Why are tennis players so tall? There are more than one answers to this question and we have them all listed on our site. Visit us now to know all of them.
We all know by now that tennis is one of the most exciting sports to play and has been enjoyed by both newbies and professionals. Though it may not be as popular as other sport like basketball, it still has managed to gain millions of fans all over the world who has dedicated and support the sport.
A lot of people who enjoy watching the sport may have wondered about why tennis players are so tall. In this article we will be going through everything about tennis players including how tall tennis players really are and how they benefit from their height.
Why are tennis players so tall? The reason most successful tennis players are so tall is because the height helps them when it comes to serving and also allows them to gain more power in their groundstrokes.
For example, there are lots of professional players with serves that go as fast as 100 miles per hour. These are speeds that you usually see pitchers have in baseball. Even though the height comes with tons of benefits including providing more power in shots, the height also has a few drawbacks.
Why Are Tennis Players So Tall?
As of 2020, the average height of the top tennis players in the world is anywhere between 6’1 and 6’3. Some of the most popular tennis players right now are around that height. You may find some that are way past the average height.
Rafael Nadal: 6’1 (183cm)
Roger Federer: 6’1 (188cm)
John Isner: 6’10 (2.08cm)
Novak Djokovic: 6’2 (185cm)
Alexander Zverev: 6’6 (1.96cm)
Reilly Opelka: 6’11 (2.11cm)
Stefanos Tsitsipas: 6’4 (190cm)
You should know that it’s not only the male players who are this tall. In women’s tennis, there are many different players Serena Williams coming in at 5’9, and her sister Venus Williams at 6’1, Akgul Amanmuradova at 6’3 and Maria Sharapova standing at a height of 6’2. As you can see, all these players have height, power and weight on their side when playing against weaker opponents.
Serena Williams: 5’9
Venus Williams: 6’1
Akgul Amanmuradova: 6’3
Maria Sharapova: 6’2
Sloane Stephens: 5’7
A popular and successful player like Serena Williams has shown the world that even more athletic women are able to play the sport and move around freely. She is without a doubt a beast on the court and is known to be the most popular women’s tennis player. This is just an example of how tennis is becoming a popular sport around the globe, forcing a lot of players to work hard, train hard and give their best performance on the court whenever they’re playing.
I’m not saying tennis is the only sport for tall people, it simply means that more tall people are taking part in the sport since recently making it a little more diverse when it comes to height, than before.
One thing for sure is that we are unable to control how tall we get to be and now that humans are growing taller, we are going to see more people competing in the sports that we haven’t seen a few years back. It’s safe to say that there isnt a talent that has height limit. If you’re on the same height as most tennis players on our list, then the best idea would be to work hard, and play hard as you can to the best of your abilities.
Benefits of Being Tall as a Tennis Player?
Being tall comes with a lot of benefits. The first thing you’ll noticed is that taller means more weight which equals to more power. As a taller player you will have an edge over your opponent whose shorter but at the same time, a shorter opponent usually have tons of areas where they exceed well in.
Serving: The serve is where a taller player has a huge advantage in. The first benefit is their arm length which is taller compared to a shorter opponent arms and when serving, the taller player will be able to hit the ball at an angle that will make the ball bounce higher on the opponent’s side. This makes it much harder for the shorter player to reach the ball when need to. Also, the power and speed behind the ball is not something a shorter opponent will be able to handle. Shorter players doesn’t have the height and angle over the net.
Reach: The reach is another benefit that comes with being a taller player. As mentioned earlier, the longer arms plays a important role when making a play for the ball. These players have the opportunity to reach out further and not have to constantly stretch towards the ball as someone who is shorter. This also means that you don’t have to move around as often as a shorter player would.
Tall Player vs Tall Player
When both players are tall they both have an even playing field compared to one being tall and the other short. Due to the similar height, both players will have the same kind of play-style with a very powerful serve. These are the matches that sometimes goes on forever because the players match up really well together and both bring the same power and playing skills. Since both players have the same strengths and weaknesses, you can certainly expect a tiebreak. The main reason for this is because it’s a bit difficult to win a game as the receiver, when both players have a powerful serve.
