherwise, to play pickleball on a tennis court, you’ll need to customize the space a little. Thankfully, it’s easy.

Pickleball courts vs. tennis courts - the differences

A table displaying the differences between a pickleball court and a tennis court

When comparing pickleball courts vs. tennis courts, there are three primary differences that come into play:

  1. Court size: A pickleball court is 44′x20′ (including the lines), while a tennis court is 78′x27′.
  2. Net height: A pickleball net is a 36″ high at the sidelines and 34″ high in the middle, compared to 42″ high at the sidelines and 36″ in the middle for tennis.
  3. Line configuration: In addition to the boundary, middle, and sidelines shared between both courts, pickleball courts have a 7-foot no-volley zone called “The Kitchen.”

You can fit four pickleball courts within a tennis court. So, you could have 16 people playing pickleball at once on one tennis court.

How to play pickleball on a tennis court

Understanding different lines for pickleball vs. tennis

A graphic showing the dimensions of a pickleball court and a tennis court

There are four sets of lines to keep in mind:

  1. the sidelines
  2. the service lines (or baselines)
  3. the center lines, and
  4. the kitchen line (or non-volley zone line)

The kitchen line is exclusive to pickleball. Other lines will also exist on the tennis court but in different places. In just a little while, we’ll cover how to draw your own pickleball lines on a tennis court.

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Can you use a tennis net for pickleball?

An image of a pickleball court overlaid on a tennis court

You can use a tennis net to play pickleball on a tennis court if the net is adjustable, or if you’re playing casually and don’t mind the height difference. A pickleball net is about 2 inches lower than a tennis net at the center.

A pickleball net is 36 inches where it’s attached at the side posts and 34 inches tall in the center. On the other hand, a tennis net is 42 inches high at the posts and 36 inches in the center. Those few inches don’t seem like much, but they make a big difference in the context of actual gameplay.

Adjustable nets aren’t the default, but they’re becoming more common with the meteoric rise of pickleball’s popularity. You can also purchase tennis net adjusters, which allow you to adjust a tennis net so it's the right size for pickleball. But most players prefer their own nets.

When playing pickleball on a tennis court, It’s common to place up to 2 courts on either side of the court:

An image of two pickleball courts overlaid on a tennis court
An image of four pickleball courts on top of tennis court markings

This allows you to fit 4 pickleball courts in the space of 1 tennis court. It also makes it easier to string up your own pickleball net, and there’s much less confusion with the tennis lines.

We always recommend you play pickleball with a pickleball net of the proper height. But if you’re just casually playing a game and don’t mind the size difference, you can play with a tennis net. Do whatever’s most fun for you and your friends!

How to draw your own pickleball lines on a tennis court

As we’ve discussed, a pickleball court is about a fourth of the size of a tennis court. So, drawing your own pickleball lines on a tennis court means subdividing the court.

Our introduction on how to play pickleball offers a good explanation of the dimensions of a pickleball court. So check that out, too!

What you’ll need for drawing pickleball lines on a tennis court:

How to mark pickleball lines on a tennis court

  1. Set up your net at the middle of one side of the tennis court.
  2. Measure the first sideline: Start your measuring tape a foot inside the net. Then mark a 22-foot line extending away from the net.
  3. Measure the baseline: From the 22-foot mark on the sideline, measure and mark 20 feet horizontally for the baseline. Mark the halfway point at 10'—you’ll need it later.
  4. Measure the second sideline: Once again, start a foot inside the net from the opposite side post. Connect a straight line out to the end of the baseline.
  5. Mark the non-volley zone (The “kitchen”): Measure 7' from the net on each sideline and mark it. Connect those two points across the court. Mark the halfway point, too (10 feet).
  6. Connect the two 10' halfway points (you should have one halfway along the baseline, and one halfway across the kitchen line).
  7. Tape along the lines. Stretch the tape out from the base point to the end point. Then, gently press it down so it applies straight and evenly.

Get further instructions on setting your lines in this tutorial from OnCourt OffCourt:

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How to set up a pickleball net on a tennis court

Many pickleball players buy and transport their own net. The best pickleball nets are readily available for purchase online and usually cost between $100-$200. Setting up a portable pickleball net is super easy. It only takes a couple of minutes.

Typically, the basic setup for a pickleball net looks like this:

  1. Set up the base pieces. Put the two base feet in place. There will usually be a middle-point base piece, too. Poles will connect all of these to form the base.
  2. Put the net posts into the net.
  3. Put the net posts into the base.
  4. Put the center rod in the middle of the net.

Usually, there may be some butt caps that go over exposed rod ends, or velcro straps to help everything stay locked in place firmly.

What is the cost of converting a tennis court into a pickleball court?

Converting a tennis court into a pickleball court can be done in a number of ways. Costs vary depending on the permanence of the solution as well as the materials used.

We’ve already discussed applying temporary lines. The cost of temporary lines is close to nothing, making this a very accessible option for players. Chalk, temporary tape, and measuring tape can all be purchased for less than $25.

Adding permanent pickleball lines to a court usually costs between $200 and $600 to be done professionally. Alternatively, it can be done in a DIY fashion for the cost of the paint, but we don’t recommend it.

If you make a mistake applying permanent lines yourself, it can be difficult to undo. Adding permanent pickleball lines to a pre-existing tennis court is a very popular option for private communities with court amenities.

Important disclaimer: It’s illegal to add lines to public or private courts you don’t have permission to mark! You don’t want to end up like Denver’s “mayor of pickleball”, who ended up in jail over this… (he’s since been released phew).

A complete conversion from a tennis court to a pickleball court will typically cost tens of thousands of dollars. It varies widely based on a variety of factors, particularly the materials used for the original court, as well as its condition. If it needs to be resurfaced, it will cost much more than if everything simply needs to be repainted.

In many communities in which tennis courts don’t see much use, pickleball court conversion is becoming more and more popular. In such communities, it is an active interest in the sport is giving those courts a vibrant second life.

Bottom line

When was the last time you had the opportunity to be involved at the beginning of sports history?

Right now, there’s nothing quite like the energy of the pickleball community, since the sport is growing so rapidly. Even people who don’t normally play a lot of sports are finding that pickleball helps them get in shape, socialize, get outside more, and have more fun.

Now that you know how to play pickleball on a tennis court, we encourage you to go out and give it a try.

For veteran players: how has pickleball impacted your life? And, to those who haven’t tried it yet – what’s stopping you?

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About the author
Brandon Mackie
Brandon is an avid writer and co-founder of Pickleheads™. Once a competitive tennis player, Brandon can now be found these days honing his dinks on pickleball courts near Phoenix, Arizona.
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