Tennis or Lawn Tennis: What Should You Call It?

Tennis is a popular sport.

Some still refer to it by lawn tennis and many simply call it tennis.

‘Tennis’ and ‘Lawn Tennis’ might seem to be obscuring. Which is the correct way to refer to this incredible sport?

If you want to know whether to call the sport tennis or lawn tennis, then this 2 minute read is certainly for you.

Many young kids from different countries are competing and working hard for a place in professional tennis.

And, India is no exception.

Certainly, India has had successful tennis stars in the past.

The success of top Indian tennis players like Vijay Amritraj, Ramnath Krishnan and Sania Mirza have certainly inspired the next gen to pick up their rackets and hit the tennis court.

Some basic facts about tennis are still baffling to many.

This blog will help you clear your doubts and augment your interest in the sport.

Tennis vs Lawn Tennis

Lawn Tennis Match
Roger Federer playing John Isner at Wimbledon

The terms tennis and lawn tennis might look different to a layman.

If you are unsure whether to call it tennis or lawn tennis, you ought to know a little bit of tennis history.

Where did Tennis Get It’s Name From?

The modern game of tennis which we play today has its roots right back in Birmingham, England.

The origin of the sport dates back to as long as the 19th century

The sport was originally played on lawn (grass) as tennis had a strong connection to other lawn sports such as croquet and lawn bowls.

Hence, it got associated with the name ‘lawn tennis’.

But as the sport evolved, the surface on which the sport was played evolved too. The ‘lawn’ that we are referring to right now is nothing but grass which is trimmed and made even.

Professional mowers make sure that the lawn is even and suitable for play. 

But here’s a thing – It isn’t easy to maintain grass tennis courts (lawn). It involves a lot of human labour to cut, trim and maintain the grass.

It also became more of a big deal when the number of tennis tournaments started increasing.

Thus tennis evolved. 

It made sense to opt for surfaces that were easier to maintain. Tennis surfaces like hard courts, clay courts and even carpet courts started becoming popular.

A lot of tennis tournaments began adopting these tennis surfaces as they were easier to maintain than grass courts.

Many tennis enthusiasts, players & commentators simply started calling the sport tennis as lawn wasn’t the only surface used. 

Now you know how the sport evolved from lawn tennis to being called simply tennis.

Is Lawn Tennis and Tennis the same sport? 


Call it lawn tennis or tennis. You are referring to the same sport. 

Fun Fact: Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam tournament which still employs grass courts in order to protect the sport’s genesis.

You can refer to the sport by any of the two names that you like – but the rules, regulations and the passion for the sport remain the same!

What do you like to call it – Tennis or Lawn Tennis?

Have any thoughts? Feel free to speak your mind in the comments below!

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Kaoushik Ramachandran

Hey! I am Kaoushik & I love the sport of tennis. I am a huge fan of Rafael Nadal and pretty much follow all his matches from Grand Slams right down to ATP 250s. I use a Babolat Pure Strike racquet and love to play on clay courts and hard courts. My other interests include blogging on tennis and drinking chilled beer. (Pss. Need help, seriously!)

6 thoughts on “Tennis or Lawn Tennis: What Should You Call It?

  • May 4, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    excellent post, very informative. I wonder why the other specialists of this sector do not notice this. You should continue your writing. I am confident, you have a huge readers’ base already!

  • March 14, 2019 at 4:05 pm

    Tennis has its origin in Birmingham, England in the 19th century and is considered a gentleman’s game. There is considerable dilemma among tennis enthusiasts about what to call the game. Many people call tennis lawn tennis and there are also others who simply refer to it as tennis. This is due to the fact that tennis was originally played on lawn grass however, with time it is now being played on four different courts including lawn surface. From the earlier days when it was played on a lawn to its present form tennis has undergone a massive transformation.

    • March 18, 2019 at 12:06 am

      As you rightly said, tennis has gone through some massive changes. Thanks for sharing Roman. 🙂

  • February 22, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    I am a tennis coach and I must say that a lot of young & budding players need to know the difference between calling the sport tennis or lawn tennis. This is a well written piece of content about the origin of the sport which young players need to know.

    Hope the author keeps writing more on these topics which need to be brought to the limelight. Good job!


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