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Tennis vs. Lawn Tennis: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on February 29, 2024
Tennis is a racket sport played on various court surfaces, while lawn tennis specifically refers to tennis played on grass courts.

Key Differences

Tennis, a globally popular sport, involves two or four players hitting a ball over a net using rackets, playable on different surfaces including grass, clay, and hard courts. Lawn tennis is essentially the same sport, but the term specifically refers to tennis when it's played on grass courts. This distinction dates back to tennis's origins when it was primarily played on grass.
The surface of play in tennis significantly influences the game's dynamics. Hard courts provide a consistent bounce and fast play, while clay courts slow down the ball and produce a higher bounce. In lawn tennis, grass courts offer a fast game with a low bounce, which can be unpredictable due to the surface's softness and natural variation.
Lawn tennis, historically the earliest version of tennis, is best known for its association with prestigious tournaments like Wimbledon. Tennis, in its more general sense, encompasses all formats of the game, including major tournaments played on different surfaces like the US Open (hard court) and the French Open (clay court).
Equipment in tennis varies slightly based on the playing surface. Shoes for hard and clay courts are designed differently than those for grass courts in lawn tennis. The strategy and style of play also adapt to the court type; lawn tennis often favors serve-and-volley players due to the fast, low bounce of grass.
Lawn tennis is a subset of tennis specifically on grass courts, tennis as a broader term includes playing on all types of surfaces. Each surface in tennis, including grass in lawn tennis, brings unique challenges and requires different strategies and equipment adaptations.

Comparison Chart

Court Surface

Played on grass, clay, or hard courts
Exclusively played on grass courts

Bounce and Speed

Varies by surface; hard is fast, clay is slow
Fast speed with low, unpredictable bounce

Major Tournaments

Includes all surfaces (Wimbledon, US Open, French Open)
Primarily associated with Wimbledon

Equipment Variation

Different shoes for each surface type
Specific grass court shoes

Playing Style

Varies by court; baseline play is common
Favors serve-and-volley style

Tennis and Lawn Tennis Definitions


A racket sport played individually or in pairs.
She won her first tennis championship last year.

Lawn Tennis

The original form of modern tennis.
Lawn tennis dates back to the late 19th century.


A popular Olympic and professional sport.
Tennis has been part of the Olympics since 1988.

Lawn Tennis

Characterized by a fast pace and low ball bounce.
His serve-and-volley game excels in lawn tennis.


Played on various surfaces including grass, clay, and hard courts.
He prefers playing tennis on clay courts.

Lawn Tennis

Tennis played specifically on grass courts.
Lawn tennis on Wimbledon's grass is prestigious.


Involves hitting a ball over a net on a rectangular court.
They built a tennis court in their backyard.

Lawn Tennis

Requires footwear suitable for grass surfaces.
Special shoes are needed for playing lawn tennis.


Requires physical stamina and strategic play.
Tennis demands both physical agility and mental strategy.

Lawn Tennis

Associated with traditional tennis tournaments.
Wimbledon is the epitome of lawn tennis championships.


A game played with rackets and a light ball by two players or two pairs of players on a rectangular court divided by a net. The players must hit the ball over the net and into a marked area on the other side for play to continue. Also called lawn tennis.


Court tennis.


(sports) A sport played by two players (or four in doubles), who alternately strike the ball over a net using racquets.


(dated) A match in this sport.


(obsolete) An earlier game in which a ball is driven to and fro, or kept in motion by striking it with a racquet or with the open hand.


To play tennis.


(transitive) To drive backward and forward like a tennis ball.


A play in which a ball is driven to and fro, or kept in motion by striking it with a racket or with the open hand.
His easy bow, his good stories, his style of dancing and playing tennis, . . . were familiar to all London.


To drive backward and forward, as a ball in playing tennis.


A game played with rackets by two or four players who hit a ball back and forth over a net that divides the court


What is tennis?

Tennis is a racket sport played on various court surfaces.

Which tennis surfaces are fastest?

Grass courts in lawn tennis are among the fastest.

What defines lawn tennis?

Lawn tennis specifically refers to tennis played on grass courts.

Can tennis be played indoors?

Yes, tennis can be played on indoor hard courts.

Are the rules different for lawn tennis?

No, the rules of lawn tennis are the same as general tennis.

How do you maintain a lawn tennis court?

Lawn tennis courts require regular mowing and maintenance.

Is tennis an Olympic sport?

Yes, tennis has been an Olympic sport since 1988.

Is lawn tennis still popular?

Yes, particularly at traditional venues like Wimbledon.

Do tennis players prefer a specific surface?

Players often have a preferred surface based on their play style.

Are tennis and lawn tennis played year-round?

Tennis is played year-round, but lawn tennis is seasonal.

What’s unique about grass courts in lawn tennis?

Grass courts offer a fast game with a low bounce.

What gear is needed for tennis?

A racket, tennis balls, and appropriate footwear are essential.

Can beginners play lawn tennis?

Yes, but they may find grass courts challenging initially.

Do tennis players need different shoes for grass?

Yes, special shoes for grass provide better grip and support.

Are lawn tennis courts harder to find?

Yes, they are less common than hard and clay courts.

Is lawn tennis different from grass court tennis?

No, lawn tennis is another term for grass court tennis.

What skills are important for tennis?

Agility, stamina, and strategic thinking are key in tennis.

How does weather affect lawn tennis?

Wet conditions can make grass courts slippery and unplayable.

How does court surface affect tennis strategy?

Surface affects bounce and speed, influencing playing strategy.

What’s the prestigious tournament for lawn tennis?

Wimbledon is the most prestigious lawn tennis tournament.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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