We’ve all heard the saying tall, dark, and handsome. But what about being tall, dark, and skilled at tennis? It seems like all professional tennis players are tall but why is that? Is it simply because taller people have an advantage in the sport, or is there something else going on?
Today, we’re going to take a closer look at the height of professional tennis players and see if we can figure out why they tend to be so tall. Stay tuned!
Tennis is one of the most popular pastimes that has been practiced for millennia. It has always been loved by both amateurs as well as professionals Despite, it is not as well-known as some other professional sports, like cricket, it nevertheless has millions of devoted followers.
Everyone who watches tennis has wondered why are the tennis players so tall?
This question has a number of answers, all of which are discussed here in this tennis-related article. Here we are going to discuss all the reasons and benefits of the tall height of tennis players.
One of the major reasons for the tall height of tennis players is that their height aids them in giving the best shot to acquire greater force in their groundstrokes.
Height enables players to get the greater force out of their strokes; some players, for example, can serve at speeds of up to 100 miles/hour. These are the speeds that pitchers mostly have in baseball.
In 2020, the normal height of the world’s best tennis players was ranging from 6’1 to 6’3. The world’s top tennis players, including many of today’s biggest stars, are all around that height. Some may be much taller than the norm.
Remember that this height is not limited to male players. There are several distinct types of players in women’s tennis. Serena Williams stands at 5’9, her younger sister Venus stands at 6’1, Akgul Amanmuradova stands at 6’3, and one of the best tennis players Maria Sharapova stands at 6’2.
As you can see, while playing against inferior opponents, all of these players have more height, weight, and ultimately more power on their side.
For more than two decades, Venus Williams and her younger sister Serena have been the backbone of American tennis. Venus, who rose to popularity as a precocious youngster in the 1990s, is still competing on the circuit today, even at 40, she can give much younger players a run for their money.
Venus has exploited her height to her advantage throughout the years, and her first serve was once ranked as one of the greatest in the world. Not to be outdone by her younger sister Serena, Venus has seven Grand Slam championships to her record and is the sport’s most successful Olympian, with four golds and one silver across all categories.
By mentioning Venus Williams’s success I’m not claiming the tennis game is the sole activity for tall people; rather, more tall individuals are participating in this game recently, making it a bit more diversified in terms of height than it was previously.
One thing is certain: we have no influence over how much we grow height-wise, and as we know that humans are now becoming taller, we will see more individuals competing in-game that we did not see some years ago. It is acceptable to claim that no skill has a height restriction. If you are the equal height as the majority of the tennis players in our list, the best thing you can do is practice hard and play as hard as you can.
How is it to play as a tall tennis player
When you are tall, the game becomes different. Tall players need to adjust to several things that affect their game negatively or positively. For example, try playing while your opponent is throwing the ball high in the air and coming for you at 100 mph. If not adjusted well, tall players can easily be dominated by shorter opponents who just have better footwork and are more agile.
Beating a tall player
is not as easy as it may seem. The fact the taller players have the upper hand is a widely accepted by tennis fans, but there are still some people who think that footwork and agility can help to beat a tall opponent.
For every one person who thinks that a good agility and fast feet can lead them past a tall player, there are nine people who will tell you that is not the case.
In a game where height is a major advantage, being able to move around the court quickly and with agility is something that can help level the playing field somewhat; but, at the end of the day, it is still up to the shorter player to hit the ball in the right spot and hope for the best.
Principles to know when playing taller tennis players
- Stay consistent with your groundstrokes
- Don’t give them too much space to work with on the court
- Don’t make too many short balls
- If possible, try to knock your opponent behind the baseline
- If you are a tall player yourself, then use your height to your advantage!
- One of the biggest mistakes tall players make is actually to their own detriment. Tall people are perhaps more powerful than smaller players, but many tall players handicap themselves by swinging for the fences at every opportunity.
- Being a dominant personality on court can have its drawbacks too, however. If you are always dominating, being aggressive and hitting winners all the time, your opponent will get used to that kind of game and it will become easier for them to beat you later.
- Height is only one factor that determines the outcome of a match between two individual tennis players; other factors include technical ability, tactics, style of play etc.
When you’re tall
Don’t be afraid to trade the power for accuracy. The great thing about hitting harder is that it doesn’t make you any taller or shorter. Lesser players may ‘fear’ your power, but there are other ways to beat them without trying to hit every ball as hard as you can. Disguise your shots and play tactically; mix up your pace, keep them guessing and you will be on your way to victory.
Be open to all possibilities. Tall players are forced to be accurate with their shots by the nature of the game, but there is no reason why they cannot play tactically or creatively if they prefer. Don’t let the fact you are tall put you off playing a certain way – make it work for you!
When you’re short
Be aggressive. The fact that you’re short may mean that your opponent will underestimate your ability and give you too much space on the court. Take advantage of this by being aggressive and going for your shots. You may not have the power that a taller player has, but there is no reason why you can’t be just as effective on the court.
