You are currently viewing Tennis vs Badminton: What’s the Difference?

Tennis vs Badminton: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to recognizing the difference between two sports, there are a lot of factors to assess.

These include the type and size of the area in which the sport is practiced, the duration of matches, the rules, the number of players in each group (whether it is an individual or team sport, or both!), the scoring system, and the suitable clothing and equipment for the sport.

In this article, we will discuss all these factors and several others.

Differences between Tennis and Badminton

While the two sports may seem similar at first glance, they actually have several major differences and plenty of minor ones. The first major difference is the “ball”. In tennis, the ball used is made of rubber and covered with yellow felt. Typically, it weighs 58 grams. In badminton, however, the “ball” is not literally a ball; it is called a shuttlecock.

A shuttlecock is made of synthetic plastic, goose feathers, or duck feathers – this obviously indicates that it is much lighter than a tennis ball, weighing only 5.5 grams. It looks something like a small ball wearing a long net skirt!

The second major difference is that tennis is played outdoors while badminton is played indoors. That is not by chance; the reason that badminton is played indoors is that shuttlecocks, being very light with a relatively large surface area, are strongly affected by wind movement. This means that on a windy day, a badminton player will not be able to control the motion of the shuttlecock.

On the other hand, tennis balls are dense and will not be affected by the wind, especially given their high speed of movement.

The third and final major difference is that a tennis racket has a bigger grip and a bigger racket face than a badminton racket, which is slimmer and skinnier overall.

Badminton Tennis
Player Movement Vertical (lots of jumping) Horizontal (lots of running)
Racket Movement Quick and subtle Big and wide
Strength More forearm strength More arm strength

Reasons Why Tennis is More Popular Than Badminton

Most of us hear news about tennis players such as Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer, but rarely hear about badminton players.

Moreover, we all know the Grand Slam (in tennis) and the Wimbledon, but we have not heard much about badminton tournaments. So that makes tennis the more popular sport, right?

Wrong! Although badminton is not well-known and frequently practiced in America and Africa, it is widely played in several European and Asian countries, such as Britain, China, Denmark, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Sweden, and multiple other countries.

At the Seoul Olympics held in 1992, badminton events reached up to 1.1 billion spectators! Nevertheless, tennis is definitely more popular in certain areas, partially due to the fact that the United States provides substantial funding to the tennis domain which in turn gives birth to some very strong players.

This then leads to tennis tournaments racking in quite the amount of dollars every year, and such big events make their players famous. As mentioned earlier, badminton is mainly limited to Asia and a part of Europe, and while it does receive some worldwide recognition, its players do not have a name as big as most tennis players.

Famous Players and Their Most Prestigious Awards and Achievements

Famous Tennis Players:

  • Roger Federer – Career Grand Slam, 20 Grand Slams, 8 Wimbledon titles (7 consecutive!)
  • Rafael Nadal – Five-time year-end No.1 in the world, Career Grand Slam, 20 Grand Slams, 13 titles at the French Open, 2 Wimbledon titles
  • Novak Djokovic – Record six-time year-end No.1 in the world, Career Grand Slam, 20 Grand Slams, Double Career Grand Slam, 6 Wimbledon titles
  • Serena Williams – 73 career titles, 23 Grand Slam Singles (and counting!), 6 Wimbledon Singles titles
  • Steffi Graf – 107 career titles, 22 Grand Slam Singles
  • Martina Navratilova – 167 career titles, 18 Grand Slam Singles

Famous Badminton Players:

  • Lee Chong Wei – First worldwide for 4 consecutive years
  • Chen Long – Second worldwide, two-time world champion, Olympic gold medalist
  • Lin Dan – Greatest Single-player, Super Grand Slam
  • Viktor Axelsen – World Junior Championship (rising star!)
  • Carolina Marin – 2 Women’s Single World Championship titles, Olympic gold medalist

Which of the Two Sports Is Considered More Difficult Than the Other?

Badminton is considered more difficult than tennis, mainly due to the fact that badminton shuttlecocks reach incredibly high speeds during professional games.

They are much faster than tennis balls and in fact, badminton is known to be the world’s fastest racket sport. To help you envision the difference in speed, let us introduce some numbers.

A quick google search shows that a shuttlecock moves at 180 miles per hour and can even reach up to 200 miles per hour, while the fastest recorded tennis serve had a speed of 163 miles per hour. This implies that badminton players require more speed and agility.

Nonetheless, tennis players cover greater distances during games as they run over a wider area to reach the ball. Moreover, tennis matches might last much longer than badminton matches.

While a badminton match is limited to between 30 minutes and 3 hours, the longest tennis match recorded in history last over 11 hours and was played over 3 days! Now tennis seems to be in the lead, but possibly wrongly so.

Here’s why: the Wimbledon final lasted 198 minutes while the badminton final lasted 76 minutes.

However, the actual amount of time during which the tennis ball was in play was 18 minutes, whereas the time for the shuttlecock was 37 minutes.

One thousand and four tennis shots were played in contrast to one thousand nine hundred and seventy-two badminton shots. Upon doing some basic calculations, the badminton player covered 4 miles, double that of the tennis player, and within less than half the tennis player’s time.

Hence, it seems that comparing the difficulty of those games is difficult in itself. However, overall studies have reached the conclusion that badminton is technically more difficult than tennis, due to its demanding requirements from each player.

The Advantages of Playing These Two Sports

The benefits of these sports are

  1. physical and mental health (heart and muscle strength, bone strength, reduced stress)
  2. enhanced agility, speed, flexibility, and focus
  3. can compete in international championships and become very famous
  4. can earn income from playing

Other Differences between Tennis and Badminton

Up till now, we have discussed the duration, area, difficulty, and some of the equipment. However, we have not yet covered rules, scoring systems, and whether each sport is an individual or team sport.

Let us start with the rules. While tennis allows for a single ball bounce on the court, badminton does not. In other words, a shuttlecock stays in the air until one player misses, whereas a tennis ball could fall inside the lines of the court and the play goes on.

How do players get a point in badminton? They do so either when the opponent’s shot does not deliver the shuttlecock within the boundaries of the player (it hits the net, goes out of bounds, or just remains in the same half of the court), or when the shuttlecock touches the ground in the opponent’s half of the court.

In tennis, a point is earned when the ball bounces twice before the opponent can hit it, or when the opponent delivers the ball out of bounds or into the net.

In both sports, a point can also be earned when a fault is called (when a player moves before the opponent serves, when a player touches the net with his or her body, etc.). Matches in both sports require 2 wins out of 3 sets.

A badminton set ends when one player reaches a score of 21 with a minimum 2-point difference. If the other player is at 20, the game proceeds until a player reaches a 2-point advantage.

However, the first player that gets to 30 wins immediately, regardless of the point difference. As for tennis sets, each consists of 6 games and is won when a player is winning by at least 2 games.

Scores are counted in the following order: 0, 15, 30, 40, win. If both players reach 40, players will continuously play rallies until there is a 2-point difference. You can learn more about rallies on this website.

When it comes to the question of whether they are individual or team sports, tennis and badminton are in fact similar in that both can be either individual or team sports!

When the match is played one versus one, it is called a single. Sometimes, however, the matches are played two versus two. Such matches are called doubles and thus are considered team sports. This is equally applicable to both tennis and badminton.

James Smith

James is a passionate explorer and the creative mind behind, a platform dedicated to unraveling captivating distinctions. With an insatiable curiosity, he uncovers hidden nuances in various aspects of life, from cultural traditions to scientific phenomena. James believes that appreciating differences fosters personal growth and societal empathy.