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Better tennis: The mystery of singles sticks
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The odds are that the court you played singles on today was technically illegal according to the rules of tennis.

How? Well, the rules specify that the height of the net should be 36 inches in the center. We usually find a center strap on most courts and most of us measure and set it before we play.

But the rules also specify that the height of the net above the singles sidelines should be 42 inches, but it’s usually not. Why? Because the preponderance of courts in the world are designed and built to accommodate singles and doubles play. That simply means that the net post is installed just outside the doubles sidelines and so the 42-inch height is above the doubles sidelines.

So, on most courts, the net is too low above the singles sidelines. Singles sticks are 42-inches high and they prop-up the net above the singles sidelines perfectly.

When positioned correctly, the singles sticks give the net a pronounced “V” shaped slope. Whether this affects our play, I’m not sure.

Gary Sherby is tennis director at Racquets and Togs Tennis Center, 115 Bradford St., just off the downtown square. His tennis tips appear Sundays.

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