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Does Pickleball Damage Tennis Courts? - PAKLE

Does Pickleball Damage Tennis Courts?

Love a great workout on the court? Then you just might love pickleball. It’s an enjoyable, game that can be played on any even surface, including tennis courts.

It’s quite common to see pickleball players on tennis courts. With more tennis courts being shared or converted for pickleball use, tennis aficionados are curious. Can pickleball destroy tennis courts?

The answer isn't so straightforward, but we’ll get right it. Let's examine pickleball's effects on tennis courts in more detail and address other commonly asked questions about pickleball.

Assessing Surfaces for Tennis and Pickleball Courts

Tennis and pickleball share similarities in terms of court structure and size but have different requirements for their playing surfaces. Here’s a breakdown:

Tennis courts:

There are four types of courts available: clay, grass, carpet, and concrete. The hard court is the most common type.

  • Hard Courts: Hard Courts:  Hard courts, the most popular kind, are quite low-maintenance and provide a constant playing experience. These courts are located in parks and educational institutions.  Hard courts are made of asphalt or concrete and frequently have an acrylic covering applied to them for improved ball traction and bounce.
  • Carpet (or Artificial Grass) Courts:These courts usually give a low bounce and greater speed compared to hard courts. Carpet courts are frequently constructed over broken hardcourts, although they can also be placed over turf that is covered with sand.
  • Clay Courts: Compared to other court types, clay courts have a stronger bounce, which makes it difficult to hit big serves. Clay courts are usually not expensive to construct, however, they require more frequent maintenance. Clay courts are made from pulverized shale and brick.
  • Grass Courts:The premium Wimbledon experience, grass courts are the rarest and most expensive to maintain. They offer the fastest playing surface and require exceptional footwork from players.

All tennis courts require a relatively flat and even surface for consistent ball bounce.

Pickleball Courts

Pickleball courts are usually made of asphalt or concrete material, just like hard tennis courts. Tennis and pickleball courts have a major differentiating factor: their sizes. A pickleball net is 34 inches high when measured from the center, and 36 inches high at the sideposts. From the center, that’s two inches shorter than a tennis court net, and 6 inches shorter by the sideposts.

The Impact of Pickleball on Tennis Courts

With the rise in pickleball which has led to an increased presence on tennis courts, there’s usually a concern about its physical impacts on shared spaces. Here's a breakdown of what determines the physical impact of pickleball on a tennis court:

1. Weight and Design of Paddles and Balls

Fuzzy, heavier balls are used in tennis, and they cause traction with the court surface. Conversely, pickleball uses less friction by using lighter, perforated plastic balls. Pickleball paddles are less likely to wear out than strung tennis rackets because of their solid faces.

2. Increased Foot Traffic 

Tennis rallies tend to be more spread out across the entire court, with players covering significant ground.  Pickleball, on the other hand, features a higher frequency of play within a smaller zone.  This concentrated action could contribute to faster surface degradation.  

When a lot of people play on the court at the same time, it also contributes to wear and tear. In games of tennis, four players usually take the court. Pickleball is usually played with the same formation. The only difference is that since the pickleball play area can be smaller than that of tennis, several groups of players usually play concurrently. So you have more feet stomping the courts when pickleball is played, as opposed to the fewer number of players you would see on a tennis court. Increased foot traffic equals increased wear on the court.

What Experts Have to Say

There’s a trickle of evidence on just how much pickleball negatively affects tennis courts. Let’s see what experts have to say about it.


Several pickleball and tennis wars have raged over court damage due to pickleball markings. The United States Tennis Association which is responsible for maintaining the good condition of tennis courts has shouldered a few damages over the years. The USTA has restrictions against drawing pickleball lines on courts used for USTA tennis plays, and for good reason.

USA Pickleball

The main organization regarding all things pickleball-related in the US, USA Pickleball has extensive resources to guide the conversion of tennis courts to allow for pickleball use. With the right measures, such as erecting temporary pickleball court markings that don’t ruin the court for tennis players, they believe players of both sports can co-exist in harmony.

Real Examples of Damaged Tennis Courts

  • Las Animas Park

The growing number of pickleball players on this shared court caused tension between tennis players and pickleball enthusiasts. Tennis players, who are accustomed to wider court dimensions were often left confused by the leftover pickleball makeshift lines drawn for pickleball. That wasn’t all. When the tape was removed, the tennis court surfaces were damaged by the leftover residue. The damage from the tape cost $10,000 in total and two playing courts had to be shut down for resurfacing.

