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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 seen 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

What is the correct way to refer to this sport?

Tennis or Lawn Tennis? Or some may even get confused if this sport is called lawn tennis or “long tennis”?

What is the Difference Between Tennis and Lawn Tennis?

The difference between the names tennis and lawn tennis is the surface on which the sport is being played. Tennis was played only on lawn (grass) initially, hence people called the sport lawn tennis. But now, in addition to grass courts (lawn) tennis is played on different surfaces like clay courts & hard courts. Hence, many experts and tennis enthusiasts simply refer to the sport as tennis.

“Lawn Tennis” is a more traditional name and “Tennis” is the modern name of this incredible sport.

If you want to understand the fact behind calling it tennis or lawn tennis, you ought to know a little bit of tennis history.

Where did Tennis Get Its 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.


Novak Djokovic serving on a grass tennis court

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 simply tennis as lawn wasn’t the only surface used.

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

Like I said, lawn or grass court isn’t the only surface used to play tennis now.

Modern tennis is played on hard courts (most often) and clay courts.

Thus calling or referring to the sport as simply tennis seems ideal.

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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