Pickleball and Tennis have similar origins and share many of the same rules. There are some important differences between the two games. When it comes to pickleball versus tennis, both sports can be considered “racquet sports”. As they each involve players using racquets to hit a ball back and forth over a net. 

Differences in Equipment:

  • Tennis involves the use of a larger racket. While pickleball uses a much smaller and lighter paddle.
  • The balls used in tennis are made from pressurized rubber. Pickleball utilizes plastic balls that are less dense and softer. It also utilizes slower-moving than traditional tennis balls.
  • The net in tennis is placed at a height of 3 feet at the center, whereas in pickleball it is set 2 inches lower.

Rules of the Game:

  • Tennis is traditionally played by two players (singles) or four (doubles). On the other hand, pickleball can be enjoyed with either two, three, or four players. 
  • In tennis, only one serve is allowed per player. In pickleball, each side can have up to three consecutive serves.
  • In tennis, the ball is allowed to bounce twice before it must be returned. In pickleball, the ball can only bounce once before it has to be sent back over the net.
  • The game of tennis ends when one player or team reaches four points and is ahead by at least two points. In pickleball a team must be ahead by two points to win the game, with the maximum score being 11 points.

Strategies Used:

  • In tennis, players must use strategies such as spin and power shots to gain an advantage over their opponents. Pickleball also requires strategic thinking. But it is typically focused on using precise angles and placement to keep the ball in play.
  • Tennis players must also use footwork to move quickly around the court. While pickleball players tend to remain stationary and focus more on their paddle movement.
  • Another common strategy used in tennis and pickleball is “volleying,”.  It is when players attempt to hit the ball back and forth without it bouncing. Volleying can be a very effective way of keeping your opponent off balance, as they may not expect such a quick return.

Serving Styles:

  • In tennis, serves must be delivered overhand. It can involve a number of spins such as top-spin, side-spin, and slice. Pickleball serves must also be delivered overhand but are typically kept flat in order to keep the ball low and in play.
  • Tennis players often use an underarm serve, also known as a “dink” serve, to gain an advantage and set up their next shot. This type of serve is not allowed in pickleball.
  • In tennis there are two types of serves: the “serve-and-volley” and the “service hold.” The “serve-and-volley” involves the player hitting the serve and then moving forward to hit their next shot from the net. This type of service is not allowed in pickleball. The “serve hold” is when a player serves and remains at the baseline for their next shot, which is allowed in pickleball.

Scoring System in both games:

Scoring system in pickleball vs tennis.

In tennis, the scoring system is based on a point system with games consisting of four points per game. In pickleball, games are played to 11 points and must be won by at least two points (or the score is “deuce”). A player can win the game by achieving two consecutive points after a deuce or by winning the final point without their opponent scoring.

Overall, both pickleball and tennis are great racquet sports. They offer an opportunity for exercise, competition, and fun. Each game requires different strategies, serves, and rules. So it is important to understand these differences in order to get the most out of either sport.

The difference in interest levels between the two sports:

  • Tennis has been a popular sport for many years and is still widely played around the world.
  • Pickleball, on the other hand, is a relatively new game and is becoming increasingly popular as it is easier to learn than traditional tennis.
  • As interest levels continue to grow, more people are taking up pickleball as an alternative to other racquet sports. It has also been gaining attention from professional athletes as a great low-impact sport. It can be played by people of all ages and abilities.


Pickleball and tennis are two popular racquet sports. They share some similarities. They also have many differences in terms of equipment, rules, strategies, serves, and scoring systems. While tennis has been a long-time favorite for many players around the world. Pickleball is quickly gaining popularity as an easier game to learn with fewer impacts on the body. Both sports provide an opportunity for exercise, competition, and fun. So it’s up to the individual to decide which one is best suited for their skill level and playing style.

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