  • War Memorial Complex

At Wailuku, the upper tennis courts were damaged to the tune of $1,350. Pickleball players laid down pickleball lines and installed a shade bracket on the fence. The markings made it difficult for tennis players to play, and when the tape was removed, the court surface was damaged. The issues are similar to what happened at Las Animas Park and left tennis players with a bitter taste in their mouths.

What’s the Way Forward?

It doesn’t look like shared courts are going away anytime soon, so tennis and pickleball players might as well reach a consensus. Here are a couple of ways to ensure harmony between both teams:

  • Regular inspection of court spaces

The primary problem of court surface damage can be reduced by regular inspections. Inspectors should take particular note of the service zone where pickleball impact is felt the most. They should look out for divots, cracks and other signs of wear.

  • Regular court resurfacing

Resurfacing courts is quite expensive but with increased use of courts for both pickleball and tennis use, court surfaces are bound to wear out fast. Both communities can ensure a regular schedule for resurfacing shared courts based on usage patterns.

  • Choosing the right pickleball equipment

It’s no news that pickleball paddles don’t have as much impact on court surfaces as tennis rackets do. Still, some adaptations to pickleball gear can further reduce their impact on court surfaces. Let this guide your pickleball paddle selection:

  • Choose paddles with softer core material. They cause less damage to surfaces than paddles with thicker cores. A good one is the Quasar-Raw T700 Carbon Fiber Paddlewhich gives a gentle impact and unmatched spin capabilities.
  • Ditch metal pickleball paddles.While they feel great, they tend to cause more damage than paddles made from wood or composite. The Pakle E3 Carbon Fiber Paddle has a composite surface design that offers players control and comfort on the court.

How to Create Scheduling Policies for Shared Courts

  • Schedule Play Times

To keep overcrowding to a bare minimum, both sports can be played at different times. With such an arrangement, the service zones of the court won’t be overused as much.

  • Maintain Rules for Shared Use

Where there are no rules, confusion reigns. Tennis and pickleball players should follow a set of rules for shared court use. These rules can include court etiquette, proper equipment handling and other guidelines that will maintain the integrity of shared courts.

  • Markings Should be Temporary

Since problems usually arise from leftover pickleball markings confusing tennis players, pickleball markings should only be temporary. This will allow for easy adaptation of the courts for both sports.


Since pickleball became more popular, tennis players have complained about its damage to their courts. Still, tennis and pickleball can coexist without strife on the courts. It won’t happen overnight, but with the right schedules and adaptation, players can enjoy both sports on shared courts.


Why do pickleball paddles cost so much?

A: The primary reason is the weight and substance of pickleball paddle material. Paddles made from composite are more expensive, however, they perform better than other paddles. Paddles made of wood are cheaper and tend to wear out more quickly than the standard stuff.

What’s the pickleball net height?

A: It is 34 inches high at the center and 36 inches high at the sideposts.

Are all pickleball paddles so noisy?

A: The noise is usually subject to the pickleball paddle material. Heavy-weight materials such as polymers tend to make quiet pickleball paddles.

Is there a difference between pickleball vs. paddleball?

A: Yes. Both games are played with different balls and paddles. Paddleball is played with a fast rubber ball and is quite similar to squash. Pickleball is played with a perforated plastic ball.

Can you use the same pickleball to play indoors and outdoors?

A: Yes, you can. The Nova 40-hole outdoor pickleball is great for both outdoor and indoor use. It’s beginner-friendly and meets USAPA requirements for outdoor pickleball.

How do I choose a kids' pickleball paddle?

A: For a kid’s pickleball paddle, you should look out for three things: size, safety and fun designs. Choose a paddle that’s shorter and lighter than one for adults, and go for a non-toxic material. This Amethyst advanced paddle is an ideal youth pickleball paddle. It also helps to go for something fun and attractive, like a pink pickleball paddle.

Is it important to know your pickleball paddle grip size?

A: Yes, it is. You need a snug-fitting pickleball paddle grip size to have a good stroke and not get tired while playing. For an easy grip and fast swing, the Rapidstrike power paddle is a great choice.

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