Comparing Sports: Tennis vs. Badminton

In the United States, badminton is generally seen as a leisurely backyard activity more than a sport. It’s a shame that tons of people are widely unaware of the extremely competitive nature behind this physically demanding game.

In reality, badminton players in places like Malaysia, China, and India are millionaires because of the popularity of the sport. It might be about time for some of you to pick up a badminton racket and a shuttlecock, because this sport is the real deal!

We’re going to teach you the basics on how to play the game by comparing it to a sport you’re likely more familiar with – tennis.

Similarities of tennis and badminton

Tennis and badminton are both racket sports played on a rectangular court. In the game, players are required to hit an object over a net. Tennis courts and rackets are much larger than badminton ones though. A tennis court is 78 feet long and 36 feet wide, whereas a badminton court is 44 feet long and 20 feet wide. The net in badminton, however, is much taller than tennis’. It stands at 5 feet tall, with tennis nets only at 3 feet. The rackets are nearly the same length. Still, badminton’s weigh only about 90 grams at the most, whereas tennis rackets can weigh over 300 grams.

Differences of tennis and badminton

Different balls are used in tennis and badminton. The object used to play badminton is called either a shuttlecock or a birdie, and it is designed with a very light weight, and an aerodynamic tail so it can float. This is nearly opposite from tennis, which uses a spherical ball with seams and a felt cover (designed to be launched at high velocities)


Serving in badminton is very different from tennis. Badminton serves are only allowed to be performed underhand and below the waist. Also, they are not eligible for faults. This means that if you hit the ball outside of the court or hit the net on the serve, you lose the point. Whereas in tennis, you would have a second opportunity.

Athletic Ability

The type of athletic ability required in tennis and badminton are also very different. Since a tennis court is nearly twice as long as a badminton court, much more lateral agility is needed than in badminton. Players run side to side far more than forward and back. Badminton is the complete opposite. Players need to jump and lunge on every rally, with more limited lateral movements.


Lastly, badminton and tennis vary in their scoring systems. Frankly, tennis’ scoring is far more complex. To score in tennis, you must hit the ball over the net, within the parameters of the court, and get the ball to hit the ground twice without a return.  It is scored on intervals of 15, 30, 40, then game. If the score is tied at 40, this is called “deuce”. At “deuce”, the first player to score two consecutive points, wins that set. To win a tennis match, a player usually has to win two sets.

Similarly, a badminton point is scored when a ball is hit over the net and within the parameters of the court, but it only needs to land on the ground once instead of twice like in tennis. Scoring is done traditionally (1,2,3,4, etc..). The first player to 21 points, who has at least a two point lead, wins the set. To win a match, a player must win two sets.

There you have it, the similarities and differences between badminton and tennis. Now that you know the basics to both sports, go grab your rackets, balls, and birdies – and challenge your friends to a match. Who knows, that may very well be how your pro career starts!

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