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Can You Play Pickleball on a Tennis Court?

Multipurpose court for pickleball and tennis.

As pickleball grows in popularity, more people across the world want to learn to play it. Alas, some areas don’t yet have pickleball courts. You might have a tennis court nearby though, and in those cases, you could modify the tennis court.

So, yes, in a pinch, you can play a pickleball match on a tennis court. You need to make a few modifications first though, such as taping off or chalking off the smaller area required for pickleball. Other options for hard courts you can modify for use include badminton and basketball courts.

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Similarities Between Tennis and Pickleball Courts

Healthy couple playing tennis on a clay court.

Hard court tennis courts and pickleball courts use the same base material, and so do grass courts for both sports. Both sports use a similar net height and a rectangular playing space.

Differences Between Tennis and Pickleball Courts

A tennis court made from clay.

Pickleball doesn’t use clay courts, while tennis sometimes does. The size of the courts differs. Tennis uses a larger space, so you can tape off the smaller pickleball court.

What Size Court Do You Need?

regulation tennis court measures 78 feet by 27 feet for singles and 78 feet by 36 feet for doubles. The sport of pickleball uses a court of 20 feet by 44 feet.

In tennis, the service line sits 21 feet from the net. In pickleball, it sits behind the non-volley zone line at seven feet. Tennis has no non-volley zone.

A pickleball net measures 34 inches in height at the sides with a lower mid-point of 30 inches. Tennis nets measure 42 inches in height at the posts.

Temporarily Changing Line Markings

A multiple outdoor court for tennis and pickleball.

Pickleball Master Course by Steve Dawson ($199)

You can alter a tennis court to a pickleball court temporarily by using chalk or tape to re-create the line markings where you need them.

Use adhesive tape in bold colors or pickleball tape. Chalk offers another option for marking the lines of the court in such a way that you can easily remove them so others can use the tennis court as a tennis court. Using tape offers the simplest method, so you can simply pull it up, off of the court when done. Vinyl strips also work as temporary dividers.

Besides marking the outer edges of the court, you will also need to measure and mark off the non-volley zone. Divide the volley zone into a left and right sub-zone. This means you can do this with little effort on your part, since taping a straight line goes pretty quickly.

The centerline remains the same from tennis to pickleball, so you already have it done for you. You can also use the same baseline.

Easy Ways to Mark the Court

A man using rollers to flatten the court.

Many sporting goods stores sell pickleball kits. These include either a grid or stencil for court lines with tape to mark them. The kits also include portable nets, so you can create more than one pickleball court on a tennis court. If you configure it properly, you can fit four pickleball courts onto one tennis court surface.

If you want to play at night, you will need small reflectors to mark the taped lines, so you can see where you cannot step. Alternatively, you can use reflective tape, which means you only have to mark the lines once.

Using the wildest tape colors you can find offers some funky advantages. You will easily discern the pickleball lines from the tennis court lines this way. It can otherwise become disconcerting to have a double set of lines.

Some sites suggest using plastic cones to mark the lines, but that does not work well because you easily trip over them. It also makes it tough to judge line calls because the cones don’t provide a continuous line to step over. In fact, using cones, you can’t step over the line, you trip over it or run into it. That doesn’t provide conducive gameplay.

In a Nutshell

Pickleballs on a metal baskets and an outdoor court.

You can use a tennis court for pickleball, but you will need to alter it first. Plan ahead for the time it will take to measure and mark off the lines plus adjust the net. If you bring a portable net, you will need to take down the tennis net temporarily.