Disadvantages For Taller Tennis Players
Slower: One of the biggest downside that comes with being a taller player is the body mass that usually makes it hard to move around as easily as someone who is short. This can mean not being to react to the ball as quick as a short player would. The benefit is that shorter players can be more agile giving them the privilege of moving around the court quicker than a tall player.
Returns: Not being able to return faster and more precisely are staples in the game for any player, but this is where a taller player must work twice as hard as a shorter player. Though having a powerful serve is super helpful, not being able to return the opponent serve can cost you the game. This is where being a smaller player is helpful.
Endurance: Shorter player have the advantages here since they can make the taller player work really hard on the court. You should keep in mind that taller players doesn’t have the same endurance as a short player. So, if they keep the game going at a fast pace with long rallies, they will have the opportunity to tire out their opponent very quickly. Once they start to get tire, the shorter player will now have the game in their favor.
Low balls: Lower balls is known to be better for shorter players. They will have a much easier time reaching the ball whereas a taller player may have a harder time reaching town for the low balls, and by constantly going down you can become tired quickly.
How to Beat Taller Players
There are couple of strategies that you can use to defeat your taller opponent. But first you need to force them to play exactly your way by making them move around more, forcing them to go towards the net often, and using techniques like developing a cut slice that is low.
Before entering you should always have a gameplan that is built around things the taller opponent who excell it, will eventually open door for a more balanced game. With this strategy it shows a lot of people that players can play against eachother, no matter the height, as long as they are both using their own strengths and the opponents weaknesses to their advantage.
Have Tennis Players Always Been Tall?
Base on history, in the 1960s, the average height of a grown American male was 5’9 and the average height American female was 5’4. In the tennis world, the average height for a male tennis player comes at 5’10 and the average height of woman standing at 5’7. As you can see, base on the height difference, it is safe to say that tennis players have been taller than average for quite some time now.
There weren’t any extremely tall tennis player back in the day and base on research we didn’t see any player with the height of Reilly Opelka, who stands at a height of 6’11. I strongly believe that tennis players are getting even taller these days.
This may be a issue for shorter players, but because of the training and conditions, they should be able to compete with taller players and even dominate the game showing that height isn’t everything.
Some Of The Past Legends Who Have Scored Big
Take a look at some of the tennis stalwarts of the past who have managed to create a name for themselves. Here, we will only be looking at the males:
Though he was under 6ft, at 5’11, there might be only a few who have reached the heights this tennis sensation did. He has 8 Grand Slams under his belt, along with a career Grand Slam.
At 6’1, Pete just made it to the above 6ft category. This though proved to be a great advantage for him and has possibly had a role in him carving his niche in the game of tennis.
At 6’3 this German tennis sensation denominated pretty much every game he was a part of. He has 6 Grand Slams to show for that. There is no doubt that he has a good stature to thank for much of his progress.
With 7 Grand Slam titles to his credit and at 5’11 we can safely assume that his height had something to do with this magnificent giant on the court.
This yesteryear Swedish player was a master of the game and at 5’11, he probably had a good amount of support with his good height. No wonder he collected 11 Grand Slam titles.
He was another tall giant of the game of tennis. He was 5’8 and managed to get 11 Grand Slam titles as well.
Though we have more than a few examples of height and how it has positively affected the game, it is important to keep in mind that height is not the only factor to determine a good player. Skill, dedication, discipline and passion are some other important factors involved in the creation of tennis legends.
Back in the days, people used to tell their kids that basketball was the best sport option for them because of their height. Even though being tall is a disadvantage in many sports around the world, this is certainly not the case with tennis. In fact being tall will definitely increase your chances of becoming a successful tennis player. But the good news is that you can also be a successful player at a shorter height.
You should also keep in mind that there hasn’t been a tennis player taller than 6’5 to ever compete and actually reach the number one spot in the ATP rankings. However, it may happen at one point in the near future.