Aim the balls lower, don’t use much topspin. Tall players are used to having the advantage in tennis, so they are naturally better at playing balls that bounce higher. If you’re short and find that most of your shots are being hit back at you high in the air, aim for lower balls and use less topspin. This will give you more time to get to the ball and put it in the right spot.
Use your footwork. Being short does have its advantages; one of these being your ability to move quickly from side to side, something that taller players can struggle with. Use this ability to your advantage by making your opponent run around the court as much as possible.
If you’d rather lay back and be accurate, do it! The one thing that people underestimate is the fact that being smaller means winning fewer service games or having to compensate for their disadvantage with a more aggressive game plan. There are no ‘rules’ in tennis – play the way that makes you comfortable and gives you the best chance to win.
The trend of getting taller in tennis
The trend of getting taller in tennis is not just a coincidence. With the growing importance of serving, height has become an advantage for players on the court. A recent study found that serve speed increases by up to 10% when you are 6’2″ compared to 5’8″. This means that if you are shorter than average, it will be more difficult to reach your optimal serve speed and could harm your game overall.
Tennis players have been taller than average for quite some time now. There aren’t any super tall ones anymore, and we didn’t see anyone who measured 6 feet or more in the 1960s – but it’s safe to say that if you’re a modern-day player there is at least an inch difference between your height and what it was then.
The average height of an American man was 5’9 in the 1960s, but by now that number has reached heights above 6 feet. The majority still remains below 7 inches with only about 1 out 10 men reaching this mark today due to their increased proportion compared to what it used to be like back then when there weren’t so many tall people around!
Why do tall tennis players serve faster?
The tall players are able to serve faster because they have a higher angle at impact.
Tennis is one of the few sports that require you to hit the ball over something (the net) and it’s easy to see how this would affect your swing.
If there were no net, then tennis would be like golf or bowling where you can just stand on one side and hit towards the other end with fewer speed requirements.
A study showed that there is a clear correlation between height and service pace in tennis, which could be seen as an advantage for taller players.
However, this may not always provide them with an edge because it also takes longer for tall athletes to recover from serving (or running around the court).
To summarize, there are two main reasons why tall players serve faster than short ones. The first is that they have an easier time hitting the ball at a higher angle and thus with more power.
Secondly, because their racket clears the net by such a large margin after making contact it allows them to be less accurate in placement and concentrate on generating maximum speed for every shot.
It’s not just about height though- taller people also tend to have longer arms which increases reach as well as arm span which has been shown to improve accuracy when serving under pressure.
Why greater height is advantageous in tennis?
Tall height has a number of advantages. You know what!! Tall height means carrying greater weight and this ultimately points towards extra power.
Tall tennis players have a significant advantage on two grounds:
The arm length of the taller player is that the length of their arm is longer than their opponent, and while giving the shot, the player with taller height will be able to smash the ball at an angle that causes the ball to bounce high on the opponent’s side.
As a consequence, it becomes considerably more difficult for the player with a shorter height to smash the ball when it is needed.
A short opponent will also struggle to deal with the force and speed of the ball. Shorter players lack the necessary angle and height over the net.
Another advantage of having a tall player is the increased reach.
Longer arms are important when trying to make a play for the ball.
Tall players do not have to stretch as much towards the ball as someone who is shorter.
You can say that taller players won’t have to move as much as a short players.
But this taller height is not always beneficial. The taller players also face multiple problems when playing
Problems tall tennis players face
Taller tennis players often face problems that their shorter counterparts do not. They can have a difficult time finding clothes and shoes that fit, and they may also find it more difficult to move around the court. In addition, tall players can struggle with their serve since they tend to hit the ball higher than shorter players. As a result, taller players need to focus on techniques that will help them improve their serve and make them more competitive on the court.
Let’s have a glimpse of these disadvantages:
- Slower reaction time
- Slower returns
- Lower balls
- Endurance issues
One amongst the most significant disadvantages of being a player with taller height is that the body bulk makes it difficult to move about as readily as the player who is shorter
Consequently, it becomes difficult and sometimes impossible for taller players to respond to the tennis ball as quickly as a player with shorter height would.
The advantage is that players with shorter height can be more nimble, allowing them to move around the tennis court faster than tall ones.
Being unable to return quicker and to be much more specific is a game mainstay for any tennis player, but a tall player has to work twice as hard as the short player in this field.
Although having a strong serve is extremely beneficial, failing to give the best shot to the opponent’s serve might risk your success in the game. This is when being a short player comes in handy.
Lower balls are thought to be more beneficial to shorter players.
Shorter players will have an easier time reaching the ball, but a taller player may have a more difficult time reaching town for low balls
Continuously going down exhaust out taller players soon.
Shorter athletes might also make a taller player to work extra hard on the tennis court.
Taller players lack the endurance that a short player possesses.
So, in case they can keep the tennis game moving at a rapid tempo with extended rallies, they may soon weaken their opponent.
When the taller player begins to fatigue, the short player may be able to exploit that weakness.