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Sunday, August 29, 2021

For the record: There is no official color for the mesh on nets used in U.S. Tennis Association play, suprisingly enough.

According to the official 2004 USTA regulations (otherwise known as Friend at Court), various other elements of the game have exacting specifications. This includes the types and makes of ball (revised annually), the types of playing surfaces, and even the strap and band of the net:

(Page 7) The net shall be fully extended so that it completely fills the space between the two net posts and it must be of sufficiently small mesh to ensure that a ball cannot pass through it. The height of the net shall be 3 feet (0.914 m) at the centre, where it shall be held down tightly by a strap. A band shall cover the cord or metal cable and the top of the net. The strap and band shall be completely white.

- The maximum diameter of the cord or metal cable shall be one-third inch (0.8 cm).
- The maximum width of the strap shall be 2 inches (5 cm).
- The band shall be between 2 inches (5 cm) and 2.5 inches (6.35 cm) deep on each side.

So the strap and band must be completely white, and the mesh must be small enough to not allow a ball to pass through. But actual color specifications for the mesh aren’t mentioned, leaving it wide open. I know I’ve seen darker-colored mesh during tournament matches, but don’t recall specific consistency.

Why no codified color for the mesh? It could be due to the USTA’s provisions for advertising:

(Page 38) 1. Advertising is permitted on the net as long as it is placed on the part of the net that is within 3 feet (0.914 m) from the net posts and is produced in such a way that it does not interfere with the vision of the players or the playing conditions…

4. Notwithstanding paragraphs (1), (2) and (3) above, any advertising, marks or material placed on the net or placed at the back and sides of the court, or on the court surface outside the lines may not contain white or yellow or other light colours that may interfere with the vision of the players or the playing conditions.

Ad placement on the mesh obviously would negate any officially-defined color scheme, so I guess the USTA doesn’t bother with it. The prohibition of white or yellow is the extent of it, and since those colors wouldn’t show up very well on a mesh (especially on television), I doubt advertisers would want to use them anyway. I don’t recall seeing any ads on the mesh, but then I rarely watch tennis.

The inspiration for this? My friend JC just called asking for this information, in hopes of settling a bet. I think he lost, or at best pushed.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 08/29/2004 12:33:26 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Sports | Permalink |

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  1. Things I learned today (5)
    Or within the past couple of days, anyway.Apparently fugly is the new pretty. The United States Tennis Association is very specific about its court-design rules — except one. Every state…

    Trackback by dustbury.com — 08/31/2004 @ 07:32:40 AM

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